Supply chain clarity crucial to tackling choice overload

Four crucial aspects for supply chain professionals have been identified recently at a conference in the US city of San Antonio.

Supply chain clarity crucial to tackling choice overload
Jim Tompkins says firms must adapt quickly but carefully.


US supply chain expert and Tompkins International CEO Dr Jim Tompkins has identified crossborder purchasing, omnichannel, customer centricity and final delivery as points to focus on in a market reality marked by overwhelming choice.

Addressing sector colleagues at the Tompkins Supply Chain Leadership Forum, he says the plethora of choices facing supply chain professionals only adds to an already complex task.

"Many people regard choices as a good thing. But, one must realise too few choices begets discomfort or unhappiness and too many choices leads to confusion, regret of alternatives not taken, and second guessing," he says. 

"Today, the business world is more complex than it has ever been. 

"Adaptation to the marketplace is required in order to be successful.  Therefore, choices must be made.

"Most companies are operating in an environment of choice overload. 

"The mega-choices businesses are making to operate their supply chain will create greater success, status quo, or fail. 

"Businesses must define what mega-choices need to be made, all involved must understand the choices being made, understand other businesses choices, and implement the choices correctly."

International e-commerce and personal purchasing continues to drive change and its growth is tipped only to rise, proving a boon to the parcels delivery sector.

"Crossborder is important," Tompkins says. 

"By the year 2020 the Asia-Pacific region will have 48 per cent of crossborder purchases leading the way. 

"Clothing and footwear will represent 39 per cent of online crossborder purchases while electronics will represent 26 per cent.  A wide selection is key." 

The centrality of customer experience in dealing with vendors and therefore possibly staying loyal to them lead naturally to the value of final delivery.

This is doubly crucial, as the choices a business makes on final delivery will change their profit margin. 

"Costs for international goods, actually begin at the import hub, and extend to the ultimate destination," Tompkins says.

"This has to do with how shipments are de-consolidated, carriers routed, and then actual delivery. 

"The costs for final delivery actually begin upstream, with the structure of the distribution network, the way in which consolidation / de-consolidation is conducted, and the efficiency of the modes and carriers in routing and scheduling from the import hub to the destination. 

"If the correct choices are made final delivery will improve a business’s supply chain." 


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