Imagine a world where customers care about how products are sourced, made, and delivered, understand what goes into pricing, and generally take great joy in the experience. A world where customers are fluent in the language of supply chain.
It’s not as farfetched as you may think.
Supply chains solve complex problems. And in the company of supply chain professionals, we use big words and complicated terms to talk about it. Words like multi-modal logistics and global transportation, mass-customisation and postponement, procurement and letters of credit, demand management, the cost of inventory and buffer stock, assurance of supply, warehousing, and the last mile.
We nitpick over the differences between distribution and fulfilment centres, debate the true definition of supply chain visibility and the role of control towers to support orchestration across a complex network of suppliers, trading partners, and carriers. And we’re still not sure if our industries are facing an apocalypse or simply working through the growing pains of transformation in the digital age.
It’s a mouthful. And as we dive into the technical details and jargon that comprise the modern language of supply chain, one can’t help but picture the average consumer’s eyes glazing over.
But that’s not necessarily the case. There’s mounting evidence people care more about supply chain than ever – they’re just not using our words for it.
Therein lies the secret.
The words used to describe supply chain were different at the recent Shoptalk Europe conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, a gathering of more than 2,500 retailers, start-ups, technologists, and investors all focused on the worlds of retail, fashion, and ecommerce. Though most attendees weren’t purely in the business of operations and supply chain, all were exploring how to reach, engage, and enlighten the customer wherever and whenever they might choose to shop.
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