Social media pays dividends for the supply chain


A recently released survey by Kemp Goldberg Partners and IDG found that one of the key areas of supply chain management and relations between companies, B2B integration, can be enhanced through the adoption of modern technology. Companies may believe they are connecting with their partners optimally, but the survey found that social media and other recent advances have value in the high-speed world of the modern supply chain.

In the current marketplace, defined by the speed of service demanded by customers and the strain on warehouses created by multi-channel strategies, any increases in the pace of B2B communication will add significant value. To this end, the survey's authors found an opportunity for supply chains to increase their satisfaction and efficiency through the adoption of socially-enabled enterprise software.

"Opportunity exists to engage with customers not only on mainstream services like Facebook and Twitter but through private communities, vendor wikis and blogs," said Janet King, general manager of IDG Research. "Engaging with customers through these channels helps vendors to not only inform the buying decision but join the conversation."

The study's results showed slow adoption of social-enabled supply chain management strategies but strong enthusiasm among companies that had made the move. One-third of survey respondents, all customers in the B2B space, said that social media engagement with their suppliers and vendors contributes to a more positive impression of those companies. Another 40 percent of respondents already use social media channels to follow industry news and stay informed about their vendors.

Command of social media channels can also serve companies well in their public-facing efforts. Even companies that carry out most of their business in the B2B sphere can find themselves desperate for a social media channel to directly address the public. Logistics Viewpoints recently reported that the "pink slime" controversy that has caused problems for the ground beef industry has its basis in social media. The company behind the suddenly infamous beef product has sought to leverage social media to strike back and protect its reputation.

The source stated that while many supply chain executives do not see the strength in social media, this incident should serve to wake them up to its potential both as a tool to rapidly disseminate information and a danger if left unchecked and unmonitored. Better B2B communication may be only the beginning of its use.

Is social the future?