For decades marketers have worked to devise eye-catching packaging. The bolder, the brighter and especially, the bigger the package, the better. So why are supply chain leaders choosing to move away from a materialized world to a "dematerialized" supply chain that downplays—or even eliminates—physical product and presence? Were the marketers wrong?
Probably not. But retailing today is about much more than emblazoning an attention-getting slogan on a package. There are also points to be earned by making operations cheaper and easier. Dematerialization of the supply chain—basically, reducing components and materials —does just that by providing flexibility, mitigating execution risk and reducing total supply chain costs. In industries ranging from chemicals to consumer products, from food products to electronics, logistics leaders are pushing their companies to remove mass from their products using techniques like the ones outlined below.
Are we moving away from a materialized world to a "dematerialized" supply chain? We believe that over the next decade more companies will realize that less is often more. Fewer components, fewer SKUs, less packaging, less weight to ship—all of these will translate into lower costs and better margins. Savvy leaders will actively pursue ways to leverage the concept of dematerialization and enjoy the benefits of living in a (de)material world.