If you have ever wondered how the supply chain process works and the logistics behind moving goods or a service from A to B, then it may be worth finding out about the latest supply chain trade trends for 2016.

A supply chain is defined as a system of organisations that involve people, activities, information and resources to move a product or service from the supplier to an end point – the customer.  Supply chains can involve anything from natural resources, raw materials and components into a final finished product which is prepared for dispatch and then delivered to the customer. At each point of the supply chain, business owners, employees and contractors are involved to look at the level of cost and time taken to move the product or service through the sequence of the chain. In some cases a used product can re-enter the supply chain and be utilised again and again through recycling methods. This offers an extremely sophisticated & self-sufficient supply chain and once established, can create profitable revenues using very little new, raw materials.

As industry continues to evolve with new technological solutions and revolutionary ideas, the introduction of smartphone technology has enabled 24 hour 7 days a week access. Supply chains have never been so accessible and able to respond so quickly to the supply and demand of retail export. This has allowed companies to focus more on efficiency, customer service and delivery, with customer facing staff as a top priority over all areas of the business in contrast to traditional supply chain methods.

Top 5 Supply Chain Trends

According to the Top Five Material Handling and Supply Chain Trends for 2016, the following could have an impact and could change the way in which suppliers engage with customers for the future.

  1. Automation – Technological software has allowed supply chains to become far more slicker together with lean manufacturing, companies are able to keep closer tabs on accounts with the option to analyse stage by stage and track where the customer is placed within the supply chain at any single given time.
  2. Artificial Intelligence – Robots rather than human workers are notoriously now being used in factories and on warehouse production floors in order to automate how goods are assembled, picked and packed. These have included the likes of Amazon and UK high street retailer, Argos. By replacing employees with robots, manual labour costs are substantially reduced.
  3. Ecommerce – The new term ‘dropshipping’ will be heard of far more in the future. E-commerce based online retail websites were once used only to order goods and process a transaction. Now through the development of backend CMS systems and plugins, e-commerce websites can handle the whole process from searching for a product, carrying out a transaction, right through to tracking and delivery.
  4. Service Chains – Naturally through the efficiency of new technologies, product and service retailers have been forced to focus more on customer service, particularly with the pressure of social media networks who cover wide audiences and where retailers can be the subject of conversation and impulsive response – good and bad and within a matter of seconds. Hot topics such as customer satisfaction, first call resolution and average handling time are the current buzz phrases within the industry and have spiralled from the introduction of software technology which has freed up business time and staff resources to become more focused on customer service.
  5. Performance Analytics – New comprehensive systems offer the ability to analyse data. Looking at KPI’s (key performance indicators) has never been so important. These statistics allow businesses to assess trends, seasons, marketing injections and turnaround times in terms of delivery and customer service to ensure that they are always aspiring to improve and only offer the very best service at each stage within the supply chain.

For more information on supply chains, online retail export and how Crendon Insurance could help to improve the efficient of your business with the implementation of online retail insurance, then please contact our experienced team today to find out how we could assist to further progressing systems within your business.

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