Social Media in Supply Chain, Positive or Negative?

tmacmillan    February 23, 2015


 Supply Chain Network Logo

Organization Name: Supply Chain Network

Industry: Supply Chain Management

Name of Contact: Jeff Ashcroft, Supply Chain Network Project Developer

Web References: Supply Chain Network, CloudAve, Logistics Viewpoints 

Journal Article Reference:

Sianipar, C.P.M., Yudoko, G. (2014). Social media: Toward an integrated human collaboration in supply-chain management. WIT Transactions on Information and Communication Technologies, 53, 249-266. 

About Supply Chain Network

The Supply Chain Network (SCN) was developed as a network and tool for the exchange of ideas and information in the global supply chain industry. The SCN website has many pages, categories and archives related to supply chain, including information on social media integration in supply chain management.

Below is an informative interview between Robert Bowman from SupplyChainBrain and Jeff Ashcroft from Supply Chain Network at the Aberdeen Summit. Jeff highlights areas of social media application, as well as some important factors to consider in the integration of social media in the supply chain.

Social Media and Supply Chain Management

There seems to be some controversy on whether or not the use of social media in the supply chain is valuable. Is Social Media in The Supply Chain a Waste of Time? Adrian Gonzalez from Logistics Viewpoints speaks out on this topic at the CSCMP Annual Global Conference.

However, based on the huge turnout and the interactive discussion we had, the vast majority of the people who attended the session–comprised of both young professionals and seasoned executives–recognized the vast potential for social media to enhance the way people up and down the supply chain communicate and collaborate with one another; improve the way companies discover and analyze real-time information to make smarter and faster business decisions; and enable new, more efficient supply chain processes.

Adrian Gonzalez goes on to explain that in the past, most companies were using social media for business to customer engagement to promote brands. He suggests that moving forward more companies will be using social media for business to business engagement. Please note that this article is a bit dated and that most progressive companies are using social media for B2C and B2B.

Social Supply Chain Management

CloudAve discusses the social supply chain management and defines it as: Social supply chain management seeks to incorporate social data, network, and interactions into the supply chain. 

Examples of how social media can be used in the supply chain are to identify events that may affect distribution (i.e natural disasters) through real-time applications such as Twitter, and the regular monitoring of social platforms to determine demand, and customer feedback.

SM in SC Pic

Lessons for Others

Focus your attention on the social media platforms that your organization yields the most value from. Jeff Ashcroft states that he finds LinkedIn and Twitter the most valuable for business and focuses most of his attention on these two platforms. Last year, LinkedIn and Twitter linked together for the purpose of speeding up the communication process. Tweets can appear on LinkedIn, check this out!

Supply chain companies that want to stay competitive should consider the use of social media in their supply chain. Social media is a wonderful tool to communicate with large audiences on a global scale. Sometimes thousands of individuals can be involved in a supply chain and engaging them is a way to learn and collect useful information.

Some companies are using internal, closed social media platforms such as Yammer and Moxie Software as a communication channel inside an organization. This is a great way for different departments to communicate and collaborate on projects.

Twitter Engagement

I reached out on Twitter to initiate a conversation about social media in the supply chain:

Conversation Twitter

I got a response from an academic researcher at the School of Business and Management in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia named Sianipar, G, Yudoko almost instantaneously. He sent me his journal article: Social Media: toward an integrated human collaboration in supply-chain management. Sianipar and I communicated back and forth over Twitter and he brought up some points about the possibility that social media may be disruptive in human collaboration, and talks about how social media is involved in the daily decision making processes at some organizations. To view this article, please click here.

Transparency in Supply Chain

Transparency seems to be an important topic of interest in business. Companies that are operating transparently are taking a risk for a reward. Some companies worry about being open with sensitive information but the reward is building trust with the consumer. Leonardo Bonanni from MIT Centre for Civic Media talks about Sourcemap and Transparency in The Supply Chain.



I think it’s safe to say that incorporating social media into supply chain processes could be very beneficial because companies will have access to information on a much greater scale and can communicate with a global audience. Using social media platforms is a great way to see what your competitors are doing and to stay ahead in a dynamic business environment.

Infographic: Just for Fun!

Social Media Supply Chain Infographic

Submitted By: Trish MacMillan

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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