What are Christmas trees worth in January? Certainly not as much as they’re worth in November and December.
But global supply chain snarls are reaching all the way to what seems like it should be a very simple local market. Christmas tree suppliers are boosting pre-holiday prices by as much as 25 percent, with particularly merry conifers fetching more than $1,000.
“As the global economic recovery continues to gather steam, what is increasingly apparent is how it will be stymied by supply-chain disruptions that are now showing up at every corner,” Moody’s Analytics concluded.
This new stage of the rolling crisis that started with the coronavirus pandemic early last year demonstrates how it’s no longer enough for businesses to simply pivot to online sales if they want to thrive in the new normal. CEOs must consider how to prepare for future supply chain challenges that reflect fast-changing, unpredictable market shifts.
That’s why executives are gravitating to the emerging “headless e-commerce” approach to ERP, CRM, marketplaces, sales order management and other platforms that provide omnichannel business solutions that adjust in real-time to shocks.
Universal Traits, Headless Solutions
Some universal truths apply to all supply chains, whether you are selling hot dogs or 747s. Suppliers and manufacturers must coordinate. Operations should be tracked to ensure consistency in output. Purchasing must ensure that materials don’t run out and surplus doesn’t build up. Distribution should run smoothly.
These truths persist though the supply chain has been turned inside out.
Logistics professionals have been left to make decisions on the fly. Disruptions have led to a record number of canceled contracts. Procurement teams have had to scramble to find new suppliers, often resorting to spot bidding, which entails cold-calling suppliers, collecting information and making ad hoc buying decisions.
Businesses are responding. An Accenture survey of logistics and supply chain professionals found only 4 percent of supply chains are “future ready.” But those equipped with advanced data analytics solutions were twice as efficient and three times more profitable than their more traditional peers. Accordingly, 63 percent of COOs surveyed by PwC said they would be focusing on supply chain agility in the next few years.
The need for ERP is greater than ever before. At today’s pace of change, however, leaving these functions open to manual scale processes doesn’t make sense. Companies can lose track of accounts payable, supply orders and consumer trends using spreadsheets and rigid e-commerce platforms that don’t adapt to market shifts.
At the same time, 65 percent of industrial buyers prefer to do their research online and 86 percent would rather do their reordering without talking to a sales rep, according to a PwC report. This means less time wasted kicking tires, but it also means creating a more robust online experience.
That’s why more of the market is transitioning to advanced digital solutions and data coordination through headless e-commerce to cut down on costs and input errors and increase efficiency.
A Single Source of Truth
Headless e-commerce promotes data coordination from multiple sources, flexibly integrated and customized via prebuilt APIs to allow companies to tap into a single source of actionable information. Importantly, these unified platforms are extensible and flexible. They are not built from the ground up for a single purpose that might become outdated tomorrow. They can evolve as businesses place different “heads” on the platforms depending on their needs.
This headless approach aligns sales channels and speeds up data exchanges, reducing the amount of time wasted on duplicative and low-priority tasks and, most importantly, boosting time to revenue – the most vital KPI that B2B business in particular must track closely. Better performance means happier customers, more return and, eventually, more loyal customers – a competitive edge, in other words.
Lastly, headless e-commerce entails , or should entail a low-code framework. It’s fast, flexible software that builds on extendable framework that utilizes less code. Traditionally, advanced digital solutions require teams of data scientists that can tailor algorithms to a company’s unique needs in costly and time-consuming projects.
Executives who have recently invested in e-commerce or those with legacy systems worried about investing a fortune in new systems and migrating data shouldn’t need to worry that new disruptions will leave their businesses in the dust. Cloud-based microservices can be integrated, or decoupled, in headless e-commerce platforms as needed to perform multiple tasks regardless of the business. That’s omnichannel capability.
No matter what a company sells nowadays – tinsel, mistletoe or the Elf on a Shelf – it’s going through supply chain hurdles. Headless e-commerce helps jump over them.