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Do we really need a social supply chain?

Is your company tapping into the power of social technology ““ and if so, are you regulating that power with a social supply chain? This article by Gene Trousil looks at how supply chains are leaning more and more into the “social” sphere of business, and how social media is blurring the traditional boundaries between employees, customers and vendors. Now it's easy to send a facebook message or a tweet to a customer to help explain what's happening with a shipment or resolve a question ““ and what does that mean for how effective your supply chain is? Supply chains that have already embraced social media for business have found solid returns on response times and performance improvements, but there are also challenges that should be noted. According to Trousil: The challenge to going “social” is to successfully model the complex web of real-world relationships found in today's supply chains. For example, consider the unprecedented success of Facebook. With a user base of nearly 1 billion and growing, Facebook is easily the most successful social network. But why did it succeed where MySpace and Friendster failed? One thing that Facebook got right and other competing social networks (e.g. Myspace, Friendster) did not, is that a Facebook user's social network better reflects real-life interactions. In almost every case you become Facebook friends only after you have met them in real life. Facebook is successful because it lowers information barriers between people who have already demonstrated the desire to communicate with each other in the real world. Another consideration is security of information ““ it's a great thing if you can relate to a customer that their shipment is incoming, but not so great if a vendor tries to send you sensitive data through a social network, let's say. Knowing how to utilize social media in your supply chain dictates how effective and secure it is for your company "“ and that is perhaps the first step in creating a social supply chain.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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