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Frictionless: The New Supply Chain Competitive Advantage

Gravity Supply Chain Solutions hosted its first ever Community Day on Oct. 13, 2017, and it was a significant milestone for us as it’s something that we’d been aspiring to do since the early days of Gravity Supply Chain back in 2014. Back then, Graham Parker, CEO, and I, decided that one of our founding principles was to ensure we would always be both user and community-centric, hence why hosting our first Community Day was incredibly special for us.

The event consisted of talks by the Gravity Supply Chain leadership team, and time spent networking. During my turn to talk, I gave the audience some insight into what we are doing here at Gravity Supply Chain Solutions.

When you start any business, especially within the tech industry, the question you always get asked is “What problem are you solving?” Investors, friends, and competitors all ask this, and it's an important question. 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 one that often gets branded about.

Consumers Expect Frictionless Experiences

For Gravity Supply Chain Solutions, it was pretty straightforward to identify the problem. It was us: Graham, myself, and the rest of our team, along with all of the people who are reading, or who will in time 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 they don’t, there is always somebody else who will. We no longer want good customer service levels; we now expect great customer experiences.

We also expect these things to happen smoothly. There shouldn’t be any barriers or friction in getting us 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 it to a physical location, and then say to the 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, manufacturers, 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 customer that’s frictionless, is becoming the most significant 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 of the right price, is what the frictionless customer experience is all about. However, 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 in 2016, which 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 implementation took place in 2005, two years before the launch of the first iPhone. We have now experienced 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 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 frictionless customer experiences.

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 can develop, and sustain this focused, competitive advantage, which will not only survive but also thrive in today’s dynamic, consumer-driven marketplace.

I posted a follow up to this blog post entitled 'Improve Four Friction Points In Your Supply Chain' Nov. 7, 2017.

See other blog posts by me