Passing the buck” doesn’t work when it comes to an outsourced supply chain. Here, whatever happens—no matter how far down the line—problems, challenges or missteps will be seen as part and parcel of the company’s image. Disastrous weather affecting production? Lack of compliance with international law? A different understanding of quality controls? Labor issues? In today’s demanding, transparency-seeking marketplace, outsourcing your operations can also mean outsourcing your reputation.
“Ultimately, your own brand is at risk,” said Andy A. Tsay, author of “Designing and Controlling the Outsourced Supply Chain” and professor and chair of the Department of Operations Management & Information Systems in Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business. “The end customer and society will blame you for any problems, even if the fault is mostly your vendor’s.”
Jeff Cashman, senior vice president of business development at supply chain commerce solutions provider and MHI member Manhattan Associates, has noticed an industry “transformation” over the past handful of years. It’s the hard-to-miss growing emphasis on consumer demands. Cashman attributes it, in part, to Amazon’s game-changing concept of allowing consumers to decide how fast and how cheap purchases are delivered. Mobile is an equal contributor to the pace of transformation, allowing those same consumers to provide immediate feedback and advice on whether items should be purchased at all.
By Fiona Soltes