We hear more and more each day about conventional retailers and other distribution companies facing disintermediation by more efficient consumer direct e-commerce firms. Disintermediation is a fate which faces any company or individual who does not properly and efficiently perform their given role or add value to any process in which they are involved. This is especially true in the case of Logisticians, whose role is emerging as infomediaries within the supply chains they manage and participate in. To understand this new role more deeply, a review of our previous articleÂ The Logistician as Infomediary will assist, as it seeks to develop and further define the importance of ongoing information collection, analysis, management and sharing by Logisticians.
It is our belief that Logisticians who do not develop these competencies themselves or within the supply chain groups they manage, face disintermediation or more specifically disinfomediation by supply chain software, fourth party logistics firms and others are developing the ability to very quickly “slice and dice” your supply chain information to identify past, current and potential future cost and service efficiencies.
In the past this was difficult due to the tight control one could maintain on your supply chain information, but in fact today, as discussed in our review of the book Blown to Bits, greater richness and reach is allowing many ready access to this information. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and other related initiatives are making supply chain performance and the related information everyone’s business with this data being collected and analyzed automatically as these applications are installed enterprise wide.
So what does this mean to the Logistics Professional? Well first and foremost as the current guardian and master of your supply chain information, you must be no less than the best at benchmarking, analyzing and appropriately sharing this data on your operations. In addition improvement to industry standard or better on all supply chain metrics will be critical for you as there may soon be nowhere to hide inadequate performance or inefficiencies which in the past may have gone largely unnoticed.
For many who have operated unchallenged previously and shared little or no supply chain data outside the firm, this new transparency and outside information analysis may be quite unsettling as it is somewhat akin to being publicly exposed. However, the ultimate benefits of this open information approach will far outweigh whatever initial discomfort results. Moving into more of an open information environment will also facilitate the development of effective multi-company co-distribution operations and for Logistics and Supply Chain Management to be recognized and used even more effectively as Competitive Weapons by forward thinking individuals and firms who intend to lead and not just follow in this ongoing logistics information revolution.
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