As the nature of consumer purchasing is changing from inventoried, in-store products for sale vs. online ordering with same day and (sometimes) free shipping, the quest for instant gratification has only become stronger. Consumers have come to expect frictionless purchasing transactions – all the way from browsing to ordering, and from billing to delivery.
Like it or not, these high expectations are migrating to the B2B world as well. Although the number of variables in a B2B purchase are significantly greater and more complex than in B2C, Buyers and Suppliers have to come to terms with this “new normal.” This article from Supply Chain World outlines several key areas where supply chain managers can grease the wheels and make sure their clients get what they need — and sooner than ever before.
- Front-end vs. Back-end Systems
Front-end purchasing systems, like websites, e-commerce portals, social media, and so on, have made it very easy for consumers (B2C and B2B) to find what they want and to confirm their intent to purchase. If customers’ expectations of “see now-buy now” are to be met, then backend systems such as order fulfillment, billing, and invoicing need to be as efficient and effective as front-end systems.
- Demand Planning
Predicting Buyer demand and Supplier availability used to be relatively easy because trends usually lasted longer or corresponded to seasonal activities. In the digital age, where trends are fleeting and seasonless, Buyers and Suppliers can use data mining and predictive analysis to determine the best times to buy, sell, or hold their wares.
For a more detailed list of things Buyers and Suppliers can do to streamline their processes to better serve their customers, check out the complete article on Supply Chain World.