E-commerce is possibly the biggest development in the way goods and services are bought and sold since humanity moved away from the barter system. Besides changing the previous linear sales flow (manufacturer to distributor to customer), it’s changed what customers expect and how businesses meet those expectations.
Along the way, e-commerce has also impacted how certain businesses relate to each other. That’s because more choices than ever are available by buying online, including the choice to skip links in the supply chain and buy directly from manufacturers. This opportunity is open to every business within the supply chain and this knowledge has encouraged businesses to expect more of the businesses that are part of their supply chain, for them to remain within that chain, rather than be passed over or circumvented.
Each business within the distribution and manufacturing channel expects to be treated in a manner similar to how the business at the end of the chain is expected to treat their customers if they want to survive and thrive. As such, businesses throughout supply and distribution channels want:
- Easy-to-access price comparison
- Tracking and order status information, without having to search or ask for it
- Effective customer service at all levels, including technical assistance when it’s needed
- Personalised, value-added services
- Quick delivery: overnight or even same-day
- Earth-conscious business partners that reduce waste and offer green packaging
- Consistent top quality
- Simplicity: to feel as if they are the centre of your universe
Meeting These Expectations
For these ends to be achieved, every element within any given distribution channel needs to be working toward the same goal. At the same time, they need to be achieving profitability, maintaining positive cash flow and growing their own business.
That’s a lot of moving parts, more than you can handle manually. Technology is the obvious solution, yet many companies in manufacturing and distribution are a long way from applying to deliver on these new expectations from their peers in the supply chain.
That has to change for these companies to survive. And technology can’t just be a tool: it has to be a living, breathing part of your business that in one touch gives you everything you need. It needs to support your supply chain businesses in one place. It should streamline every aspect of your business while at the same time improving your ROI.