February 10, 2016 by Tony Longoria
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and Cupid is preparing to fire his arrows all over the world. Believe it or not, Valentine’s Day is the second highest annual grossing holiday each year, just behind Christmas. Figures show that Valentine’s Day spending approached $19 billion in 2015 alone.
Cupid’s work isn’t done alone, however – he requires a little help from the supply chain. Flowers, candy, cards, jewelry and other gifts exchanged all have one thing in common: they require companies to seamlessly integrate their supply chain operations in order to deliver goods in time.
Take, for example, the floral industry. Many of the flowers purchased this year will be sourced from abroad. This delicate supply chain requires special attention to ensure product quality and timeliness of delivery. Not only do goods need to be stored at the right temperature, there also needs to be an awareness of other bottom-line issues like on-time delivery (OTD), rates and late charges, which can significantly impact margins. Door-to-door logistics, transportation and distribution are critical and a number of other sourcing, order and fulfillment elements need to fall into place to ensure a successful holiday.
Here are a few tried and true tips we’ve observed from companies that have successfully delivered a positive experience around Valentine’s Day:
Evaluate supplier performance and bring together sourcing and procurement, supply chain, customer service, risk management, finance and management together to better share information and gain full visibility into operations. Revenue and expense activities should always be viewed together in a single and overall system.
Stronger partner relationships emerge when companies look beyond transactions to understand how the supply chain works. Implementing supplier relationship management (SRM) tools or using technology to integrate order-to-cash and procure-to-pay systems can foster greater collaboration across all departments to produce faster fulfillment and higher customer satisfaction.
Business intelligence (BI) tools and dashboards that provide insight into supply chain functions are critical for improving real-time decision-making. You don’t want to be making guesses when it comes to operations, pricing, supplier relationships and more, so implement technology that can deliver more data-driven information to your fingertips.
Bring a supply chain evangelist onto your team to act as an advocate in order to align supply chain operations and drive strategy so you can enhance overall supply chain performance.
Supply chain organizations need to continually monitor and fine-tune internal and external processes and procedures, especially in advance of major events like Valentine’s Day. By thinking ahead and following best practices, you can be in the position to provide greater strategic value to the business — and deliver an experience that will delight customers.