The idea of a supply chain tends to trigger in peoples’ imagination a linear series of events and relationships initiated to manufacture, produce and deliver a product. In this model, once that order is placed you are out of view until the product is shipped, and success is measured by the speed and efficiency of when your retailer or dealer receives the order.
But… what if you, the customer, is at the center of the entire orchestrated effort? What if the supply chain, from every corner and process, is organized around your experience? What if the view that a delivered order is not considered to be successful upon delivery unless your order is accurate, on time and is received with a delightful experience?
Hala Zeine is the President of Digital Supply Chain and Manufacturing and is responsible for running a global Line of Business (LoB), comprising of development and go-to-market for SAP. This team provides innovative Digital Supply Chain and Manufacturing solutions, including co-innovation, product design and go-to-market for all products within the LoB including manufacturing, logistics, start-up programs and an eco-system of partners.
Hala has extensive expertise of IT industry, technology and the supply chain business and is passionate about making a real difference in solving customer’s business problems and helping them to implement digital solutions that enhance and support their mission critical business processes.
Hala serves as a member of the leadership teams of SAP’s executive board areas for Product & Innovation, Cloud Business and Global Customer Operations. She has a BASc in Marketing and is currently based in Walldorf Germany.
Welcome to the Customer Centric Supply Chain
Customers like you are no longer satisfied by watching their order tracked through the picking and shipping processes. Increasingly you want assurances your order isn’t tainted by child labor, that it’s utilizing sustainable processes and resources – and this comes with improved visibility. But visibility isn’t just important for you – improved visibility and genealogy has an impact on members participants throughout the supply chain, improving collaboration as they work collectively and execute flawlessly towards the customers’ delighting you.
Visibility enables new business models. If you’ve used Uber, you’ve experienced this, watching the app as your car navigates towards you and the traffic seemingly bends around your driver throughout the approach. You have a better idea of when to step out in the elements – rain, sun or possibly snow – and your driver meanwhile has a view of where to find you. Visibility informs your experience in this supply chain.
New Tools, New Tools
When you look at these new business models, millennials require the highest levels of digital support and new tools. Clearly you need to bring new processes to exploit digital capabilities you must rewrite the rules. If you don’t, you’re trying to retrofit what worked in the past into new mechanisms.
Need an example? I have a dentist who has the most up-to-date technology in her office. When I have my teeth cleaned, she has equipment to tell me the health of my gums with exact measurements, with clear suggestions on where I could spend more time. Yet this dentist does not offer the ability to schedule appointments online. Instead, I have to call for every appointment. Since I travel a lot, it would be so much better if I could at any hour make or change an appointment online.
New Rules, New Views
This is the business landscape. What about the social landscape? What are the opportunities for women to influence things in the supply chain? I believe that whenever it’s a time of flux, there’s an opportunity for new approaches. Digital is overtaking analog, and there’s a clear opportunity for women to take leadership into shifting our supply chain rules.
There’s never been a more perfect time for women to become influencers in the supply chain than at present. Putting the customer at the center; re-imagining the interaction, the way we engage with business and customers, whether on an individual or wide-scale view – these are opportunities to rethink, to dream bigger and wider than before. As we see manufacturing shift from a broad-spectrum perspective to that on the individual, women can affect every element – and not only can they, they must.
We’ve seen in recent years how social movements can impact the world. Global concern about the proliferation of single use plastic; social pressure for sustainable energy sources; desire for fair trade, for equitable income distribution, for low-environmental impact behavior – these are all areas that women have an opportunity to take leadership in, as well as traditional business roles, to further the dialogue and explore further.
I challenge anyone as much as I challenge my children, to create your opportunities as often as you seize those that present themselves. When I look into the area of supply chain, I can’t see many opportunities more fertile to do just that. Join me with this view – let’s reimagine the world and make it not just efficient, but a better place.
SAP is the world’s largest business software company. We serve some of the most amazing customers – and we always have exciting projects on the go. Our mission is to Run Simple, and we’re big on using our technological and business know-how to make the world a better place. Our people are innovators, leaders, and all around great human beings. They come from many different countries, speak many different languages – and bring their own unique experiences to the table. At SAP, you’ll flourish in an environment that encourages free expression, collaboration, individuality, and diversity. Gender equality is an important part of our mission – and we’re committed to having at least 28% women in leadership by 2020 and 30 percent in 2022.