Organization Name: Stonyfield
Industry: Dairy Farming / Yogurt
Today’s market place has become more competitive than ever. It is vital for companies to think of innovative new ways to streamline their operations, increase efficiencies, and optimize productivity in order to stay ahead of the competition.
One important aspect of business that many organizations do not apply social media to is supply chain management. Many organizations are only applying their social media efforts towards marketing campaigns and customer service, however, social media can be used for so much more.
Social media can improve an organizations supply chain management by creating more visibility, improve communication, increase control, and reduce operational and labour costs. When an organization has a more efficient supply chain they will ultimately enhance their customer satisfaction. This will also have a ripple effect across almost the entire organization, which is great for business.
Using social media within your organization and applying it to your supply chain has the following benefits:
Better Communication with your Consumers
Using social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc, helps organizations communicate with their consumers constantly with real-time updates which will ultimately increase demand. You can also create automated updates about your inventory and deliveries and post it on these channels.
Open communication with your customers about concerns with products, delivery, or other parts of the supply chain will ultimately increase your customer satisfaction and retention rates.
Better Communication with your Supply Chain
Using social media to communicate with your organization is a great way to keep everyone informed on schedules and locations. This has been difficult to achieve in the past due to different time zones and working hours. Using social media allows you to track logistical updates, share data, improve relationships, and monitor progress across the entire network of suppliers.
Social media is a great way to source new partnerships for a supply chain. Social media grants you access to millions of suppliers, especially through LinkedIn. Using this tool can provide you with the exact skills and experience you’re looking for in a new partner and find the right company to work with.
The social media site Sourcemap can be very helpful for increasing visibility of the supply chain,. This sharing platform can access all of an organizations supply chain information on a map so you can pinpoint the origins of any part of a product and contact any supplier which allows for greater transparency.
One organization that has used Sourcemap in their supply chain is Stonyfield. Stonyfield is best known for making yogurt, but little did they know the founders ended up making a great change in the world. In 1993 co-founders Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg set out with the objective to help family farms survive, protect the environment, and keep food and food production healthy through their nonprofit organic farming school. In order to keep their school business running, the two used their seven cows to make yogurt. Little did they know that their healthy way of making yogurt would appeal so much to the public and become so successful.
The New Hampshire-based organic diary brand used Sourcemap to create a map detailing the location, farm conditions and history for each of its ingredients, ranging from the dairy farms that supply its milk to the fruits that go in the products. The source map also includes profiles and locations of the family-run farming businesses that supply Stonyfields ingredients. The map is quite simple to use. The customer simply goes to the website and clicks on a product on the interactive map.
“Many of the relationships we have with suppliers are long standing, deeply rooted relationships. In other cases, we used project to build deeper relationships—in engaging suppliers to bring their story to life, asking them to do something kind of different, The process created new relationships and new opportunities, but it takes awhile, asking them to engage.”
– Wood Turner, vice president of sustainability at Stonyfield.
Lessons for others:
Transparency is key when leveraging social media within your organization’s objectives. More and more people are turning to other consumers to get the ‘real’ story behind products, rather than relying on company websites for information. Stonyfield has taken this to the next level, by showing their consumers where all their ingredients have come from and the providing the stories behind their suppliers in order to achieve complete transparency. By doing this Stonyfield has built trust based relationship with their customers and have provided a destination for them to go to for all their product inquires. Not only does this build a great brand reputation but provides a place on the company website for their consumers to visit rather than seeking answers elsewhere.
For more information on how you can use Sourcemap to increase your companies transparency, check out Leo Bonanni’s Podcast, CEO and founder of Sourcemap, for greater supply chain transparency.
Web references – Stonyfield, Inventory and Supply Chain Optimization, Sustainable Brands, Sourcemap
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