Today’s marketplace is highly competitive. In order to differentiate themselves and stay ahead of the competition, companies must think of innovative ways to streamline their operations, increase efficiencies, and optimize productivity. One such aspect of achieving greater efficiency is through good supply chain management practices. Not super sexy, but super important, supply chains and supply chain management are topics that your business should be constantly evaluating!
With over 3000 Americans dying each year from food borne diseases and 128, 000 being hospitalized, keeping the fresh food supply safe is an enormous challenge. Verizon Enterprise has taken the initiative to bring light to the issue of food safety, as well as the current technical and process challenges that continue to impact humans and our fresh food supply. The issue is so large, that to put it in pure economic terms, the USDA estimates the amount of food loss in the U.S. alone each year totals more than $161B. And the industry simply accepts these losses as the cost of doing business. Verizon became involved in sensor and tracking technology a couple of years ago when they sat down with healthcare customer and asked them how they could help them be more efficient and effective with their business. They started to hear recurring themes in the pharmaceutical space about needing to be able to track in real time shipments of medicines that are compliant with the federal government regulations. They wanted to know the progress, the location, the temperature and a variety of other information that is required as they ship product around the US. They realized they were uniquely positioned to get involved with asset tracking in a bigger way. The soon translated these learnings from Pharma to food by talking to fisherman who were losing money because so many different people were involved with the farm-to-fork delivery of their product. Food quality is important, but if something happens to the fish during transit, the fishermen get blamed. Fishermen were looking for ways to protect the quality of what they deliver. Verizon understands the importance of tracking the temperature of fish from its catch to either the restaurant or retailer. Temperature control of fresh seafood (or any other perishable) is critically important for food safety. In fact, researchers have found that one of the largest challenges associated with food safety and food waste is related to controlling and monitoring the consistency of food temperatures throughout the cold chain.
In 2014 a global movement started #whomademyclothes. Fashion Revolution is a not for profit Community Interest Company based out of the U.K.. Since 2014 it has held an annual social media campaign #whomademyclothes in April, on the anniversary of the devastating 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse in which 1,134 people were killed. The social media campaign calls on clothing brands to take responsibility and demonstrate transparency for their supply chain management. Social media has enabled a global conversation on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for socially conscious consumers who are actively seeking out sustainable fashion and the demand for transparency. Eileen Fisher Inc. is a clothing brand that is managing their supply chain.
Social media is about building relationships, and it can be used in a supply chain to build and grow communications among trading partners. Information and knowledge gathered from the use of social media by supply chain partners can provide insight into various issues. Social media allows supply chain participants to monitor supply chain events and transactions to keep everyone up-to-date with current situations, such as a delay in shipping or a carrier failed to pick-up a shipment. Providing companies with more timely and insightful information about risks and events, enabling them to make corrective action sooner – minimizing the impact of a supply chain disruption. Despite all the major advances in supply chain management and technology in recent years, most restaurants and their suppliers still don’t have a single, integrated, real-time view of supply and demand when working together in an enterprise. The lack of visibility creates a fractured supply chain; one in which the restaurant operator and its suppliers do not operate in sync, resulting in bloated inventory, excessive waste, supply uncertainty, and poor customer service for all parties concerned. So in many ways, the restaurant industry is defined by paradoxes. Consumers want quality food at affordable prices. Product freshness is a must, regardless of seasonal variability. Cost and customer service come bundled – not à la carte. Here’s how procuring works at a typical restaurant. At the end of dinner service, the chef or sous-chef compiles a list of everything they will need for the next day’s service. Once there are tallies, the chef calls and leaves messages with orders for delivery. Some restaurants order from separate companies for produce, meat, fish, dried goods, and cleaning supplies. Others make one call to a large all-purpose company, such as Sysco or Gordon Food Service – (you know those big trucks you see across the country). Although these companies may get the lowest prices and deliver everything at once, they rarely have the best product.
We’ve known this for a while now – humans have a need to be social. They have a need to feel seen, heard and valued. They have a need to connect with their fellow humans and a need to feel they are a part of something greater than themselves. Social media platforms happen to be a perfect way to fulfill a lot of those needs. Because of this, and the fact that it is open and readily available to anyone, it tends to attract people from all walks of life. It is a mirror, reflecting back to us the behaviours, views, sentiments, predilections, fears, dreams, and values that are present in the collective human sphere at any given time. Some of those things, when we see them, can cause us utter disgust. Other things might inspire us to change, while others still might comfort us. Social media seems to have become a very useful and valuable tool in self-awareness and personal growth. “Having knowledge of our strengths and weaknesses gives us the ability to use our strengths at opportune times and work on our weaknesses when we can. As we understand ourselves better, we can also understand others. Through this wisdom and understanding, we uplift each other.”
A communication revolution is sweeping over the workplace as it begins to dawn on company stakeholders that the personal benefits of social media communication could be bolstered in the corporate setting. If using social media for internal business communications sounds like a conflict of concepts, then this blog might change your mind… or not. A few mind-boggling stats: According to SEC filing, for the first time, Facebook’s U.S. ad revenue will be larger than the biggest traditional media companies trailing only behind Google. Updated May 8, 2017 Worldwide, there are over 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook users for March 2017 (Facebook MAUs) which is an 18 percent increase year over year. There are 1.15 billion mobile daily active users (Mobile DAU) for December 2016, an increase of 23 percent year-over-year 28 billion people log onto Facebook daily active users (Facebook DAU) for first Quarter of 2017, which represents a 18% increase year over There are 1.74 billion mobile active users (Mobile Facebook MAU) for December 2016 which is an increase of 21% year-over-year On average, the Like and Share Buttons are viewed across almost 10 million websites daily. Age 25 to 34, at 29.7% of users, is the most common age demographic. Five new profiles are created every second.. Every 60 seconds on Facebook: 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded.(Source: The Social 75 billion pieces of content shared daily as of May 2013 which is a 94 percent increase from August 2012.(Source: Facebook) 50% of 18-24 year-olds go on Facebook when they wake up. One in five page views in the United States occurs on Facebook. 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business. 16 Million local business pages have been created as of May 2013 which is a 100 percent increase from 8 million in June 2012.
Patagonia is a hugely succesful company that grew out of humble beginnings. It all started when 14 year old Yvon Chouinard developed a love for the sport of climbing, as a member of the Southern California Falconry Club. As Chouinard became more involved in the sport, he soon realized that the only pitons available for climbing were made of soft iron and were placed in the rock once and left there. He found that this was not ideal. Chouinard then met John Salathé, a Swiss climber who made his own hard iron pitons. Chouinard thought that if John Salathé could do it, so could he! In 1957 Chouinard bought a coal-fired forge, an anvil, tongs and hammers and taught himself how to blacksmith. Chouinard made chrome-molybdenum steel pitons and before he knew it, he was in business. He could forge two pitons an hour, and sold them for $1.50 each. Over the years, this company grew to officially become Patagonia in 1973; a company that’s roots remain in alpinism but have expanded to include clothes for climbing, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, paddling and trail running. Patagonia focuses on these silent sports, where “the reward comes in the form of hard-won grace and moments of connection between us and nature.”
Watsi is a non-profit crowdsourcing platform that enables anyone to fund life-changing medical procedures for patients in developing countries who might not otherwise have access to healthcare. At the time this case study was written, 22,102 Watsi donors had funded healthcare for 11,559 patients in 25 countries. Patients waiting to be fully funded included Vehn, a farmer from Cambodia who needs a hip replacement, Olga, a single mother from Guatemala who needs treatment for diabetes, and Dah Htoo, a 2 year old boy from Burma who needs surgery to repair burn damage. When Watsi founder Chase Adam was a Peace Corps volunteer, he was traveling through a small town in Costa Rica when a woman boarded the bus. Her son required medical treatment she could not afford; she showed his medical records and asked passengers for money to help pay for his treatment. The town was called Watsi and the idea of developing a platform to crowdsource funding for vital health care in developing countries was born. Soon after the platform launched, the idea gained traction on Hacker News, and eventually led to Watsi being the first non-profit startup funded and accelerated by Y Combinator.
The supply chain plays a pivotal role in the overall success of an organization, but even more so in the fresh food sector. Restaurants and other food related operations are always looking at ways to cut costs and maximize profits in the most effective and efficient methods possible. Whether it be healthcare, restaurant chains or even small mom and pop type restaurants, GFS understands that managing all those moving parts can be an overwhelming aspect of doing business. GFS is the largest family operated distributor in North America that has been running for over 115 years and services restaurants, universities, healthcare and a variety of other foodservice operations. Logistics and supply chain challenges have been at the core of the GFS company fabric since it’s establishment in 1897, but being able to manage the supply chain and its intricacies in 2017 is a different dynamic entirely. In addressing this fundamental concern, GFS developed “GFS Connect” with the goal of providing the customer total traceability and accountability anywhere, anytime in an easy and convenient way: “GFS Connect Mobile is the companion application to GFS Connect, offering you access to the same information on a mobile device. This one-of-a-kind tool lets you run your business on the go, anytime, anywhere. It’s the first and only mobile application available to food service operators throughout Canada – and it’s easy and convenient to use.”- GFS Canada Website
When actor Chris Hemsworth is not on screen swinging Thor’s hammer, you can usually find him in the gym crushing a weight training workout with Luke Zocchi of Zoco Body Pro. Hemsworth uses Zocchi’s expertise to get in shape for major movie roles, but Zoco Body Pro’s target market is the regular joe. Having A-list clients was enough to attract viewers to the company’s social media, but they have stayed for the incredible content. Zoco body pro has used their social media presence to create a new avenue for a business that started as a personal training, and while they still do that, their new market is global. When training local clients, Luke prefers hands on training. Some people like to be yelled at, that old-school, drill sergeant approach, but I normally train alongside the people I work with and that’s how I like to do it. This strategy is excellent for customers lucky enough to live near Zoco Body Pro, but the company has made a move on social media that will also help potential customers that can’t travel to “The Iron Temple”. They have recently launched a program called Twenty40 training that allows anyone on Earth to try the same workout regimen that has produced world famous results. This is an online venture that provides customers with step by step instructions on how to sculpt their goal physique, as well as giving nutrition tips to help fuel the new body. Zoco Body Pro uses many aspects of social media effectively to run their organization, and this new program will help spread their fitness message world wide.
On the day I read the content of this case study I had a nasty headache. As I reached for my bottle of Tylenol I wondered how does the manufacturing industry use social media and the resulting supply chain management ? Having close relatives in this industry and for confidentiality reasons I decided to look into the manufacturing/vendor side as opposed to discussing a large well-known pharmaceutical company. What I learned at this level of this industry was it has various levels of complexities of graphs, processes and disconnected communications.
When Lululemon was founded in 1998, it was a yoga studio. As the business grew, it became a brand committed to selling the best yoga wear that the company could manufacture. Lululemon understood that their target market valued sustainability, and they designed their supply chain with that in mind. They strive to manufacture products that are free of cruelty, whether that be human or animal, and they try to keep environmental damage to a minimum. Social media has helped the company monitor the current values of their customers. They then update their practices to stay true to the beliefs of their core consumer base. This not only helps their supply chain stay committed to the company’s values, but also provides Lululemon with a chance to market its product.
How it all Began Today, Stonyfield Organic is a New Hampshire based organic dairy brand specializing in the production of yogurt, smoothies, frozen yogurt, milk and cream as well as some lactose free soy based products. The mission of the company is to provide healthy organic options to everyone that are free of pesticides, antibiotics, artificial hormones or GMOs while helping family farms survive and doing it all in a sustainable manner. However, 3o years ago the two founders Samuel Kaymen and Gary Hirshberg didn’t think it would be their dairy products changing the world. Stonyfield began as non-profit organic farming school where the two men shared their love of healthy eating, protecting the environment and family farming. They needed a way to fund their school so they started to make organic yogurt with the 7 dairy cows that they had. They knew that they were staying true to their values by producing the organic yogurt they just didn’t know how much everyone else was going to love it! 30 years later and only 30 miles East of the original farm, the business is stronger than ever providing a plethora of tasty and healthy options with the same goals in mind from the start.
Most of us who went to McDonald’s as kids remember our first taste of their delicious French fries and that special sauce packed Big Mac. We also likely remember as we became adults, just how bad their coffee was (as was the coffee at many other restaurants). Well, McDonald’s listened to its customers over the years and introduced a new coffee and most recently a new McCafe restaurant concept. A winner for customers, the McDonald’s business and for social media.
ModCloth comes from humble beginnings in a dorm room. The company, founded in 2008, has grown in leaps in bounds since its inception. Including a 600% growth rate over the last two years and an annual revenue of over 150 million in 2014. One of the mainstays of ModCloth’s expert marketing strategy is their customer engagement. The company leverages their brand advocates and creates inclusive social media communities where fans can review products, post pictures of themselves wearing Modcloth apparel, take part in the design and purchase of inventory, and discuss all things ModCloth.
In today’s social media communities it can be noisy, even annoying, to see sponsored and promoted messages, have products clamouring for your attention, and marketing departments from companies of all sizes try their best to stand out in the chaos. But for one ABC television show, they’ve successfully approached social media in a different way. To listen. The show itself (The Bachelor) is a marketing goldmine. The quest for love, smothered in manipulated drama, to appeal to the hopeless romantics, or provide an endless parade of judge worthy material for the cynics. Its hard to deny the vapid nature of the show itself, but what the show has done with it’s social media offers a lot of lessons for the marketing community.
Are people really honest? One company decided to find out and in the process they managed to create one of the best social media campaigns in 2015. Honest Tea, has prided themselves to be transparent in all their endeavors, and are now inspiring a nation to do the same. Challenging American’s to prove they are honest people, and in the process managing to conquering their own brand awareness like never before. The Social Experiment Since 2010, Honest Tea has conducted a social experiment where they set up unmanned racks of Honest Tea offered for $1 each on an honor system. Monitored by hidden cameras and employees who tracked the percentage of people who paid by city. It started with 6 major cities across the U.S. to determine how honest people are when they think no one is watching. And has expanded across the nation ever since proving each year that over 90% of Americans are honest and continue to be. Please take a peak at the Teaser video below for more on the Honest Tea’s Campaign To see which states were the most honest and other interesting results, quench your curiosity by clicking on the National Honesty Index So why did they conduct this experiment? Seth Goldman is president and TeaEO of Honest Tea explains: “Beyond the fact that we seek to have honest and direct relationships with our ingredients, suppliers, and consumers, it’s a fun way for people to interact with our brand. We do lots of sampling over the summer, but our Honest pop-up stores offer an opportunity for people to be part of our company rather than just passive drinkers. It turns out that it’s also a nice way to help people think differently about our society and each other.” Each year Honest Tea matched the contributions from these pop-up stores and donates them all to a specific charity in order to help people help themselves and increase sustainability in the world.
I will admit that until very recently I was not familiar with the brand Chobani. You see, despite being the number one Greek yogurt in the United States, Chobani’s line of all-natural, non-GMO products aren’t currently available in Canada. However, when I started researching companies using social media as a means to engage their customers I kept seeing the Chobani name come up, so I decided to explore this brand and its strategy a little deeper. And now I’m thinking it might be time for a road trip south to see what all the fuss is about. Founded just over 10 years ago by Kurdish-American businessman Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani has quickly risen to the forefront of the yogurt industry capitalizing on the market shift towards the creamier Greek-style of yogurt. In a 2013 interview Ulukaya stated that at the time of Chobani’s product launch in 2007 “Greek yogurt market share in the United States was less than 1 percent. And today it is almost 60 percent.” Becoming the top brand in that marketplace is quite the accomplishment, and proves that the company is doing something right not only with its product but its marketing strategy as well.
Transparency is a funny thing. To successfully engage customers, it’s an important subject for organizations in today’s marketplace. Yet, how does a company walk the line between reflecting an image of transparency, while still being able to function successfully without ‘giving it all away’? For the Baltimore Ravens, it’s an ability to appear transparent to the consumer, by appealing to the emotional side. Football teams can have the unique advantage of extremely passionate customers. Sure, it helps if the team performs better and the players are easily ‘marketable’ to the audience, but football is a game for passionate people, with strong feelings to their respective teams.
Companies: Indigo, Facebook & Twitter Industry: Literature & Social Media Social Media, like technology, is changing constantly. If you go on a vacation for a week, it seems that your computer, TV, phone or any other personal device becomes obsolete. Social media is not much different. New channels are emerging all the time whether they are successful like Snapchat or… Read more »
Canadian Blood Services media campaign symbol that indicates a greater need for blood donations in the community. Organization: Canadian Blood Services Industry: Not for Profit, Health and Medical Contact(s): Dianne McBride, Web references: HealthyDebate.ca, cbc.ca, Canadian Blood Services, Facebook, Wikipedia.org, Twitter, Vimeo, Youtube, History.com, Talk about a red hot topic. Canadian Blood Services has a multi-storied past, including the 1980’s blood scandal… Read more »
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… Read more »
Organization Name: C&S Wholesale Grocers Industry: Food and Beverage CEO: Richard B Cohen Web references: C&S, FaceBook, Twitter, Wikipedia About C&S Wholesale Grocers C&S was founded in 1918 by Israel Cohen and Abraham Siegel and began as a small grocery distribution center stocking 1,200 products. They now have more than 95,000 products from 50 warehouses to distribute to supermarkets and… Read more »
Organization name: Dell Inc. Industry: Computer hardware Name of contact: Michael Dell, Founder, Chairman & CEO Web references: Wikipedia, About IdeaStorm, Merriam-Webster Dictionary – crowdsourcing, eWeek article – EMC Will Be Latest and Greatest of Dell’s Many Acquisitions, Business Computing World article – How to Make the Most Out of Crowdsourcing, FIR IndeaStorm Interview with Project Manager Cy Jervis, Video: Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding Explained About… Read more »
Organization Name: Pottery Barn – a brand of Williams-Sonoma, Inc. Industry: Retail Name of contacts: Laura Albert, CEO, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. and Sandra Stangl, President of Pottery Barn, pottery barn kids and PBteen Web references: Williams-Sonoma, Inc. – company overview Mashable – 3 Examlpes of Stellar Social Media Customer Service, HOW TO: Pick the Right Social Media Engagement Style Kevin’s blog – Using… Read more »