Given all of this talk about how to Uberize, it shouldn't be a surprise that the effect is making its way to the supply chain. SCM World's recent Future of the Supply Chain survey polled 1,415 people for information on the future of the industry.
One of the trends it noticed was indeed "Uberizing," which could bring sharing to the traditional environment of logistics. According to the survey results, as published in Forbes, 11 percent more professionals believe that this is "disruptive and important to the supply chain" in 2016 than in 2015. But what would the rise of a "sharing" system really look like for participating companies?
Dynamic warehousing and shipping
Just like rideshares allow buyers to tailor their service to fit their needs, shared supply chain elements could lead to a more customized experience. A Supply Chain Management Review piece recently highlighted the importance of using just what warehouse space is necessary for their operations. This kind of approach to locating and using space could, in turn, lead to cost savings for the company, which no longer has to contend with wholesale agreements they don't need.
There's also the potential for disruption of freight transportation. Forbes discussed this use, looking at Uber's own forays into the delivery sector. However, in some cases, freight simply doesn't seem to translate to shared services, at least not at the moment. Companies will need to recognize the inherent differences between industries, such as whether or not food or other products are really appropriate for flexible shipping.
"The supply chain applications of the sharing model will need to evolve just as Uber will."
While this may be a hot topic in business for now, the supply chain applications of the sharing model will need to evolve just as Uber will. TechCrunch gave some examples of this, highlighting some of the "essential learning" that can come from what Uber has done well. The source meant this not as a guide for supply chains specifically, but more as a key to how Uberization could play out.
For example, it suggested that predictive analytics could help drive customer fulfillment, just as Uber has tried to use performance metrics to improve its own response time. The needs of the system also dictates special policies to ensure the rides happen correctly, the source said, which could also require a simplified structure that meets cost requirements.
The promise of global sourcing may help companies reach something similar to this model. Just as Uberization focuses on the smart use of resources, companies can turn to management practices for reduced costs and augmented business developments.
With continuous monitoring, businesses can also use this model to review their own systems and constantly adapt as needed. We may not find ourselves in a completely "Uberized" world, but understanding why the model is so popular could help businesses adapt.