Clash of the Titans as supply chain meets CX

Published: Sep 2023

Expectations around customer experience (CX) means supply chains of the future need to be more flexible and agile, not only to give consumers the optionality they desire but to manage the risks of a changing world. Bank of America’s Bruce Meuli and Preksha Goyal explain.

A string of unprecedented disruptive events have combined with the pull of e-commerce innovation to push fragmented and fragile supply chains into the limelight. With expectations of customer experience (CX) rapidly increasing in this fraught environment, Bank of America believes that an enterprise approach to supply chain systems, addressing all user experiences, can create the agile supply chains of the future.

In an increasingly competitive online marketplace, a consumer experience that creates loyalty has become the difference between success and failure. Developmental approaches to user journeys rely on more and more data to understand customer preferences and refine shopping processes. Consumer expectations of the information available for product selection are also increasing, based on a complex range of factors from provenance to carbon footprint. In essence, consumers now want to see through sourcing channels to basic inputs.

As customer needs become information-heavy, so too are the needs for data flows between businesses in the supply chain, connecting the objectives and systems of CX and supply chain management. Through this connectivity, supply chains of the future need to be more flexible and agile, not only to give consumers the optionality they desire but to manage the risks of a changing world.

The current challenge of quickly adapting to sanctions on Russian trade is an example of the supply chain impacts of Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) that require higher levels of optionality and dynamic business rules embedded into supply chain systems.

Data is transforming everything

Data is the fuel on which customer experience and supply chains are being driven. Advanced data analytics and tools have spurred a revolution in process management because data enables greater visibility into complex processes. With robotic process automation and integrated real-time data from standardised application program interfaces (APIs), treasury, procurement, and finance departments are leveraging data to improve working capital efficiency, cash flow forecasting and risk management.

Don’t let financial technology hinder the physical supply chain

Innovative CX has been supported by rapid advancements in financial payment technology over the past few years. Early adopters turned customer challenges into strategic advantages. There are now many supply chain situations where financial technology can either hinder or enable simplicity and immediacy.

From electronic invoice processing to intelligent payment routing and centralised payment collections across multiple technology platforms, a payment provider focused on optionality, interconnectivity, and rich data can support both CX and supply chain management objectives. As recently seen, a lot of the financial strategies deployed are now closely linked to the physical supply chain. Trade banks are in a strong position to play a bigger role in linking physical and financial supply chains by implementing overlapping and complementary supply chain solutions, like supply chain finance and commercial cards. This strategy improves payment timing, ensures delivery, and supports the financial health of different segments of the supply chain.

For treasurers planning for the future, the next generation of supply chain strategies will be based on digital supply networks that connect and centralise information from suppliers, partners, and customers. These will be built on a core of information that ensures dynamic data flow, high network visibility, real-time analytics, and artificial intelligence capabilities to aid and automate real time decision-making.

Keep an eye out for next month’s Thought for the Month.

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