11 minute read

Nulogy recently partnered with the Ferrari Consulting and Research Group to produce a research advisory report analyzing the growing importance of agile product customization in the consumer supply chain. The report includes organizational case studies and feedback from industry executives to highlight trends in today’s consumer market.

Below are three key themes featured in the report:

1. Agile Postponement as a Growing Supply Chain Trend

Agile postponement refers to the ability to leverage cloud-based applications to support late-stage product customization.

This approach mitigates any potential supply network complexities arising from consumer product fulfillment. With agile postponement, individual products take on unique identities at later production stages to suit diversified consumer preferences. As well, new-to-market products are initially produced and packaged in smaller batches, then quickly ramped up to higher volumes based on actual market acceptance volumes.

The future of the on-demand economy rests with customers and consumers expecting a seamless buying experience. This new, and now permanent, era of retail is that of accommodating personalized needs of consumers in either product, selection, or channel order fulfillment needs.
The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group

The increasing adoption of agile postponement is reflected in the growing trend of brands outsourcing their value-added services to contract manufacturers, packagers, or 3PL providers. These suppliers bring consumer brand products to the finish line with agility: in the right format, in the right quantity, at the right time, and with quality and speed.

2. The Advantages of Digitally Enabled Response Networks

Delivering on consumer expectations of speed, convenience, and customization dictated by today's on-demand economy requires closing the gaps between sales, marketing, supplier, and extended end-to-end supply chain teams.

Digitally-Enabled Response Networks facilitate the end-to-end visibility and orchestration of order fulfillment and customer service tasks, and while enhancing agility and responsiveness.

For consumer goods companies, the capabilities offered by a Digitally-Enabled Response Network are crucial to supporting direct-to-consumer customer fulfillment business models and channel needs.

Advantages of Digitally Enabled Response Networks:

  • Connects upstream product demand sensing with downstream supply network planning and execution response
  • Moves data and information beyond individual software applications toward a connected, federated network
  • Allows adoption of virtually networked teams to collaborate and respond to unplanned events

3. Opportunities Unlocked by Federated Networks

Brands are increasingly discovering that implementing agile production strategies requires increased reliance upon—and partnership with—extended supply network participants. A federated network enables parties to share data such as key milestones, material flows, and production bottlenecks as they occur. This type of supply chain morphs into a network of supply and customer demand support capabilities supported by today’s cloud-based technologies.

Federated networks are ideally positioned to:

  • Fulfill regional and retail channel specific requirements
  • Increase speed and agility for new market opportunities
  • Execute private branding or other branded variants for specific channels
  • Augment support for product postponement processes
  • Fulfill seasonal or campaign-specific promotional products

Trying to build such capabilities solely for each need are becoming too extensive and too time-consuming, thus we need to rely more on our partners.
Senior Supply Chain Management Executive for Global Branded Health Goods Manufacturer

Click here to download the full report.

The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group is a global supply chain consulting and research firm providing insight and strategic assistance in supply chain business processes and information technology strategies and programs.

Report author Bob Ferrari is also the Founder and Executive Editor of the Supply Chain Matters Internet blog and is a highly recognized thought leader in global supply chain business process and information technology.

Written By
Aug 09, 2019

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