Social technology in supply chain management

Social technology in supply chain management

A year ago the conversation was all about whether or not social media and social technologies were relevant in the B2B space. It wasn’t entirely clear whether the enormous impact of Facebook and Twitter would be mirrored by some industrial strength B2B equivalent. A year on and it’s no longer OK to be seen scratching your head quizzically when someone mentions social – if you don’t get it – you’ve had it!

Purchasing Insight logoIn 2012, the conversation has moved on. It’s no longer about if, it’s about how. How to extract your share of the estimated $1.3 trillion of value that social could deliver.

The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies – a research report from McKinsey describes in detail where this $1.3 trillion of value can be found both amongst consumers and business from the effective use of social technologies. It’s an excellent piece of research. It is thorough and insightful but most of all, it positions social intelligently – not as a mysterious fad that you really ought to follow even if you’re not sure why – but as a real business tool from which tangible business benefits can be derived.

More precise demand forecasting for example. Significant improvements can be achieved in industries such as automotive. By analyzing consumer behavior and sentiment, McKinsey estimates that social can deliver value of $40 million globally by better predicting demand and applying those predictions across large and complex supply chains. Intel are already putting social into practice making what they believe to be 20% better demand forecasting and achieving demand estimates within 2.7% of actual sales figures in 6 out of 8 forecasting exercises they performed.

A year ago you could have got away with it but not any more. If you still find yourself wanting to say “what would I do with twitter?” whenever social is brought up in conversation, do this at least – keep your mouth shut.

Pete Loughlin can be found on twitter @peteloughlin