Customer experiences have a vital bearing on the success or failure of today’s supply chains. In recent months, sustainability and ethical business practices have become cornerstones of the ongoing conversation about how to govern people and manage a business effectively. Without political diversion, today’s companies must take an active role in increasing positive customer experiences and meeting stringent ethics and sustainable practices. Supply chain management with blockchain can help shippers and businesses focus on customer-centric practices and standards.
Supply Chain Management Struggles to Meet Increasing Consumer Demands
Consumer expectations are at an all-time high. They expect orders to arrive within hours of clicking “submit,” and products must exceed their expectations. This is not exclusive to end-users. Business-to-business (B2B) purchasers have a stake in ensuring B2B suppliers, partners, and distributors can fulfill orders and provide enough information about such transactions to meet end-user demands. In other words, the same demands of consumers exist in B2B purchasers. Unfortunately, traditional supply chain management tactics, like separating orders by channel, fail in modern commerce. In fact, most supply chains are moving toward omnichannel supply chains, blending e-commerce, brick-and-mortar and third-party sales into a seamless experience for consumers. As a result, the experience must transcend traditional boundaries, which is where blockchain holds the solution.
An Introduction to Blockchain and Its Potential Benefits and Drawbacks in Supply Chain Management
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Supply Chain Management With Blockchain Holds the Answer
Supply chain management with blockchain has ample applications through payment processing, verification of funds, prevention of fraudulent orders, reduction of counterfeit merchandising, smart contracts to hold vendors and partners accountable for their actions, reports Kaye Chapman of Customer Think.
Although blockchain is behind cryptocurrencies, it holds much more value than recording financial information. For example, the process of using blockchain follows a logical path from development and procurement through delivery and returns management, as noted by the following Deloitte graphic.
As a comprehensive process, supply chain management becomes more efficient and productive, building on information to reduce inconsistencies, eliminate uncertainty and drive value.
How Blockchain Improves Customer Experiences
Supply chain management with blockchain-based platforms has real-world benefits to supply chain parties, including:
- Reduced the time to delivery. Since shippers can immediately identify product location and cost to ship to a consumer, the overall time to delivery decreases. This is the result of changing shipment origin to a location nearer to the destination. As new technologies, like drone delivery, take flight, less time to delivery will be essential to using such technologies effectively.
- Decreased shipping costs. Reduced travel time for shipments will have the net effect of lowering shipping costs, encouraging more purchases and promoting competitive advantage.
- Increases order accuracy and prevention of the shipping of counterfeit products. Since supply chain management with blockchain self-validates information, the volume of inaccurately fulfilled orders will decrease, which has additional implications for reducing counterfeit product sales and shipping.
- Improved tracking eases consumers’ “where is it” woes. Consumers want to know exactly where their product is located, and improved tracking through blockchain can be integrated with notification systems to provide real-time location of a shipment.
- Helping customers measure life expectancy. Blockchain’s ability to trace a product provides a window into the average lifespan of a product, which is applicable to manufacturers as well.
- Reduced risk in the supply chain. More information translates into better risk management, including increased compliance with domestic and international laws.
- Ensuring customer service representatives can locate customer or order information faster. On occasion, an order may be fulfilled with the incorrect product, and consumers will be in contact with your customer service department. Although live service representatives are still needed, more consumers are turning to chat-based contact options, and blockchain could automate this process. The key lies in information sharing, and since such contracts are based on trust, blockchain’s limited access in private networks boosts cybersecurity in tandem, reports Giselle Abramovich of CMO.com.
Put Blockchain at the Heart of Your Customer Service Strategy
Customer service is everything in modernity. The right logistics approach can make or break customer experiences, and keeping customers in the loop will go a long way in reducing delays, anger, and negative customer experiences. Shippers need to dramatically increase transparency and visibility regarding every step in manufacturing, distributing, and fulfilling product orders, and supply chain management with blockchain makes this possible. The future of customer service lies within blockchain technology, and shippers that know how to unlock its value can rise to the occasion and push customer service into the next frontier.