Fixing the broken links: rebuilding consumer trust in the supply chain

Author: Antonia Simon, Gianluca Morsia, Federica Bagini

It’s no exaggeration to say our world has been well and truly rocked over the last couple of years by worrying and extreme climate, health, humanitarian and geopolitical events. Disruption and uncertainty have taken their toll in every way.

The economy and industries around the world have been challenged like never before – the consumer industry and global supply chain systems in particular. Inherent problems in the complexity, fragility and, frankly, the mystery of the many links in these chains have been fully exposed, causing catastrophic shortages of essential goods. A lack of digital collaboration and transparency has led to insufficient data across their network, inaccurate forecasting, extended lead times and the dreaded bullwhip effect.

It’s no surprise then, that recent Epam research into consumer attitudes and actions showed that not only do consumers need to have confidence in a brand, they need to trust every part of the product’s supply chain. From its sustainability and ethics, to its reliability.

Fed up of empty promises and green-washing, consumers are no longer fooled by upbeat marketing fluff. Brands need to earn their trust through evidence. Trust and transparency are fast becoming another yardstick for consumers to measure brands by, snapping at the heels of convenience.

So what needs to happen? To move toward long-term security, sustainability, inclusivity and resilience, supply chains need to become digitally enabled networks defined by trust. Trust that’s established with every player across the supply chain and trust in the data they produce.

But this is by no means simple and there are a number of ways to do it – and you can read more on this in Epam’s blog Networks of Trust: The Quest for Transparency and Traceability in an Era of Consumer Mistrust. But, however they get there, it will be the ones that create that network of trust that will be the ones to watch. Trust is the common denominator and, without it, the chain ultimately breaks.

Better communication, data accessibility and transparency across the supply chain, made possible through technology, will become the expectation for consumers and regulators alike.

For the full article, visit Networks of Trust: The Quest for Transparency and Traceability in an Era of Consumer Mistrust.

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