A Well-Oiled Supply Chain is Key For Manufacturers in the Delivery Economy

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For B2B companies, delivery is paramount to a successful business. This is especially true in manufacturing where equipment, supplies, and materials for a project must be sent quickly, at an affordable price, and with increasing visibility into the status of shipments. These key features are what make up the core of the Delivery Economy — the pervasive sentiment in which customers expect low-cost, fast, and highly transparent delivery of goods. 

In our recent report, Aligning the Supply Chain In The Age Of The Delivery Economy,” 85% of B2B companies stated they’re feeling pressure to improve or expand upon delivery capabilities, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of B2B supply chains experiencing growing expectations to both process and deliver goods faster. And almost half (44%) saying they need to retool their operations to meet the growing demand for faster and more transparent delivery.

Why Manufacturers Can’t Ignore the Delivery Economy

If manufacturers don’t have the materials they need, they can’t operate. By closing factories or delaying manufacturing, they lose tons of money. Univar Solutions, the world’s largest chemical distributor, implemented a company-wide initiative to improve the delivery experience because a late delivery could cost their customers well over $100,000 per hour if they had to shut down operations.

Magna International, a $40B global automotive manufacturer with customers such as BMW and Jaguar, built a just-in-sequence (JIS) manufacturing model that depends on precise delivery appointment windows. If one shipment arrived out of sequence, whether early or late, production lines could be shut down.

On top of losing assets, manufacturers now have to deal with both meeting and exceeding the growing expectations brought on by the Delivery Economy, where their customers are expecting faster, cheaper, and more transparent delivery. With increasing pressure from their customers for improved delivery, manufacturers can’t afford to ignore the Delivery Economy. 

Current State of Affairs for Manufacturers

These challenges deeply impact the ability of B2B companies, particularly manufacturers, to overcome challenges such as inventory proliferation and capacity constraints.

In order for manufacturers to meet customer demands of goods, advanced tracking and visibility solutions are needed to develop a unified plan for aggregated levels and site-level production. Currently, 79% of supply chain professionals report using a combination of suboptimal systems to do their jobs. Manufacturers and B2B companies need solutions that can collect, analyze, and optimize data from dependable sources, feed that data into critical systems, and provide reliable insights.

Along with technology, communication is key for manufacturers and B2B companies alike. Synchronizing supply capacity throughout the whole enterprise can ensure the needed amount of inventory is provided. And supply chain pros agree — with 79% acknowledging the need for greater collaboration between the supply chain and marketing.

Building a Well-Oiled Machine

Just as manufacturers are expected to produce with the highest quality and most environmentally responsible materials available, supply chain professionals need to ensure they’re using the latest technology and taking advantage of high-fidelity data to meet delivery demands. However, nearly half are using manual processes and disparate software systems for tracking different parts of the supply chain. Upgrading to a platform that provides real-time tracking data and the ability to collect, normalize, and enrich data are vital for manufacturers to succeed in the Delivery Economy.


In order for manufacturers to meet customer expectations, improved collaboration and communication is just as important as finding the right tech approach. And when every moving piece impacts a company’s ability to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape of the Delivery Economy, communication must become a top priority.

Learn more about the impacts of the Delivery Economy.