Utilizing and Maximizing Social Media Within Supply Chain Management

BradenPomeroy    June 5, 2017

Each year we print four billion flyers that are read by 81% of our readers, making them the most used source of local shopping information.  For Metroland Media, their competitors and readers, these numbers are astonishing. Supply chain management is now more relevant than ever in terms of any organization succeeding. Products need to be properly designed, developed and distributed, while still being cost effective, easily adaptable to changes in the product or market and remain at a high-quality level for customer satisfaction. Metroland makes it apparent that the products they produce find there way into the customer’s hands with the same quality it left their organization. They know that improving their network of organizations and people involved in these processes enhance a variety of factors within their supply chain. Metroland Media is an excellent example of how an organization should run their supply chain and how it can be managed and improved.

For the size of the organization Metroland is, supply chain and supply chain management is something they focus on around the clock. Quality, cost and speed are the key performance factors of how Metroland remains one of the leaders in the media industry and print distribution in Canada. Creating, designing and distributing over 110 weekly community newspapers, three daily newspapers, 100 magazines and specialty print publications, as well as winning over 86 editorial awards in 2015, is a good reflection of the strength Metrolands supply chain and supply chain management withholds. Our newspapers are distributed to 75% of Ontario households, and are the most trusted and best source of local news in our communities. That, along with the 5.6 million readers each week, their long-term clientele, and the many organizations looking to partner with Metroland, are the key examples of how their supply chain is operating and how their supply chain management is working effectively to improve quality, cost, speed and overall customer satisfaction.

A basic supply chain for a small community newspaper would look like this; customer, advertising, news and content, layout, press operations, packaging operations to distributing operations and back into the hands of the consumers. What that basic supply chain doesn’t cover; is the organizations involved, people, and the many stages involved in research, creation, distribution, storage and consumption of the product or service. That also still leaves out the supply chain management aspect, which is the effective design, operation, and improvement of the network of organizations and people involved. Metroland has over 4,500 employees and many other organizations involved in their everyday production, which means there is constant room for error and improvement.  The best way to view and understand supply chain and supply chain management is to see it like this; supply chain is made up of the organizations, processes and people involved in the overall creation and distribution of a product or service. Supply chain management; is figuring out what is effective and what can be improved within this network. They are two separate divisions that are constantly working hand in hand with one another to ensure that the customer is satisfied, the company is saving money and that the final product, services and organizations involved are improving.

Metroland Media does an excellent job of creating jobs inside the organization before having to reach out and expand to outside parties. This means they get to utilize the knowledge of employees currently working for them and ultimately cutting cost and time significantly. They mainly print, design and create their publications in house, then through their own facilities they receive and ship their product, which is then distributed through local carriers. This doesn’t mean they don’t use a wide variety of outside organizations; they do, quite heavily in fact and its essential for their supply chain. They use outside organizations to print specific publications, Canada Post to deliver to areas outside their carrier’s districts, and separate warehouses for storage. Just one flyer that may already be designed and handed to them by a client can be processed by five different people and then dealt with many more when leaving the office and distributed. Metroland Media is such a large organization that they would not able to produce, design, develop and distribute the volume of publications they do without the assistance and partnerships of these outside establishments. That’s why there is an extensive amount of time researching and partnering with the right organizations. How these organizations perform and continuously progress are what effects Metrolands supply chain, final product, cost, quality, and effectiveness. That’s why organizations utilize and maximize supply chain management and now make it their top priority.

Print publications are Metroland`s number one source of revenue, this means they understand their supply chain and the power and control it has on their organization. They know how important storage, inventory and distribution are. That’s why if we refer back to the three key performance factors which are; cost, quality and speed, these are some of the main factors that dictate what the quality and cost of the final product or service and how customers will receive it. One thing to remember is that competition between Metroland and other organizations is prompted by the effectiveness of their supply chains. Supply chains consist of many different subsections, some important ones that most organizations focus on are; innovation, purchasing, stakeholders, organizational structure, inventory management, internal management, process improvement, visibility, activity planning and customer service. Without these stages in the supply chain working effectively and consistently improving, Metroland wouldn’t see results and would more likely see a major decrease in customers due to the poor final product.

Lessons for Others

These are all things organizations are constantly trying to improve on, that is why social media is becoming more relevant in the supply chain process and how it may be used to cut costs, increase production speeds and improve product quality and customer satisfaction. Metrolands supply chain could benefit greatly by utilizing social media, it would allow Metroland to interact with its customers, understand the market place and adapt to any situation no matter where they are in the product development and design process. Social media can also influence their supply chain by data mining, data sharing and collaborating. These three aspects alone can improve planning and control, create better decision-making and effectiveness within Metrolands partners.

Being able to apply social media effectively takes time, resources, skill, and expertise. Metroland has these qualities and they have the opportunity with the products and services they offer. The vast audience Metroland reaches and the way their audience engages is an indication that they support Metrolands decisions; social media would just be another way to communicate with their customer while also improving their organization. They can start by using social media in the simplest and the most practical of forms. Since they are distributors, they would benefit from implementing social media and creating posts disclosing the departure and arrival of their shipments. They could also post the speed, quality, and overall performance information, search for the demand of a specific type of product, research new suppliers, vendors or buyers and announce shipment delays due to weather conditions. These are very simple but effective ways to implement social media with little management and lots of customer data within a small trial run. Metroland needs to utilize social media within their supply chain, to truly maximize their organizations performance and customer satisfaction.

Organization: Metroland Media Group
Industry: Media
Name of Organization Contact: Ian Oliver, President

Authored by: Braden Pomeroy

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


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