When you think of social media, popular networking websites like Facebook and Twitter may be the first applications that come to mind, however many companies are leveraging more robust social platforms to better plan and control their supply chain. Data mining, data sharing and online collaboration are just a few ways that social media can improve supply chain efficiency. The term supply chain management is relatively new and was first published in the Financial Times in 1982. However, it wasn’t until the late 1990s when the term began to take hold. The term supply chain refers to the process involved in the production and distribution of a product or service. To explain the term further, I will use an example of an Oreo. The beginning of the supply chain starts with sourcing ingredients for the product such as sugar and cocoa. Other points of the supply chain of an Oreo include shipping, manufacturing, distributing, retail sales, consumption and finally waste disposal. Supply chain management strategies requires a total view of the system to optimize business processes. Having control over supply chains are essential for businesses as it impacts costs and risks, and because today’s customers are demanding transparency of it. For example, customers want to know where the foods they eat or the clothes they wear come from, and are asking companies to provide information about sustainability and ethical sourcing.
Being a mom, juggling work, and writing blogs for my Social Media for Business Performance course, keeps me very busy. My biggest challenge these days is finding time to go to a grocery store… or two… or three, just to pick up things I need for this week’s meals. Thank goodness for price matching! Time, is one of our most precious commodities yet every day we struggle with having less of it and craving more. So much so that we often succumb to paying a hefty price for it. It has revolutionized the way people buy groceries, giving busy professionals, parents, elderly, student’s and even businesses back valuable time they don’t have to spend shopping. The increased demand for this type of service has resulted in a large number of companies entering this online space. With competition being so fierce three factors will influence which business will rise to the top: Innovation, Speed of Delivery and Efficiency in their Supply Chain. The application of social media in the supply chain process is no longer an option but rather a requisite in order for a company to accelerate and propel ahead of the pack. “Using modern technologies, such as social media, can improve an organization’s supply chain management. It can create more visibility, improve communication, increase control, and reduce operational and labor costs. When you have a more efficient and stable supply chain, you can enhance your customer satisfaction. The ripple effect of using social media to improve your supply chain management can expand outwardly across virtually your entire organization, which is great for business.”