Supply chain management isn’t a new topic. Unfortunately, when discussing supply chain management, the importance of speed to market isn’t always detailed. There are many reasons why it should be discussed, evaluated, and improved.
How Being Slow Hurts
You never want to give your competition an advantage, but a decreased or subpar speed to market does just that. It allows your competition to set the pace and establish market expectations. Obviously, they’re going to leverage this to their benefit as much as they possibly can. You can’t really blame them for that. It gives them a much-needed, and highly-valuable edge.
Unfortunately, a substandard product might be able to dominate the market simply because it arrived first. Even if you have the superior product, you may have difficulty making your presence known and winning over customers. Once you’re already in second place, it’s incredibly difficult to overcome that gap.
Followers don’t set trends. Innovators do. Becoming active in the marketplace later than your competitors is a good way to brand yourself as a follower, whether that was your intention or not. Setting a trend requires you to be visible and ahead of the pack, not lost in the shuffle.
The Advantages of Speed
Topics don’t resonate as clearly, passionately, or shine as brightly when hearing about them for the tenth time. Energy and excitement have their limits, and they are resources that can be all too easily exhausted. Make the most of them. Being the first to speak with your customers about a new product or service allows you to set the stage and get them excited. They’ll forever associate you with the idea, and this automatically labels your competitor as the runner-up.
Opportunity rarely knocks twice. Being first to market enables you to take any opportunity the moment that it first appears. Granted, this might be a hit-and-miss prospect, but it’s better to hit the ground running than to miss out on a great chance to pull even further ahead.
Keeping momentum going is always a challenge, but it’s easier to do when you’re the only one presenting relevant marketing materials. With excellent speed to market, you’re able to gather feedback, adapt, and push forward with minimal pressure from your competitors. Of course, this won’t last forever, so it’s important to make the most out of it while you can.
How to Go Faster
Shorten your supply chain. The fewer steps, the faster you can progress. This shouldn’t be surprising, but it’s easy to get caught up in old ways of thinking and become comfortable with established practices. Shortening your supply chain may require you to shake things up a bit, but you’ll be better for it.
Look into web-to-print solutions. It allows you to update and customize your marketing materials for worldwide distribution. It’s an easier, faster, and simpler way to redesign or tweak your materials, while granting you much quicker access to customers and markets across the globe.
Anticipate the needs of your teams and customers. This is easier said than done, but it’s utterly invaluable. By anticipating the needs of your teams, you can empower them and keep the moving forward. This helps to maximize their efficiency and productivity. When you anticipate the needs of your customers, you can deliver what they want before they even know that they want it.
Lastly, implementing Supply Chain Management Software will allow for internal teams to track processes in one central location, all while collaborating with suppliers to ensure deadlines are met and product timelines are fulfilled.
Speed to market isn’t an uncommon topic, but it’s an essential one. Speak with the experts at CBX Software to learn how modern solutions can help you get ahead of the competition.