Composing a Tweet or posting a Facebook status update is not necessarily at the top of the priority list for supply chain managers and planners when it comes to daily operations. On any given day, SCMs (supply chain managers) and SCPs (supply chain planners) are required to deal with seemingly more important issues such as inventory management, transportation scheduling and costs, data mining and analysis, shipment tracking, and a myriad of other tasks that make social media interactions on Twitter and Facebook much less pertinent.
But in the right hands, social media can actually enhance your supply chain logistics rather than distract from achieving supply stream efficiency benchmarks. Leveraging social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can actually be a key driver in enhancing visibility and transparency across all points of the supply process by relaying the most up-to-date information to as many key players as possible.
Here are 4 ways supply chain professionals can utilize social media as a key driver in engaging with new and existing customers, streamlining communication, and information sharing to enhance manfacturing and supply logistics.
1). Increased web presence
In any business environment, it’s often the small things that have the greatest impact, especially when it comes to communication with partners, customers, and vendors. Simply maintaining a regular routine of social media posts – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or GooglePlus – can do wonders for raising a company’s online profile which can in turn helps drive sales, increases profitability, and encourages robust, sustainable growth. In today’s global supply chain marketplace, a visible and easily searchable web presence is vital in helping a company tell its story, promote and announce products, and reach new customers and markets.
2). Increased customer engagement
Managing an effective supply chain is about much more than simply filling orders and keeping tabs on shipments of products from one hub to another. It’s also about building relationships with customers and providing a steady, reliable stream of supply that meets expectations and deadlines and provides customers with the peace of mind they need to conduct business operations day-in and day-out. Updating customers via social media about new products allows for everyone to feel a part of the supply chain process and provides a level of comfort for customers on how business is being done. Using Twitter and Facebook is like the ability to have in-person interactions with customers 24/7, and SCPs should take advantage of this capability to build strong, lasting business relationships.
3). Heightened internal communication
Imagine a severe weather system moving across a region has created a supply disruption as shipping and freight through that region have been disabled. Wouldn’t it be beneficial if a SCP could communicate en masse in real-time with a number of different supply chain partners that additional products will need to be shipped via alternate routes and methods to maintain delivery schedules and overall customer satisfaction? Using Twitter and Facebook to distribute up-to-the minute information about supply breakdowns, inventory levels, altered departure and arrival times for deliveries, and not only allows for more cost-effective decision-making, but also promotes better and faster communication at all points of the supply stream. Tweets and Facebook posts make it easy for supply, distribution, and sales partners to share vital information and ensure supply chain fluidity.
4). Staying up-to-date on industry trends
Ask a number of Twitter or Facebook users about who they follow and many of them will list off news organizations, local media outlets, magazines, industry publications, and other mass media entities. These users leverage social media platforms as more than just a way to connect with friends or clients, opting to engage Twitter and Facebook as vital sources of up-to-date, of the moment information feeds. Manufacturers and suppliers should view social media in a very similar light as a source of key information about the supply and logistics industry.
Companies, trade journals, and other supply chain publications often post links to articles, surveys, studies, and other data points that help illuminate growing trends or discussions about today’s global supply chain. Incorporating social media as a strategy of gathering information about the industry will not only result in more educated, in-the-know personnel, but also help differentiate your company as a thought-leader throughout the industry.
So the next time you log into Twitter or Facebook, don’t simply view these sites as a way of reconnecting with old friends or a source of entertainment or distraction. SCPs should see these social media platforms as a way to enhance supply chain communication and functionality and should leverage these no-cost methods of disseminating and receiving information as crucial aspects of their overall supply chain process.