BUSINESSES are urged to digitally transform their supply chains in order to deliver a new customer experience to stay ahead of the competition, according to Guruprasad Gaonkar, a senior executive of Oracle for Asia Pacific.
As Oracle’s leader for financial operation and digital supply chain, Gaonkar said, Asia Pacific as a region faces the biggest challenge in terms of customer experience largely because 71 per cent of consumers buy online and investment in e-commerce has been rising rapidly.
To deliver differentiated customer experiences, supply chain operations need to be re-designed to cope with faster and more customised demands.
This means a new range of digital tools are required to get real-time demand data, shorten replenishment cycle times, optimise deliveries, and predict future demand.
He cited Adidas’ SpeedFactory as an example in which the advanced 3D printing technology is used to allow customers to order personalised running shoes with soles tailor-made to suit individual weights, foot contours and running styles.
In addition, the show design can incorporate data that takes account of conditions in different cities to specifically meet the needs of runners in the exact running environment. Adidas is understood to have planned to introduce the new SpeedFactory outlets in Shanghai and Tokyo shortly.
The advent of 3D printing technology is expected to revolutionise the manufacturing sector since prototype is no longer needed and many products can be mass-customised in an speedy and economical way.
The Adidas example will boost the brand’s competitiveness due to differentiated products and its ability to deliver an unprecedented customer experience based on specific needs.
Overall this is made possible by the cloud-based computing service linking the supply chain management with various business functions and raw material suppliers.
The digital supply chain also allows businesses to focus on its core business and creativity while leaving the technology components to Oracle’s services which are suitable for both start-ups as well as established enterprises.
In Thailand, Bangkok Airways has also used Oracle Service Cloud to upgrade the airline’s customer experience and engagement. With a greater visibility, staff can make faster and better decisions on customer service while minimizing disruption to travel plans.
The digital tool also allows the airline’s reservations and incident teams to track all customer cases in one place so that the customers’ journey is streamlined and their questions can be answered quickly. Travel agents and supervisors can also route, track and audit emails and generate reports to measure performance of incident resolutions and agents.
Besides the airline industry, Thailand’s manufacturing, logistic, oil and gas, automotive parts, chemical and other sectors are expected to benefit from the digital transformation process.
For CEOs and board members, he said, it is time to act now to stay ahead of the pack by debating what business will look like in the next five years, especially with regard to supply chain transformation using cloud-based and data-driven technologies. These technologies will make online commerce faster and more personalised.
In addition, they will allow businesses to create new business models via innovation and use of data from manufacturing and post-sale operations as well as other business functions.