Skip to Content

Blog Archives

5 Key Learnings from The New Age of B2B Consumerism Technology Summit from SCI’s CEO, Chris Galindo

The continuing evolution of new technology has caused an ever-changing rise in consumer expectations, which is now impacting B2B business. These increasing demands are forcing companies to develop new strategies to keep up with these continuously evolving advancements.

Our latest SCI Technology Summit on October 24th, brought together top industry experts to talk about this new age of B2B consumerism. Our speakers and panelists discussed the impact of new technology on B2B business and shared insights on how they’re keeping pace with growing technology demands.

Below are my top five takeaways from the summit:

1) B2C is impacting B2B expectations

B2C customer experiences are setting the bar high, and expectations that customers have in their personal lives are directly impacting B2B decision-making habits. According to Salesforce, an astounding 72% of businesses buyers say they expect vendors to personalize each interaction based on their needs.

To succeed in this ever-evolving environment, companies should consider how to become an extension of their customers to better understand their needs.

2) Focus on a great customer experience

With more transactions happening online or through technology like AI or chatbots, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to personalize the customer relationship.

Yet it’s clear the customer experience remain paramount, with 60 per cent of customers saying are willing to pay more for something with which they have had a great experience (CompTIA research).
Companies need to have a clear customer experience vision. Knowing your customer personas and habits and soliciting feedback in real time can also help businesses personalize the customer journey in a digital age.

3) Optimize machine learning

Machine learning is a field of research that allows a computer to be able to learn from past experiences and is an aspect of technology that is becoming increasingly important, particularly for inventory management.

Machine learning can be used to manage complex and high volumes of data, as well as understand the potential uptake of specific products. It can also be leveraged to predict future sales patterns and foresee when a product may become obsolete.

All of this can help optimize the supply chain and drive improved customer experience and sales.

4) Re-purpose instead of recycle technology

The rapid evolution of technology is causing a high level of “tech waste”. When it comes to end-of-life tech, it’s much more sustainable to reuse technology parts than to recycle.

In the end of life process it is not just about the part any more but also about the data held on any devices being recycled. While 93 per cent of companies say data security is important, only 2 in 10 had a company to assist in managing their obsolete technology and ensure all confidential data had been erased.

It’s imperative for companies to ensure they are properly managing end-of-life tech both for sustainability and security reasons.

5) Adapt to the Speed of Change

To succeed in this current, fluid marketplace, companies need to focus on the customer journey and have the flexibility to scale up or scale down, depending on customer needs.

As expectations continue to rise, technology remains key in building and maintaining strong customer relationships, managing staffing needs and even when considering new real estate space.
I’d like to thank all our speakers, panelists and guests who attended and participated in these important discussions at the recent summit.

It was a great day of information sharing, networking and learning about the impact and influence of technology on B2B business, and it’s clear technology will continue to impact and drive B2B trends for years to come.

1 Continue Reading →

5 Key Learnings from the SCI Executive Summit, by SCI’s CEO, Chris Galindo

Today’s constant evolution of e-commerce makes it hard for brands to stay relevant and meet the increasing demands of consumers. In addition, most brands are now facing a longer peak season, brought on by the adoption of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so companies need to adopt new e-commerce strategies or risk losing their market share.

On September 26, we hosted our annual SCI Executive Summit, focused on the Power Shift of Consumerism. The summit brought together organizations from different industries across North America, all of whom are facing similar e-commerce challenges. It was a great day of information-sharing and gaining invaluable insights into how brands are handling evolving consumer expectations and peak season.  Below are my five key takeaways from the event.

1) The importance of catering to hyper+ shoppers


Hyper+ shoppers are becoming increasingly important in the e-commerce business. This group of shoppers make 25 or more online purchases annually and represent more than 60 per cent of online sales. Businesses that consider the needs of hyper+ shoppers have a much better chance of creating return customers and succeeding in the current landscape.

2) More brands using D2C

Consumers want more accessibility, options and speed in their online shopping experience, challenging brands to get products into their hands faster. Direct to consumer e-commerce is one of the strategies brands are adopting to meet these increasing demands. By avoiding third party retailers and other ‘middlemen’, brands can offer a new direct channel for customers to buy their products.

A D2C platform allows brands to own the relationship with customer, reduce dependency on other distribution channels and control the messaging, branding and pricing – enabling the brand to manage the entire customer journey.

3) Automation isn’t always the answer

 

For better or for worse, the recent digital revolution has impacted automation in supply chain management. As a result, we have seen a rise of automation in all areas of the warehouse. Solutions such as collaborative robots, automated pack solutions, voice activated technologies and various sorting options are all driving efficiencies in warehouse operations.

However, unnecessary automated processes can increase costs and require additional training for small tasks that could be handled by an existing worker. Automation should only be leveraged when there is a real benefit to operations that creates efficiencies, is scalable and helps meet consumer expectations.

 

 

4) Consider Influencer Marketing

More than two-thirds of North American retailers are using some form of influencer marketing as part of their multi-channel approach. Adding to that, another 40 per cent of people report they’ve purchased a product online after seeing it used by an influencer on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Influencer marketing is an effective way to drive positive awareness, engagement and trust and it’s important for companies to align with influencers who share their brand values.

5) Get ahead of peak season

The increasing demands and extreme fluctuations of peak season are causing companies to adopt new strategies to deliver on customer expectations. Brands can look to get ahead of peak by spreading out sales over a long period of time, or starting earlier promotions, such as Black-Friday like sales, in advance of peak. Introducing other peak periods can help companies manage lower peaks and create an uplift in sales throughout the year.

Be sure to check out this The Voice of Retail podcast, where our CEO, Chris Galindo, talks about the importance of preparing for the upcoming peak season.

I’d like to thank all our speakers and guests who attended and participated in these important discussions at the recent summit. Although we come from different sectors and backgrounds, we all face similar challenges posed by e-commerce and these key insights can help us be better equipped for the road ahead.

1 Continue Reading →

Supply Chain Outsourcing – Process & Expectations

Outsourcing logistics and supply chain services to a 3PL is a major decision, not to be taken lightly by any business. In this article, we’ll provide insights into the main processes, so that you have a better idea of what to expect, from making the decision through to services implementation.

If you’ve been considering outsourcing your supply chain services to a 3PL partner, your likely already aware of the benefits, including:

  • Increased reliability and/or scalability
  • Access to expert supply chain strategies & planning
  • Access to value-added logistics services (VAS)
  • Cost savings & continuous improvement

outsource inhouseWhen you are selecting a 3PL partner for your company, it is important to do extensive research. A few things to consider while evaluating potential service providers is who their current customers are, their expertise in servicing your business segment, and whether they are highly recommended by former/ or current clients or not. Explore their websites; ask your peers for opinions and recommendations to better evaluate your options.

Prepare to share information about the type of product, the number of SKUs, order volumes, the speed of delivery required, and other vital details. Explaining your business requirements in a comprehensive way will ensure that the supply chain providers will develop the best solution.

After contacting the narrowed list of 3PL companies, or issuing an RFP, allow adequate time for internal reviews of the proposals, including meeting with their business development and solutions teams, and touring the facilities.

Never make a decision based on price alone. There are multiple factors that make or break your supply chain, and sometimes the less expensive solution can wind up costing you much more in the medium to long run, such as not being able to support the growth of the business. The wrong decision can also impact customer experience, and even damage the reputation of your brand on the market – so be sure to look at all the aspects that will be directly and indirectly impacted.

Once you have chosen your 3PL partner, the first thing to be prepared for is a realistic timeline for the solution implementation. After holding the discovery sessions, defining the business requirements, and validating assumptions, the LOI and MSA’s are signed. Allow enough time for the 3PL company to lay out the facility design, install racking, automation, if any, find, hire and train talent, organize transportation, launch IT systems, establish processes, validate and test the IT systems and all the other elements that will be involved based on the project requirements.

Depending on the size of the logistics project, the solution implementation timeline can vary; however, it generally takes around 4 to 6 months to launch a new supply chain solution. During this time, it will be important to allocate plenty of time for on and offsite communications between your team and the 3PL partner. It helps to deal with a Canadian 3PL that has an agile and responsive team and can dedicate time for their executives to meet with your team in person. Frequent meetings in the beginning of the process are important to address any potential issues and mitigate any possible confusion along the way. During these initial meetings, the project team can also decide how they want to steer the project moving forward after all the critical points have been discussed.

expectations for outsourcingWhile your 3PL partner will take care of project management and provide experienced PM’s, expect your internal teams to be extensively engaged in the solution implementation. The 3PL company’s functional leads will work in close alliance with your internal teams, such as executive leadership or steering committees, the IT department, operations, and others as required.  For the project success, it is vital to engage an internal executive sponsor who will have the ability to re-prioritize other projects and get the cross-functional buy-in if any issues arise. This ensures that your internal resources are properly allocated to handle the changes. Changes in your existing supply chain will likely affect many areas of your business, and a proper change management process should be established and executed in order to ensure that all affected functions are fully aware of the changes and are ready and willing to accommodate the switch to outsourcing supply chain services.

Supply chain outsourcing must be thoroughly planned. It’s important not to plan implementation close to sales peaks, so be sure to navigate around key sales promotions and seasonality peaks. For example, if you are a toy or apparel retailer, some of the worst times to make the switch with your supply chain services would be: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and Boxing Week. If your company deals with school supplies, then the end of August and beginning of September should be avoided.

Ideally, the best time to choose for implementing any supply chain change would be the slowest period for your business. If your company has a steady flow of sales and no seasonality, then planning a strategic time of the year when your company does not have any other major projects going on would be a great choice for supply chain solution implementation.

If your company has planned to outsource the supply chain services to a trusted partner, and have taken into consideration everything in this article, you can expect a smooth integration, with fewer issues in the implementation process. Apply the 80/20 rule – 80% planning, 20% implementation and the outcome will be improved business results and more satisfied customers.

 

If you’re considering making the switch to outsource all or part of your supply chain,  contact the supply chain experts at SCI, and let’s see how you can benefit from partnering with us.

 

 

0 Continue Reading →