New technologies have the potential to make the supply chain more efficient and more transparent than ever before. Unfortunately, applying the right techniques in the right way is often easier said than done. Here are tips for selling smart supply chain solutions.
Every company is full of people who have different opinions about which technologies can boost performance, and most are eager to share theirs.
If you’re selling smart supply chain solutions, talking to the right people is essential to your success. On the other hand, talking to the wrong people can cost a Fortune 500 company billions of dollars.
Know your audience
There’s a lot going on when it comes to making supply chains smart, and two types of people will typically influence the process. First, there are the technical experts. I know technical experts very well as I was one of them. Coming out of college, I had two engineering degrees and zero knowledge of how supply chain operations work. There is a seemingly innate inclination for technocrats to try to force them to use new technology, but it’s not always productive.
The ultimate litmus test of any new technology is whether it can be used consistently in a real-time operation environment.
The people who make that call at the end are in another group. These are operation people. They are usually the end users, and if you get them to buy into the new technology, getting a buy-in across the value chain becomes a relatively simple process.
reach end user
In my career, I have been privileged to be part of teams that have pioneered achievements in the biotech and oil and gas sectors, and now in throughput, where we are building artificial intelligence-powered supply chain solutions. I have found that the key to successful technology implementation is reaching the right end user quickly.
You want to include people who understand your goals and the challenges you face because they’ve seen them before. Anyone who is not the end user will become a bottleneck in the implementation process.
I’ve worked with maybe 25% of the global Fortune 500 supply chain over the past three years, and I’ve noticed that people will often introduce you to someone they think is an end user, but it’s rarely that person. is what you really want.
Recently, for example, I met with a customer’s innovation team, which should have been followed by a meeting with operations. Instead, the organization brought in its technology to audit our software platform and see if we had parallel capabilities with other systems.
The problem with the above scenario is that the technical experts are not the end users of our equipment. Operations people – who said they were “fighting for their lives” facing operational problems – needed swift solutions.
Ultimately, we were able to bring the technology to the people who needed it, but the process took 10 months. If it had started with the right introduction, it could have been wrapped up in three.
straight on top
Throughput has worked with clients in over 15 industries, and I’ve seen patterns that not many companies are in a position to see. So I can say with confidence that if you want to demonstrate the value of smart supply chains, leave that to the tech experts. They assess technology, not operational problems.
Don’t waste time with the supply chain and procurement departments either. Supply chain managers and professionals are typically not dealing with operations in real time, so they often have an incomplete picture of operational requirements.
Instead, go straight to the C-suite. The family business owner, chief executive officer and chief operating officer are the kartas; Show them how your technology allows them to do more, and they’ll adopt it. No one understands the pain of missing deliveries, unhappy customers and significant delays like the shipwreck.
Similarly, chief financial officers care about the return on investment. They have real problems to solve, and they understand how a more responsive supply chain can improve earnings per share or cash flow. Demonstrate the financial value of your solution, and they can let all decision barriers evaporate.
supply chain status
While some forward-thinking companies are starting to explore the impact of AI on logistics, most tech firms aren’t in serious talks about smart supply chains just yet.
A recent Forrester survey found that AI is used far more in marketing, product management and customer support than in supply chain management, despite the fact that businesses spend thousands and hundreds of hours on supply chain inefficiencies each year. Thousands of dollars are being lost.
According to Gartner, 87 percent of businesses lack the maturity of business intelligence, which means they have the intelligence to take full advantage of AI solutions.