Improving the supply chain experience

CLIENT: Four Candles!
SHOPKEEPER: Four Candles?
CLIENT: Four Candles.
(The shopkeeper makes for a box, and gets out four candles. He places them on the counter)
CLIENT: No, four candles!
SHOPKEEPER (confused): Well there you are, four candles!
CLIENT: No, fork ‘andles! ‘Andles for forks!
(Ronnie Corbett puts the candles away, and goes to get a fork handle. He places it onto the counter)
SHOPKEEPER (muttering): Fork handles. Thought you said ‘four candles!’…

Some may remember the English Comedians the 2 Ronnies during the 1970s. A comedy duo who became a BBC house name, these two comedians became the sweethearts of British comedy for over 30 years. If you do remember these two extraordinarily funny men then the mention of 4 candles will be familiar. The first few lines of this sketch are cited above with the client entering a shop with a huge list of items to buy the first being Fork handles. The trouble is that the shop keeper at first does not understand his client’s needs and therefore at each request he supplies him with the wrong product.

The sketch is most certainly funny because it is so real. How many times do we experience misunderstandings in our customer experience which have led to our dissatisfaction? Even in this digitalised, globalised environment that we now live in, miscommunication goes across the board. In all business experiences, there is room for it or indeed complete misunderstanding. The result of this is often a slowdown in the execution of a customer’s request. This is especially so for those companies who rely on third parties to complete a task or product. In the 1990s outsourcing was the buzz word especially in the manufacturing industry: a profit based push which has proved for some companies their last death wish.

This approach has been especially rife in supply chain management and in choosing this solution, companies have been often faced with the undesired and somewhat unexpected result of reduced margins linked with costly supplier mistakes or indeed unadvised supplier preferences.

The glitch of the third party is perhaps partly what inspired the birth of the crypto world. Certainly Nick Szabo and the enigmatic Nakamoto Satoshi‘s genius has been a turning point similar to the birth of the internet and search engines such as Google. With their solution there is indeed hope that “untrusted” third party may overtime become a thing of the past because this technology leaves no room for interference or inaccuracy. It is because of this that Blockchain technology is something which has a huge potential to revolutionize the supply chain preventing those digitalised “four candles” scenarios which we are only too familiar with today.

A good, well thought out example of the wonders of blockchain technology can offer us is Productivist. On visiting their website it is certainly interesting to read their case study. The study gives an example of how, by using their solution engineered by blockchain technology, the supply chain can be made fast, efficient and cost effective. If we take their case study of a customer wishing to purchase a near-obsolete car part, we can count the numerous hands the order passes through when using traditional supply chain methods in order to complete the client’s simple request. In this case study the order passes through as many as five hands before the client is able to walk away with his car repaired. However, in reality this could be much more than five hands, depending on the level of difficulty the garage has in meeting his client’s needs. Certainly, therefore there is the potential for a lot of misunderstanding, delays and stagnation.

Productivist offers supply chain management which will not only search for the right local supplier, at the right price matching the timescale according to the Client’s needs but also has a means of tracking the process, monitoring it by means of an App. There are no barriers such as supplier opening hours, the process is bespoke, fine-tuned to the client and the result is efficient. The garage therefore receives out-of-stock parts very quickly and the client’s car is mended without a heavy carbon footprint. Perhaps one of its great advantages is that the whole supply chain is managed locally and does not require to be centralized by the car company.

This case study is a mere example of the vast possibilities Productivist could offer to the manufacturing industry. It is indeed a business model adaptable across the industry to meet supply chain needs. It is just because of this that Productivist is an ingenious solution which stands out from the many ICOs which are currently on the market. It has the potential to offer the manufacturing industry with an adaptable solution and eliminate that all too annoying “four candles” experience.