Heightened customer expectation, constrained resources and generational differences in purchasing are among the changes in the supply chain that companies must respond to, says Wonil Gregg, vice president of customer engagement at DCPerform.
Faster, better, easier: that sums up what the customer expects today when it comes to direct-to-home doorstep delivery, Gregg says. “They want it sooner, they want it easier to order — and oh, it would be nice to return it whenever they want as well,” he says.
That’s what the industry must cater and adapt to, but constrained resources can make that a challenge. “Between labor issues, between availability of freight routes, between raw materials and sourcing, between providers, then being able to process those orders and cycle times to meet that customer demand, that’s the challenge,” he says.
Labor shortages are one of the main issues that supply chain managers have to contend with. Retaining employees often turns on having a work culture that makes individuals feel they are wanted, Gregg says. “If companies can have these cultures that make people feel valued, and reward and incent them for superior performance, then that's a good way to offset those labor issues.”
Robotics is the way of the future. Among the many things automation can do, such as improving cycle times, it can also address labor. But ultimately, Gregg says, “It comes down to a management team that understands how to inspire workers to be able to perform their best and want to stay.”
Nevertheless, online ordering and direct delivery are here to stay. And the company that can deliver what Gregg calls the “wow factor” when the product drops at the doorstep is the one that creates brand loyalty. “That makes people say, ‘I’m going to continue to shop with them and not simply go somewhere else.’”
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