In-Depth Analysis of Supply Chain Management: The Pre-Trade Angle

It goes without saying that at the heart of innovation, everything starts with an idea. For any business ventures that brands decide to embark on, the initial idea has to evolve through various stages of conceptualization and innovation before the final product hits the market. While the entire lifecycle of a product being bought and sold digitally through online channels has been commonly accepted as “e-commerce”, it is important to break the process down into smaller segments.

This division of processes allows business visionaries to not only break down business goals, but to track the progress of their goals and strengthen their commitment to them. Pre-commerce is the first stage of the lifecycle and encompasses all stages of development, from ideation to product. Think about product sourcing, design, development and manufacturing. This is where your idea begins to come to life and your vision begins to turn into reality.

Evolution of design strategy as markets change

The first step in product development is a combination of market research and product ideation. In today’s ever-changing business environment, it’s hard to imagine a product that doesn’t already exist. With thousands of products released to market each year, consumers are more attracted and attracted to fresh and operationally different products. While it can be creatively rewarding to create a never-before-seen product, it can also be effective to build on existing products and amplify their value.

Recent B2B and consumer market research conducted by Royalty Research Center, a consulting and research firm, showed that as browser cookies start to disappear, marketers are starting to give more and more prioritize market research to reach their target audiences through other means and determine contextual segments. . For example, in order to understand the nature of the new marketing ecosystem, companies are turning to AI-based solutions, primary and first-party data collection to conceptualize how the market will view their product. Either way, product creation inherently requires extensive research into the current product market, initial investigation of industry and market trends, coupled with a lot of patience and resilience.

Pre-commerce largely depends on product design, which is the ability to identify a market opportunity, seize it strategically to plan a targeted end-to-end product development process. When it comes to creating a great product that scales, especially in the B2B business model, it’s important to put product design at the forefront of innovation while simultaneously putting user needs at the forefront of design.

This means that product design, whether system, process or interface design, must have the ability to keep up with both product evolution and business growth, while constantly adapting to user behavior. In a sense, it helps to think of a product as a living being that must maintain a competitive edge in the face of threats and evolve as circumstances change. Similarly, product design aims to align long-term business goals with user experience to optimize production and improve market position against competitors.

The emergence of smart and digitized supply chains

Exceeding traditional production standards and setting new standards in the current state of digital supply chain transformation is an essential part of the pre-commerce angle. Over the past two decades, ineffective supply chain management tools have negatively impacted companies’ ability to retain consumers and generate revenue growth. Supply chains of the past have been fragmented at best, primarily due to the nature of those who set them up.

Brands rely heavily on their factory partners to make the best judgment on their behalf, which creates disparate workflows and chains within a single brand. The evolution of supply chain management has been primarily attributed to the rise of the e-commerce industry, which has made supply chains increasingly complex to meet consumer demands.

The modernized supply chain model focuses primarily on harmonization and communication between suppliers and brands through advanced technologies such as automation and AI. Today’s supply management toolkit serves to support data analysis and trend forecasting to deliver long-term value to all parties involved. Technology integration in supply chain management allows companies and suppliers to easily navigate their assets, data and processes on the centralized integration platform. So, by having cloud-based supply chain software that helps streamline design and development needs, companies can accelerate the speed at which products get to market. Data can help us build better, more circular projects by mapping component supply chains earlier in the journey, gaining better control and visibility into edge supply configurations.

While pre-trade sourcing itself is not a new concept, the crisis of recent years has revealed an immediate need to diversify sourcing. By definition, procurement is the set of business processes by which companies deliver and acquire goods outside the organization. This becomes more difficult when sourcing occurs on the global market; when the importation of products needs to be facilitated between foreign manufacturers and the country of origin.

Coordinating various sourcing activities between suppliers who may be located in geographically diverse regions and brands, and the potential relocation of a finished goods plant to a new geographic region requires reprogramming of the entire chain supply. On top of all the pre-trade processes, this can cause businesses to sweat. Coordinating complex supply chain functions and sourcing from global vendors requires an intelligent platform that centralizes all product information into a single piece of data to enable a strong partnership between all parties involved. Diversified sourcing and digitized supply chains are viable strategies to mitigate risk and speed time to market.

Stay agile in the face of competition

Understanding the complex intricacies of the pre-commerce stage and what happens behind the scenes before a product hits the market is undoubtedly a strategic differentiator in today’s rapidly changing technology industry. today. It can become very clear very quickly how disruptive inefficient supply chain models can be to both business performance and customer satisfaction. The growing problem is therefore the need for companies to reassess their supply chain and modify it to meet business objectives.

While all companies can redesign their supply chains to gain competitive advantage, only those who can crack the code of coordination and information sharing will see their business agility improved. There’s a common thread between changing customer expectations and the brands you partner with: both require visibility, access to high-quality service, and real-time status updates. Using spreadsheets and emails to manage production functions is no longer enough, so data-driven supply chain management to optimize critical aspects of operations has become more emerging.

Planning ahead doesn’t always mean blindly committing ahead or compromising on flexibility to speed time to market. Rather, gaining the upper hand in the pre-commerce phase begins with the ability to effectively share and track ideation and assess the economic viability of commercialization, starting at the component level of a product.

Kathleen Chan is the founder and CEO of Calico.

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