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Frictionless: The New Supply Chain Competitive Advantage

Gravity hosted its first ever Community Day and it was a big milestone for us, as it’s something that we’ve been aspiring to do since the early days of Gravity in 2014. In those days, Graham Parker, Gravity CEO, and I decided that one of our founding principles was to ensure we would always be user- and community-centric, so hosting the first Community Day was really special for us.

The event consisted of talks by the Gravity leadership team and networking. During my turn I gave the audience some insight into what we are doing here at Gravity.

When you start any business, especially in tech, the question you always get asked is “What problem are you solving?”. Investors, friends, competitors all ask this and it's important. If you’re not solving a problem that exists then what’s the point? Why would people spend their money on your product or service?

You’ll hear some great aspirational answers to this – “we want to make the world a better place” is often thrown out there.

Consumers expect frictionless experiences

For us though, it was pretty straightforward to identify the problem. It was us: Graham, myself, the rest of our team. All of the people who are reading, or will read this blog post.  We are the problem we are helping to solve. And this is because we are all consumers. We buy products, we buy services, and frankly we have become very demanding.

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Because of technology, social media and a 24/7 mindset, we expect companies to keep our loyalty and interest one transaction at a time. If not, there is always somebody else who will. We no longer want good customer service. We expect great customer experiences.

We also expect these things to happen smoothly. There shouldn’t be any barriers or friction to us getting what we want, when we want it, and how we want it. In retail for example, it used to be that the retailer would select the product they were going to stock, ship that to a physical location and then say to consumer, here you go, we know what you want, so come to our store and buy it.

That’s no longer the case. Companies, whether they be retailers, manufactures or logistics providers – which the Gravity community represent –  are seeking to make the switch from being product-centric focused businesses to ones which are customer-centric. Offering an experience built around each individual customer that’s frictionless is becoming the biggest competitive advantage that anybody can leverage.

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At the heart of achieving this frictionless customer experience is the supply chain. Ensuring that a product is at the right location at the right time and at the right price is what the frictionless customer experience is about. But, even though this is common knowledge, most businesses are still struggling to provide this to their customers.

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Consumer technology is outpacing supply chain technology

In retail for example, there was a report published by a well-known research house last year that identified that on average, the age of the ERP systems many of the top 250 retailers in the world used to run their supply chain was 11 years old. That means they were implemented in 2006, a year before the first iPhone was launched. We are now expecting the arrival of iPhone X. The technology that consumers are using is far outstripping the supply chain and logistics technologies being used to provide consumer products and services.

It is the same situation with manufacturers and logistics providers. They are trying to support the retailers and their consumers but are causing friction every single day because of the number of manual processes and pieces of paper they’re using in their operations. Walk into any logistics providers operational department, or a manufacturer's planning department, and they are far from paperless

So back to the problem we are helping to solve.

Frictionless experience is the new supply chain competitive advantage

We are striving to help businesses deliver a frictionless customer experience.

By bridging the fragmentation that exists between the people, processes and platforms operating within their supply chain, and by doing so in real-time, we are allowing businesses to concentrate on the most important thing - their customers. It’s those companies who are able to develop and sustain this focused competitive advantage who will not only survive but also thrive in today’s dynamic, consumer-driven marketplace.

I'll be posting a follow-up to this blog post entitled 'Improve 4 Friction Points in Your Supply Chain'. Subscribe to our blog to get an email notification when it gets published. 

See other blog posts by me