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C2B2C: The Need for the Social Supply Chain

Getting value from social media applications will, in Lora Cecere’s opinion, require a complete redesign of the contemporary supply chain. “We have to design supply chains from the outside in,” she declared. In order to achieve a real C2B2C (Outside-in & Inside Out) organisation, supply chains need to be restructured. Uptil now organisations have been focused on reponse and internal -efficiënt- processes instead of of the consumer and listening/sensing what their needs are as a starting point.

Real-time information flows are both a blessing and a curse, it offers both opportunities and challenges. The following three paragraphs from the article hit the nail:

[...] Now, let’s think of what would have happened if the problem with the product would have been the result of a design flaw. The information could have gotten to Newell Rubbermaid’s engineering department in time to develop a fix before product sales starting dropping.

That would be the result of a social supply chain. To create a supply chain like that, Cecere suggests talking to your marketing department or your social media managers to find out exactly what type of information is flowing through your social media channels, and then asking how that information can be used in various parts of the supply chain.

Once that’s accomplished, it’s time to find the right tools — those social business applications — to support moving information to the right places and the right people in the supply chain.

An organisation overhaul is needed to achieve the abovementioned example on a continuous pace, with a minimum of efficiency that proves to be viable to business processes and ROI. Change management needs to occur to transform the current mindset of most professionals and adopt the consumer-centric vision. Cecere predicts a 5 to 10 years before the social supply chain is really in place, due to the relative immaturity of the current crop of social business applications. This might be true but it’s a chicken-egg dilemma, without testing (and failing), technologies cannot advance to serve the needs of (supply chain) professionals.In terms of Gartner’s Hype Cycle, social business applications will survive but will have to go through the neccesary phases before achieving adopting, adaption and visible return and place in business. Social business applications will follow the transformation to a social business, in that mean-time inefficiency can occur, but that might be the already a current challenge in organisations. 

By the customers, for the customers

A C2B2C organisation is a platform organisation enabling and offering solutions for someone’s needs and goals. Before achieving such an organisational state gradual changes has to be applied, transforming policies, stakeholders, technologies, processes, infrastructures and what more. We are amidst of this process, guiding our clients to social supply chain transformation with the ultimate goal of an organic, open and holistic consumer driven platform business. We encounter daily the challenges triggered by social media and the openess of the -digitized- world in general. Traditional approaches and processes to supply chain management are not fast enough, flexible enough or robust enough to cope with these changes.  People plug these gaps.