The Big Disconnect Among Supply Chain Leadership

The arrival of the Delivery Economy is hard, if not impossible, for both B2C and B2B to ignore. Providing fast, reliable and transparent delivery is now a key part of delivering a quality customer experience.

At one point, providing customers with quality products, attentive customer service and a flexible return policy topped the list. But now, on-demand apps like GrubHub and same-day delivery from retailers have forever changed expectations surrounding the customer experience for both consumers and business buyers.

Differing Levels of Pressure from the Delivery Economy

While the effects of on-demand delivery are apparent, there is a misalignment when it comes to the pressure the supply chain is under to adapt to these new demands, according to our new report, Aligning the Supply Chain in the Age of the Delivery Economy. While 82% of managers say they are experiencing pressure to improve and expand their capabilities, just 57% of executives say they are experiencing that same pressure.

Executives are in charge of providing the resources managers need to succeed, such as advanced tools that provide predictive ETAs and extensive carrier coverage. If they don’t align on these priorities and make a commitment to meeting and succeeding customer expectations, managers on the ground won’t have the tools they need to thrive — or even survive — in the Delivery Economy. It’s imperative that all parties feel a sense of urgency to adapt to this new normal.

According to Elaine Singleton, Supply Chain Program Director at the University of South Florida, management is feeling the direct impacts on the demand for increased shipping capacity at faster times.

“Grassroots management is experiencing the direct impact of the compression and must perform within shrinking time allocations — same activity but less time — this forces the need for automation and process improvement,” Singleton said.

Managers should seek the support of executives for the resources they need, and executives should take a closer look at their operations and logistics to make sure they fully understand the pressures their managers are facing.

Greater Collaboration with Commercial Teams

Even further, managers and executives differ in their ideas on how often marketing works with the supply chain on meeting the demands of the Delivery Economy. Nearly three-quarters (78%) of supply chain executives say their team works with marketing on a continual basis, while just 55% of managers say the same. Executives say the supply chain and marketing teams work together regularly, but managers don’t believe the collaboration is as frequent.

All parties believe collaboration between the supply chain and marketing is critical for success in the Delivery Economy. Marketers provide valuable insight into the latest expectations on the customer experience. In order for companies to be able to deliver on those expectations, it’s important for the supply chain to be working with marketing as their day-to-day operations have a direct impact on elements surrounding delivery, which is proving to be a key component to a positive customer experience.

Operating on the same page isn’t always easy, even between teams working toward the same goals. But while the disconnect between executives and management persists, it will be difficult for companies to face the challenges of the Delivery Economy head-on. If managers and executives are not aligned on pressures facing the supply chain and if marketing isn’t integrated into the key departments responsible for delivering on key elements to a positive customer experience, B2B and B2C businesses alike will struggle.

By bridging these disconnects — from executives to managers and from the supply chain to customer-facing teams — the organization can work toward their shared goals to make the business shine in the new Delivery Economy.

Read the full report to learn more about how the Delivery Economy is impacting supply chains.