Tell Me More…

October 9, 2019

Tell Me More…

Meeting the Supply Chain Transparency Demands of Today's Customers

By Joe Sheeran

Stationed at the end of the supply chain, the customer is often neglected when it comes to providing the product-level transparency that other stakeholders demand. Historically, supply chain practices were considered a closely-guarded secret, and this lack of insight was meant to protect companies from competitors adopting their methodologies. However, in today’s customer-centered reality—where conscientious customers expect more from the brands with which they interact—companies are increasingly focused on establishing transparency throughout the global supply chain that empowers consumers to understand the full product lifecycle.

Studies prove that customers want visibility into the supply chain and are willing to pay a premium for it. But what are customers looking to know? And how can brands develop this product-level insight? Let’s explore:

However, in today’s customer-centered reality companies are increasingly focused on

establishing transparency throughout the global supply chain

that empowers consumers to understand the full product lifecycle.

Product Integrity & Authenticity

Counterfeiting is an epidemic in many industries, from food and beverage to pharmaceutical to retail—made even more pervasive through online shopping. In the past, certain sellers were considered reliable sources for verified goods, but advancing counterfeiting techniques have allowed nefarious actors to infiltrate historically reliable e-commerce sites. Even Amazon, with 105 million Prime members as of June 2019, is home to countless counterfeits. In fact, one publisher selling books on Amazon, Antimicrobial Therapy, lost about 15 to 25 percent of sales to fraud in the recent counterfeit book epidemic.

As instances of counterfeiting continue to make headlines, consumers desire to verify the authenticity of the goods they have purchased more than ever before. Where brands were once the only stakeholders able to verify on-demand if goods were bona fide, advancing technology brings such insight to the consumer level by correlating a product’s genealogy to its physical label. With a simple scan, consumers can easily verify the authenticity of a good no matter how long it has been present in the supply chain or how many times it has been sold and resold. In the end, product-level verification improves consumer trust and builds loyalty to favorite brands.

Consumer Protection & Compliance

Following hand in hand with customer interest in product authenticity is their desire to confirm products uphold all relevant standards for safety and integrity set forth by regulatory bodies. As new product recalls are announced each day, consumers trust brands that not only claim to adhere to prescribed standards for safety and quality, but also go above and beyond to guarantee product integrity.

One of the clearest ways to prove product excellence to customers is by providing voluntary transparency into the supply chain—all the way down to the individual component. Such behavior increases customer confidence in authenticity and integrity, ultimately laying the foundation for lifelong loyalty. In fact, when brands establish a reputation for transparency, nearly 90% of customers report they are willing to give the company a second chance after a bad experience and 85% state they will remain loyal during a crisis because of historically transparent activity.

Supply Chain Practices & Social Responsibility

MIT ran a study that evaluated consumer interest in supply chain transparency. The results showed that, by and large, customers wanted insight into supply chain practices, particularly as they relate to social responsibility. While some customers preferred to understand how social efforts were executed and others wanted to know the outcomes these efforts achieved, one thing remained consistent: the majority of customers were willing to pay more for products provided by companies that give back to their community, employees, and the earth.

Informing customers of these efforts is heavily reliant on supply chain transparency, starting with the high security label adhered directly to the product. With a single scan of the label, customers gain access to a product’s digital genealogy, where they can verify social responsibility claims, including if an item is fair-trade, locally-produced, or philanthropic.

Supply Chain Transparency, From End to End

In today’s global market, customer-level supply chain transparency is critical to establishing trust for years to come. That’s why Ashton Potter prioritizes backward and forward traceability for every product through the combined power of our advanced ProLinc® product security and traceability technology and tamper-evident security labels—together providing customers with real-time and historical insight into product genealogy.

Ready to get started? Contact Ashton Potter to learn how we enable customer-level supply chain transparency to build lasting loyalty.

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