Supply chains have evolved from moving limited goods in close proximity to moving complicated products across complex global networks. From moving finished products along the Silk Route in pre-historic times to fully automated warehouses making use of robotics, driverless trucks and drone deliveries, supply chains have always played a large role in the progression of society and will continue to connect the world in unimaginable ways.
It is increasingly clear that the modern consumer is immensely digital, global and indeed influential, with access to products, services and companies at their fingertips, 24/7. This digital revolution has infinitely increased competition, consequently pushing companies to not only innovate products but also how they deliver those products to their consumers. Thanks to digitisation (and the ability to “go viral) modern consumerism is subject to a heightened sense of trending – with products suddenly, and aggressively peaking in demand – often most unexpectedly.
As human beings, our experiences not only define us, they substantially shape our relationship with the world. This is particularly true when it comes to brand loyalty and purchasing behaviour. Customer loyalty, satisfaction and purchasing behaviour can be linked to and stimulated by, the emotions a customer connects with a brand, and these emotions can be directly linked to the experiences a customer has. While brand experience has deep roots in marketing, the supply chain has a real impact on where and how a product is presented to a customer. For example, there are few things more likely to derail a purchase than a customer finding the item they are ready to purchase is out of stock, or not available in their preferred size. Factors such as the failure to meet the need for immediate gratification, or interruption of the buyer journey can become a deterrent away from a brand, particularly if such instances reoccur. Expectation and experience are tightly bound to marketing, but it is the supply chain that ultimately ensures product availability and access, and these factors need to work in conjunction to create a brand experience that delights customers and builds lasting relationships.
At Barloworld Logistics, we believe that diversity is fundamental for an organisation growing into the future and as such we employ and leverage the skills of women throughout our organisation. The inclusion of women in the transport and logistics industry is not only a Barloworld Logistics imperative but is part of a global drive to promote inclusive economies where the benefit of economic growth can be shared with all who contribute, regardless of gender. Our vision of gender equality at all levels of our organisation is strongly evident, from the female executives at the very top of our organisation to our professional driver learnership for women, and Barloworld Logistics is well on the way to being a genuinely gender inclusive organisation.
Tesla’s all-electric semi-truck is said to be going into production in 2019, with numerous prototypes already being spotted driving in preparation for the final model. Although this reality may still be far off for our local market, deliberating its impending impact is vital to ensure local supply chains and the economy at large are prepared. As autonomous truck technology speedily progresses, concerns are being raised regarding the impact on the jobs of the more than four million South African truck drivers. This is not a purely local conversation however, with tens of millions of people employed as truck drivers more across the globe.