What does agility mean for high-tech e-commerce?

Today more than ever, high-tech supply chains are subject to increasing influences: political and economic uncertainties, changing markets, regulatory complexity, natural disasters, increasing competition — not to mention the often short product life cycles inherent in the sector.

Customer expectations are rising, too. They want flexible delivery choices, more control and more convenience. And 43% report that customer satisfaction hinges on timely delivery. (Source: UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper 2015)

For the high-tech industry, flexibility and the ability to adapt are absolutely vital. It’s not enough for products to be innovative; companies need to be innovative, too.

This requires an agile supply chain that’s ready to make the most of opportunities and efficiencies.

How your business can benefit from agile e-commerce

For those companies who get it right, the rewards are greater than ever. An expanding middle class with an appetite for high-tech products means that markets are growing around the world. High-tech companies are seeking to take advantage of this by employing agile strategies, including flexibility in shoring decisions, with 38% of European high-tech companies surveyed intending to add manufacturing closer to demand. (Source: UPS 5th Annual Change in the (Supply) Chain Survey)

A look at the figures involved confirms why high-tech companies are keen to adopt new solutions. At over £12 billion, electrical and electronic goods took in the biggest share of online sales in 2015, outstripping fashion. (Source: Mintel, 2015)

It’s clear that opportunities exist for high-tech exporters, but increasing competition can erode profit margins. It’s important that companies look for efficiencies wherever they can be found.

For GN Netcom, a leading manufacturer of headsets and speakerphones, we developed flexible warehousing and transport solutions that doubled supply chain productivity.  At the same time, we consolidated their shipping and freight operations onto a single technology platform, with the resulting visibility allowing them to control costs right across the supply chain.

For additive manufacturing (3-D Printing) company Materialise, integrating our software with theirs gave them the control they needed to make the entire order-manufacture-fulfillment process more efficient.

These two companies’ needs were very different, of course, and no two companies are likely to face exactly the same challenges. By working together, we will be able to find the right fit for your company and your supply chain.

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How to build agility into your e-commerce strategy

In order to fully understand your specific ecommerce needs and how best to integrate with existing systems, you will need to discuss your particular challenges and objectives with your supply chain partner. Close collaboration will enable you to define solutions and agree implementation procedures.  Once these are in place, future reviews to measure the strategy’s success are vital to discuss any market changes, and adapt accordingly.

The result should be a seamless, integrated network that provides visibility across the entire supply chain and translates into better production forecasting, more accurate inventory management, improved cash flow and improved speed to market – which is crucial in today’s fiercely competitive high-tech sector.

UPS solutions to help ensure high-tech agility

We offer a variety of useful solutions that can be combined to offer all the e-commerce agility you need.

Our solutions to make you more agile include:

A global integrated transport network:

  • UPS Standard® and Express® Whether you want fast or faster we have a suite of services to ensure your package arrives on a specific date or time.
  • UPS Access PointTM Locations A network of over 24,000 drop-off and collection point locations worldwide to facilitate exceptional returns.
  • UPS Returns Can give your after-sales offering flexible options to impress your customers and win their repeat business
  • UPS Capital Maximise cash flow and minimise risks when sending high-value items with our unmatched finance and payment solutions.

Visibility and control technology

  • UPS My Choice Alerts customers to incoming shipments and gives them control to reschedule the delivery time and location.
  • UPS Quantum View Allows you to manage outbound and inbound shipments with delivery notifications.

After-sales is vital to building relationships and growing a retail business. See how to develop a successful strategy.

Carrie Royle

Carrie Royle

Industry Marketing Manager, UPS

I am responsible for ensuring we offer our customers solutions that really make a difference for their business today and into the future. I'm passionate about staying on the pulse of global trade and the evolving opportunities for businesses of all sizes and sectors. Carrie Royle LinkedIn Profile

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