The idea of supply chains has existed for as long as merchants took their caravans from city to city, selling exotic goods and household wares. The world of commerce has evolved dramatically over the last few decades. Consumers now have more power than ever before, and can send their requirements to a seller and have goods sent to them without them ever having to leave their homes. But the supply chain is still of crucial concern.
Risk Management for Online Sellers
If there’s one area in which online retailers have learned some hard lessons in the last few years, it is risk management. Electronics retailers have to worry about earthquakes disrupting production at key hard drive and memory factories, causing prices to skyrocket. International retailers have dealt with the knock-on effects of tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and other “acts of God” that served to cut off their supplies for weeks at a time.
Those risks, combined with fluid demand, make managing stock a very difficult task indeed. Add in the stability and performance issues associated with seasonal or new release-related traffic spikes, and it’s easy to understand why so many retailers fail in their first year online. To succeed, you need to know your audience and you need to be able to predict demand and work around unexpected events. A flexible, adaptive supply chain is essential.
Enter The Cloud
Cloud technologies are ideal for delivering precisely this. With real time analytics and efficient visualisation techniques, you can spot changes in demand early on. Using track and trace information and the power of cloud computing, business owners will always know where their goods are, in addition to their current stock levels. If a store suddenly sees a ten fold increase in traffic, elastic computing services will keep the store online by establishing new server instances. The owner can be alerted to the extra demand and prompted to order more stock if they anticipate that the demand will continue.
Online retailers enjoy far greater flexibility than bricks and mortar store owners, but for them to truly succeed they need to stop relying upon EDI and older supply chain models and start taking advantage of today’s flexibility and mobility. The next revolution in commerce is here and those business owners (large or small) who adopt it today will enjoy a substantial head start over their competition.
Take The Next Step
Radweb are experts in deploying full-scale infrastructures based on Amazon Web Services and are Amazon Technology Partners. Talk to us and we’ll show you exactly how you can prepare your infrastructure for the future, and embed your marketing and communications firmly within your business.