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Three Ways Your Supply Chain Can Survive in the Post-COVID Landscape
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Three Ways Your Supply Chain Can Survive in the Post-COVID Landscape

By Tim Weinheimer

The shift to remote work has irreversibly altered supply chain operations. While the digital work environment has inherent benefits for businesses, cohesive communication with vendors and teams across the supply chain poses challenges.

Your company can address communication issues and gather invaluable data by tapping into nearly endless content about employee preferences posted online by supply chain workers. Building channels that speak to these preferences and connecting with employees when and where they tend to spend time on social media can improve brand advocacy, engagement, message delivery, and productivity among your workforce. Start the shift to a new approach with these three key strategies for breaking down communication barriers within your supply chain.

Create brand affinity with data

You can leverage the information you gather about your workforce by listening to what they say about challenges and communication preferences. For example, millions of truckers have built a vibrant grassroots community on YouTube where they publicly share stories about their work, their employers, their experiences with specific brands, and what it’s really like on the road.

Viewing these videos and otherwise opening your ears to the sounds of the supply chain gives you an unprecedented opportunity to understand the needs, wants, and pain points of your workforce and external vendors. You can even reach out to your brand advocates through their social media channels to connect about what your company can do better in the realm of operational support.

This type of qualitative data also provides new insight into the diversity of your workforce. You will be able to adjust an ineffective one-size-fits-all approach to supply chain communication to account for worker preferences. The result? Improved message reception and comprehension, as well as a more organic feeling of connection with your brand.

Optimize the digital workplace experience

In the past five years, and particularly in the period since March 2020 and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, rapid tech transformation has accelerated the shift to a digital work environment. As discussed above, worker preferences play an important role in your company’s communication strategies. Your team members likely double as digital natives and expect an ideal virtual experience at work through a best-in-class, mobile-friendly user platform.

Consider looking to your employees’ favorite social media apps and most-used platforms for inspiration. What elements draw them to these sites? How do they interact with these apps? How can these tools help your workers improve efficiency and productivity. Collecting data about these factors can inform the implementation of a new digital workspace or help you improve your existing platform.

In addition to engaging, easy-to-navigate user experiences, a state-of-the-art digital workspace helps your company keep everyone in the loop, from your entire external supply chain to internal full-time and shift workers to key executives and supporting staff. Time-sensitive notifications and employee announcements that reach all workers, not just those sitting behind a monitor, provide an immediate yet streamlined way to connect with your team. A cohesive online system also facilitates onboarding initiatives and fosters a positive company culture.

Prioritize personalization

The digital shift requires a change in the way we view our company and its culture. Your business isn’t your work setting or your brand strategy; it’s your employees themselves. To that end, you need a platform that prioritizes tools that help workers stay connected. Nike illustrated a prime example of this strategy through its partnership with Digital Signal. Employees of the athletic company who connected with Nike on social media got the first glimpse at a new sneaker drop and the exclusive opportunity to share the news on their own social media.

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Effective two-way communication with your internal and external supply chain will also create the strong relationship necessary to support a pivot in operations. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports on the example of Clyde Common, a 100-seat restaurant in Portland, Oregon. The mainstay retained and re-engaged its workforce and its clientele by shifting to a new model in which half the dining room serves as a takeout market with premade foods, and the other half features outdoor seating and a full bar. While a change like this requires a heavy lift on all fronts, data analysis can inform best practices for success.

With these three best practices, you can improve the ability to connect effectively with your internal and external supply chain teams.

At Hahn, our mission is to deliver predictive marketing communications strategies in the food & beverage, and energy categories. Deploying these data intelligence insights is how we’re helping supply chain brands improve brand affinity.

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