Written By: Matthew Baggetta
Feb. 16, 2017

Stop Trying to Send Texts With Your Fax Machine

ERPs and SaaS Apps Blend To Grow Your Business

It can be tough to keep pace with the speed of our digital lives today: keeping your hard drive organized, keeping the software on your computer, phone, maybe even your fridge up-to-date, responding to the never-ending stream of emails and social media notifications. How do you know if the particular set of digital tools you use to manage your every day are the best ones for the job?

In supply chain, these difficulties are no different. If anything, they’re amplified. When managing assembly, kitting, work in progress management, and packaging and activities in the last-mile, the magnitude of complexity increases yet again.

Yet, despite operating in a fast-moving environment that’s characterized by high variability and quick turnaround times, some last-mile product customization suppliers are able to master all of the moving pieces to fulfill perfect order execution. These are the suppliers that experience significant business growth, and despite rapid supplier consolidation, are the ones that will survive in the decades to come.

So how do they do it?

The fastest-growing suppliers in the last-mile continue to win market share by serving up customized products and promotions, which enable their brand customers to capitalize on trending consumer demands.

You’ll find that these suppliers power their businesses with a blend of digital tools, leveraging what Gartner calls ‘bimodal capabilities,’ or, the capability to manage two distinct styles of work: one focused on predictability; the other on exploration. Companies with bimodal capabilities take what Gartner calls a ‘hybrid approach’ to meeting the complexity of customer-driven demand and maneuvering in a volatile market.

Mode 1 relies on stable, on-premise monolith solutions, and Mode 2 leverages cloud-based, responsive technology to explore uncharted growth opportunities. Suppliers with Mode 1 systems manage their businesses HR or financial records with a system built from the ground up to ensure consistent, dependable controls. Suppliers with Mode 2 systems can offer brands short-run, multi-SKU, or promotional orders without wasting materials, labor or reputation if the market doesn’t bite. Suppliers with both Mode 1 and Mode 2 solutions–bimodal companies, are able to achieve exceptional levels of customer service and deliver ‘the perfect order’.

Last-mile mastery

In our brand new white paper and upcoming series, you’ll learn how 3PL’s, contract packagers and corrugators are forging the best practices necessary to make delivering the evasive ‘perfect order’ a reality. By combining SaaS specialist apps with existing ERP solutions, industry leading suppliers leverage ‘bimodal capabilities’ to dance over risk and grow their business. This ability to deliver unparalleled customer satisfaction regardless of lead time or complexity, makes them trusted partners above all others in their verticals.

By knowing what your digital technology can and cannot do, you gain the tactical insight necessary to choose the right combination of tools to tackle your specific problems, when it matters the most. This strategic capability is essential to capitalize on the short, intense bursts of mass-customization demand that are becoming the status quo of today’s web-savvy, global consumer markets.

Next week we kick off our series with Part 1: Why Depending on ERPs Alone Is Your Company’s Biggest Handicap!

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