After years of having most customer conversations focus mostly on inventory management and optimization, Tomasi, global director of product management at IBS, sees a change. “Recently, our conversations with customers have shifted,” he says. “They are now more about brand protection and product image in the marketplace.”
Customers are realizing that the supply chain plays a big role in brand protection, he says. “It starts on the front end with planning and procurement of products and goes all the way through execution and making sure you are delivering the right product to the right customer at the right time,” he says. “If you don’t have the right products positioned properly, you end up with stockouts and missed shipments that impact negatively on the brand.”
Most companies run into trouble when each department has its own plan and these plans never synch up when changes occur, he says. The solution is to have a single plan with multiple windows into the plan and multiple points where the plan can change, he says. “The more everyone gets into mobile applications and providing supply chain transparency to the customer, the more plans will change and companies need tools in place to react accordingly.
“It all comes down to unifying systems, either by deciding on a comprehensive solution suite or patching together individual solutions already in place,” Tomasi says. “Everything from creating the plan, to changes in the plan to execution and final delivery to the customer have to all be in sync and communicating as they should.”
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