Have Supply Chain Problems? Here’s How To Fix Them

Owing to both the after-effects of Brexit and the Coronavirus pandemic, many eCommerce (and retailers) businesses have experienced serious supply chain disruptions. With customer demand for eCommerce products only increasing year on year, smooth supply chain management is critical for stakeholders and your business’s bottom line.

 

Retail e-commerce sales worldwide

Image source: Statista

So what kind of supply chain issues are businesses facing? And are there solutions that can help?

Supply chain issues your business is likely experiencing

From the short supply of raw materials to sourcing staff, supply chain managers are having to deal with several critical problems.

Getting items to people on time

Thanks to the newest Delta variant of the Coronavirus, global supply chains — particularly factories originating in China and the rest of Asia, have shut down. This has encouraged price hikes, bidding wars, and even cancelled shipments altogether.

Of course, these shutdowns at the start of the chain mean that managers are having to deal with delayed procurement, and customers are experiencing delayed deliveries.

Lack of logistics/carriers

Not only do factories shutting down induce major supply chain risks, but so does the short supply of logistics, carriers, and drivers. According to the Road Haulage Association (RHA), there is currently a shortage of 100,000 drivers, which they’ve described as a “crisis point”.

Due to these driver shortages and bidding wars for space on freight shipping, businesses are struggling to move their inventory.

Excessive backlog

The shortage of drivers isn’t helped by the aging population of HGV drivers retiring and a severe backlog of driving tests put on hold because of the pandemic. However, with a combination of all the above issues, businesses are experiencing excessive backlog across many points of the supply chain.

In the short term, this backlog means there is a hole that can’t be filled until more drivers become qualified. In the long term, these issues are causing a slow recovery of the global economy.

Live examples

Due to the importance of supply chains in the global economy, it’s no surprise that reports of several major brands experiencing issues have emerged.

For example, as a result of shortages across the board thanks to Covid-19, IKEA Ireland found themselves with approximately 10% of their items unavailable at the time of writing.

IKEA

Photo by Ruel Del Jamorol on Unsplash

As potentially more surprising examples, even some of the biggest eCommerce retailers in the world — Amazon, Walmart, and Costco, continue to face supply chain problems according to S&P Global.

Speaking to S&P Global, Chris Rogers, a supply chain analyst for Panjiva, suggested that “It’s not like retailers have fat profit margins to start with, so we may see that [increased costs] passed through to consumers as well,” (context added).

How DigitalGenius can help

As businesses experience issues behind the scenes, the people who are bearing the brunt of them are the customers. Oftentimes they can be left out of the loop, not knowing what’s going on with their orders or when they can buy what they want and need.

That’s where DigitalGenius can help.

Optimization of new technology in the areas of AI, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing (NLP) can give your business a competitive advantage. Below are some examples of use cases.

Where is my order / Delays & Returns

Whether you opt for full automation or agent-guided automation, DigitalGenius can help you handle support tickets with ease.

As you implement the process automation system, customers who get in touch with similar questions i.e. “Where is my order?” and “Why is my order delayed?” can be managed without a human being involved.

For example, when G-Star took on DigitalGenius’ process automation, 90% of their order-related queries were resolved without agent involvement.

Product availability & information on shipping

When DigitalGenius is integrated with your inventory management software, you can also instantly respond to customers who ask questions on item availability and shipping information.

This process works because AI automation fetches the information from your third-party management systems and provides the information directly to the customer in real-time.

Backlog automation

During peak seasons such as the holidays or major sales, your business is likely to experience a significant increase in support tickets, especially with the effect of supply chain issues — often creating huge backlogs of requests.

Full automation can help your business deal with repetitive requests, while guided automation helps your agents resolve more complex issues at a more productive rate.

For example, when Skullcandy experienced a 50% increase in ticket volume DigitalGenius was able to help them handle 80% of their WISMO tickets and gain 10% more CSAT metrics.

Automate Your Customer Service Processes Today

In a post-pandemic world, your business needs to be mitigating against risks associated with supply chains — including keeping your customers informed of what’s happening.

DigitalGenius can help you automate the repetitive conversations and processes that take up your agents’ valuable time whilst keeping your customers happy. Try out the power of AI for your business today.

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