Enhance your eCommerce supply chain in eight simple ways

Enhance your eCommerce supply chain in eight simple ways

There has been a double-digit growth in eCommerce for several years. Everyone who has anything to sell to a consumer is trying to get on to the bandwagon, if not already there. Even B2B sales businesses are finding eCommerce to be a useful channel for reaching out to their clients and enabling them to buy through it, as opposed to the legacy processes that were, at least to some extent, manual.

Covid-19 seems to have given a new urgency to the boom that may have, otherwise, been expected to taper off after rapid growth over many years. It has changed human behavior in some fundamental ways. Apart from making work from home a legitimate form of work, online shopping, at least for commoditized and branded products where one does not need to touch and feel and see and choose, is now the accepted method of shopping even for daily needs.

According to Insider Intelligence, “worldwide retail ecommerce sales will top $5 trillion for the first time in 2022, even as spending subsidizes following the surge over the previous two years. These projections also place worldwide retail commerce sales on track to top $7 billion in 2025.”

According to a Morgan Stanley report, “E-commerce in South Korea could increase to 45% in the next five years, driven by food delivery and same-day options” while “in the U.S. e-commerce could reach 31% of sales by 2026, up from 23% now, as brick-and-mortar stores close and consumers prioritize convenience.”

Support for eCommerce is part of the services offered by BPO providers of data-based services, such as oWorkers. In a short span of eight years, oWorkers has qualified to be recognized as one of the top three providers in its chosen space of work, a creditable achievement by any standard.

 

The Supply chain backbone

It is difficult to say whether the sustained growth of eCommerce is a result of a robust backbone in the form of a supply chain infrastructure, or it is the other way round, with the continued growth of eCommerce driving investments in the supply chain backbone of the industry. Perhaps it is a bit of both.

After all, it is a complex web of moving parts, with logistics, fulfillment businesses, distribution centers, transportation companies, suppliers, producers and vendors playing their unique roles in the ecosystem. One cog falls out of line and the whole edifice could come crumbling down quickly. Hence, it is necessary that companies reliant on this ecosystem never take their eyes off the ball and keep making efforts to fine-tune and improve its capability. It will enable their products to get from the production line into the hands of the consumer, seamlessly, fast, reducing inventory holding cost as well as realizing money faster.

People form the backbone in any delivery system in any industry. Perhaps even more so in a BPO, that has tended to handle activities that are inherently manual. With its ability to attract walk-in talent on account of its positioning as a preferred employer, oWorkers is able to train and deploy people to effectively handle complex requirements such as eCommerce and its supply chain backbone.

 

Enhancing efficiencies in your eCommerce supply chain

As always, it is easier said than done. Modern companies also realize that processes backed by data and communication and responsive and flexible to ever-unfolding marketplace, have the best chance of succeeding.

Unified command center

There is no doubt that physical constraints require that certain activities be carried out in a distributed manner, from different geographical locations, such as distribution. At the same time, it needs to be ensured that for the entire system to be operating as a well-oiled machine, working for a common set of goals, they need to be directed from a unified command center.

With digital technology and communications networks being what they are, this should not be much of a challenge. Of course, due care might need to be given to backup and contingency arrangements in the event this single node becomes unusable for some reason. Again, in today’s day and age, contingency arrangements should not pose a challenge.

With its global centers geared to operate on a 24×7 schedule, oWorkers is able to provide oversight for distributed activities taking place around the world, in real time. For oWorkers, it is never too late or too early when a supply chain needs to be monitored.

Open, clear communication

While the decision-making center might be unified, all moving parts need to play their assigned roles. Assignments can get changed. New decisions can get communicated. As there are many parts operating in their own responsibility area, but towards a common goal, communication needs to be consistent as well as clear and specific.

If your flight is delayed, the connecting flight you need to take might be able to wait if it has this information. If there is no information, a pre-planned routine is executed. For an ecosystem as dynamic as that of supply chain, with many external dependencies, communication is often the glue that will hold it together.

When you work with oWorkers, language ceases to be a barrier. With its avowed policy of working with a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic workforce, a multi-lingual workforce becomes a natural outcome. oWorkers is in a position to support clients in over 20 languages.

Leverage outsourcing solutions

The core business for any company is often the one that enables it to generate revenue. However, in order to generate that revenue, a number of processing activities need to be carried out by the company. They may be competent at doing some of those activities and not so competent at several others.

Process outsourcing solution providers are experts at certain types of processing activities that can not only give you some cost advantage, as the outsourced partner usually processes in bulk, you can also get the benefit of better technology as the partner, with its larger volumes, is able to invest in superior processing technologies. Above all, it takes away the burden of doing something your company is not good at, and focusing that energy on its core activities.

Many clients of oWorkers, especially the ones from Western Europe and North America, vouch for their ability to save money for them, sometimes going all the way to 80%. They are also enamored by the ability of oWorkers to give them a choice of pricing models.

Integrate technology and emerging solutions

There are new products and apps and solutions emerging every day. Just when we think the perfect solution has emerged, a newer, better one is launched. There is no end to human ingenuity. And it is not just businesses that are adopting these technologies, consumers are. Too, maybe even faster, since they do not have to worry about creating a justification and getting approval before doing so.

Staying in touch with the technological innovations as well as the shift in consumer preferences may enable you to stay in step with the changing world of technology. It is also highly likely that in doing so you will create efficiencies in your processes.

Due in no small measure to the deep relationships it has forged with technology companies, oWorkers is well placed to deploy the latest innovations in different technologies in client projects.

Customer experience remains key

If you are selling to customers, which you must be, if you are a business, understanding customer expectations and delivering on them has to be a key part of your efforts. Customers may be business or consumers, urban or rural, old or young, this will never change.

What will change is customer expectations. With competition. With technology. With their own evolution. Keep the behavior and expectations of your customers in sight when you build, or tinker with, your supply chain.

Keeping track of customer expectations will also enable you to create agility on your supply chain. It is not a machinery set up to operate in its own defined way. It has a purpose; of satisfying customer needs.

A happy employee is often the key to a happy customer. With its policy of working with employees, and not freelancers and contractors, oWorkers is able to invest in their training and development. Internal promotions for deserving candidates keeps the entire workforce engaged. As a result, customers they interact with are delivered a satisfying experience. oWorkers receives satisfaction scores in excess of 4.6, on a scale of 5, from both existing as well as past employees, on external platforms like Glassdoor.  

Quality of products

If the importance of customers never changes for a business, the relevance of producing quality products also does not. And it does not mean that your products need to be the best in the marketplace. What it means is that they need to be the best for the customer segment you are catering to. Different customers value different combinations of features and looks and pricing and other attributes. Apple is not the only company that sells handsets. Many others do too, and successfully and profitably.

Ensure that the expectation the customer has while buying your product is met and exceeded when he/she finally gets it.

With an independent team of quality analysts that reports directly to senior management, oWorkers is able to shield customers from being impacted by poor quality. The quality analysts act as clients for the internal delivery team and ensure that the quality of output meets and exceeds standards agreed, before it becomes visible to customers.

Leverage data

While most modern businesses trust data to run their business, data itself manifests itself in many different ways. Going a step further, data also lends itself to analysis and decision-making if you slice and dice it in different ways.

While we may not be equipped to tell you exactly how to slice and dice the data, as experts you would probably know the kind of insights that will be of use in decision-making. The point here is leveraging the analytical tools available to make the most of the large amount of data your business is doubtless generating.

Social media platforms, POS terminals, etc., data can come from a myriad sources. Be prepared to identify sources which can provide relevant data that then facilitates decision-making and reorganizing the supply chain if needed.

On the one hand, oWorkers works hard to protect client data with its Super secure facilities & protocols, as well as ISO certifications (27001:2013 & 9001:2015). And GDPR compliance. On the other hand, with its trained workforce, it can extract valuable insights from client data facilitating their decision-making process.

Stay alert, stay relevant

A business usually starts with a plan, also called a business plan. It articulates the fundamentals of the business and helps in convincing stakeholders and moving forward.

The plan, however, is true for that moment. The world keeps changing. There is never a time in business when it, or the people representing it, can sit back and relax. It needs to keep track of the shifting sands and make changes as and when required. Complacency has led to the demise of many a business, not just of supply chain dependent ones.

A leadership team, that has several decades of hands-on industry experience, are constantly on the lookout for signs of trends and events that could impact the company. They ensure others in the company stay well informed, and on their toes.

 

To conclude

Supply chain is a dynamic business function, with many moving parts each of which need to come together for a good outcome for the company. It also needs to be flexible to accommodate and respond to the many changes taking place in the ecosystem, with technology advances and changing customer requirements being two that seem to be the most critical. Setting the right expectation with customers, that is aggressive enough to stand the test of competition, but can be met, is important.

A supply chain dependent business such as eCommerce will need to learn, sense, respond to changes like an animal does, using all its senses, in an effort to protect as well as propagate itself. For a company, a modular structure where different modules can fit together in multiple combinations, even as they keep changing, might work best. Leveraging the vast volumes of data generated, with the help of analytics solutions, in real time, will enhance productivity and profitability.

oWorkers is known for the scalable solutions it provides to its clients, that include unicorn marketplaces as well as leading technology companies, among several others, for a wide variety of BPO services.

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