Organising your products along the supply chain should be viewed as running a small, local business, no matter its size. Picture owning a little shop in a small town, where you know all your customers by name. When they visit, you shake their hands and even know what they’ve come in for before they ask. The bigger your business grows, the less personable your service becomes, naturally.
But it doesn’t need to be this way.
Even with the broadest spectrum of products being sent to customers worldwide, you can define detailed customer segments and anticipate short-term demand and act more proactively by capturing, using, and analysing structured and unstructured data correctly.
Every data point, transaction, report, POS information, social media input, purchasing patterns, and even the weather can help you better understand your customers and suppliers alike and give them a more personable experience.
It also allows you to be less manually involved. Ultimately, without any human intervention. This is what’s known as the “touchless supply chain.”
How do you begin your touchless transition?
Removing manual efforts from points of a supply chain isn’t something that happens overnight. It’s a gradual process that involves evaluating output levels from start to end of an individual product’s supply chain and determining where and when to introduce automation to speed up the process.
This data interpretation allows you to predict outcomes and act proactively. Which, when done properly, will help ease your transition.
To help break down this data better, and allow you to serve your customers better, try grouping your customers and their multitude of transactions across these three categories:
- EDI customers – These are your larger, higher order-volume customers who buy your products at scale and to a schedule. They’re integral to your business. These can range from traditional brick and mortar customers, retailers, or ecommerce platforms (most notably Amazon)
- Manual customers – These can still be high-volume customers, but usually submit their orders over the phone or via email
- Ecommerce customers – “Ecommerce customers” doesn’t necessarily mean a customer who you identify as an ecommerce player. Rather, this is a segment of customers who trade only via B2B ecommerce platforms. Traditionally, these would have been manual customers, but as this segment continues to grow – they can be viewed as their own category.
Each customer category brings their own cost-to-serve, process demands and unique buying habits. EDI, you may argue, is automated by its very definition. In theory you’re right, but if your team is still manually intervening across EDI orders, then it isn’t truly “touchless”.
Ecommerce customers by design need automation, and manual customers may always be manual, but there is a way to transform their orders into an automated process once it reaches your end.
When we think about the touchless supply chain, we must consider that each of these customer segments need a touchless approach. A tailored solution that caters for the diverse data and process requirements each bring.
The benefits of touchless methodology
Powerful machine learning and artificial intelligence “zero-touch” algorithms can analyse your information and suggest recommendations that could vary from inventory reallocations to increasing or decreasing production capacity, increasing or reducing prices, as well as identifying the need for different suppliers or logistic providers.
It speeds up the process from inquiry to decision point, often from weeks to minutes. Additionally, decisions can be based on SKU and location level, which can’t be achieved with conventional spreadsheets and data analysis.
By leveraging a touchless planning model, your team can devote newfound time to put towards more creative and strategic initiatives.
You can focus on more exception management, better collaboration with stakeholders and customers, and devise new ways to boost service levels and reduce revenue leakage.
How OmPrompt can help you achieve a touchless future
OmPrompt’s Business Rules Engine allows you to define minimum outputs for each group of customers (like quantities, delivery times, product-types, and more) to ensure they don’t order more than they should or order in a way that makes cost-to-serve reasonable
OmPrompt can deliver real-time, cognitive automation at scale. Using best of breed technologies like AI, machine learning, natural language processing, and data and enterprise domain expertise.
Additionally, we use cognitive automation called ZeroTouch, the foundation of “touchless,” to interpret data, predict outcomes, and recommend the next steps.
The platform is also designed to allow groups and individuals to access the data, so collaboration is made easy. Most enterprises aren’t lacking in data; they’re just unable to connect their data sets into one coherent set that can be used to make decisions. OmPrompt allows data integration from multiple legacy systems and ERPs in real-time, meaning a single overview.
We’re also a fully managed service that comes with 24/7, 365 support – so you’re never left in the dark. Our expert team is on call to help you get the most out of your system, so the touchless supply chain is no longer a pipe dream; we can make it a reality.
So, even as you grow and your products reach more and more destinations – you never lose that “local business” feeling.
To find out how get in touch!