OMG! Social media and the supply chain...LMAO!

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OMG! High school reunion, this will be a blast! LOL! Not my post but none the less I quickly found out about a planned reunion from some folks I haven’t seen or talked to in years. There are more iPad releases in a year than there are conversations I have with some Facebook acquaintances but somehow I found an interesting piece of information in time to make plans. It is astonishing how “in the know” you can be with the flick of a tweet or a read of a post. So why does supply chain information travel as fast as the horse and buggy? Even today there is more spreadsheet usage and the supply chain experience is shackled in Excel rather than that of a free flow of information between participants. We continue to see silos of functional organizations all doing their thing in linear fashion to align supply and demand, bring goods and services to market and satisfy customer expectations. Matthew Davis, a principal research analyst in Gartner's AMR Supply Chain Research wrote back in October about social media in the supply chain with a focus on demand sensing and shaping and connecting that to supply chain execution. No one can argue that knowing sooner and communicating a more accurate demand picture to those responsible for supply chain execution will go a long way to delivering on customer expectations. But what about communicating the other way? What about those surprises during execution. Imagine if the CSRs and Demand Managers could know what customers are impacted by late supply as fast as you can find out about a wardrobe malfunction on the red carpet. There are some things though that need to be in place before you can do that. If there is a supply disruption, the question for those in execution; who should I notify?  What if those people who need to know are two or three tiers apart? What if everyone is on a different ERP system? You have to connect the dots before you start communicating with them. As much as you want the supply chain experience to be more like Facebook rather than Excel it is not as easy as just posting a supply shortage and hoping the right people respond. When you make the right human connection then the flow of information can start. Only then can the “social media like” experience begin in supply chain. My colleague, Trevor Miles, has written on this subject too, check out his post– he dives deep on the topic. If anything I would want to point out what I think is key in Trevor’s blog, who should know? Mr. Davis asked they following, “Is social media in supply chain science fiction? Is it a fad? Or is there some definitive value for supply chain and demand management?” The social media experience can certainly add value in the supply chain in terms of sensing and responding but it will be much different than sharing personal experiences on Facebook and Twitter. You need to clearly define who has to participate. So, what do you think? By the way, if you want more info on this topic, there is a webcast happening on this very topic tomorrow. Click here to register.


Diby Mukherjee
- April 07, 2011 at 2:17am
Very insightful post. Very early days for this concept, but definitely the wave of the future. The ERP majors seem to have got it & are frantically working on social media integration into their apps (SAP, Oracle, Salesforce...). They HAVE to!

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