Future of Supply Chain

Terry    October 29, 2014

Organization:  Future of  Supply Chain, Icebreaker

Industry: Manufacturing, Clothing

The future of Supply Chain Innovation will rely on changes in the mindset of Corporations to collaborate regarding innovation, in production in how each of their suppliers, process of manufacturing, retailing or delivery is sustainable or environmentally responsible.   Today’s consumer wants to know that the product they are buying has been manufactured responsibly; for example they want to know that the products have not been manufactured in sweat shops, with child labour and that the industries producing the product are not polluting or harming the environment.

Corporations want to build trust with the consumer, but are hesitant to do so by providing every procedure or product purchase to the world via social media.


One company that has used social media to be transparent in many areas, and is using social media to be transparent in the supply chain trail is Icebreaker, the manufacturer of merino wool clothing.  Their suppliers have allowed them to showcase their processes in a number of video’s showing how each supplier is innovative in the process of manufacturing by using waste water for heating and turning it back into drinking water. Another supplier removes the lanolin from the merino and sells it the cosmetics industry.

This is only one small example of how social media can be used to showcase supply chain responsibility to the consumer.

Over 60% of the corporations in the world today, have not developed online /social media supply chain management and some of the reasons for this is that they simply do not know  or have not done the research and developed an understanding of what their suppliers are doing with respect to the environment and employment issues.  So to make themselves vulnerable with social media is not  in the best interest of the corporation; and until corporations have done the appropriate research they will not make themselves  more vulnerable than necessary.  While corporations understand that building trust with consumers means being transparent in their business, corporations need to collaborate before divulging business partners in their manufacturing or purchasing processes as they may or may not be as socially, economically or environmentally prepared.

Globally corporations are beginning to become more and more aware of the need for collaboration with consumers and suppliers .  It is up to the corporations to decide on best practices to fulfill their needs and social media and supply chain need to be approached on a cautious basis with good understanding.   The devastating effects for the corporations own business is one issue, but how is affects the business of its suppliers is another issue.

Once there is more understanding and collaboration among buyers, suppliers and manufactures, the supply chain process would proved in most cases to be more efficient and quicker way of doing business and the trust with consumers would build.




Global Commerce Initiative

Author of this Blog is Terry-Lynn Conway (tconway@gmail.com)

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.