The Importance and Use of Social Media in Business and Supply Chain Management

Open Access
Author:
Licht, Lauren Ashley
Area of Honors:
Supply Chain and Information Systems
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Robert Alexander Novack, Thesis Supervisor
  • John C Spychalski, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Social Media
  • Supply Chain Visibility
  • Collaboration
  • Technology
Abstract:
The amplified needs of consumers, pressures from suppliers, ever-increasing competition, and escalating complexity of supply chains, leaves companies searching for a cost-effective solution to facilitate their continuous improvement efforts. Visibility, a known issue for supply chain professionals, if improved, can enhance supply chains immensely: improving forecasts, decreasing inventory levels, mitigating and minimizing risks, and overall improving day-to-day operations. In addition to increased visibility into the entire supply chain, with greater communication both internally across functions and externally with suppliers and consumers, a company’s supply chain will certainly become more collaborative and much more profitable. The answer to finding a cost-effective solution to drive supply chain efficiencies may lie in the Internet’s newest form of technology still currently on the rise. This technology is called social media and its use in the area of supply chain management is the topic of this thesis. Generally speaking, social media is any form of electronic communication that creates a forum for open dialogue amongst users. Companies today typically leverage social media for marketing and promotions and/or for recruiting and networking. In relation to supply chain management, this Internet-based phenomenon has the potential to enhance value through engaging in internal and external communication, identifying and monitoring risk, managing transportation, and improving overall visibility and efficiency. In its many forms, social media can be used through Twitter to relay instant messages and updates, or even in conjunction with RFID to monitor and track products through the supply chain. By learning from other internal departments currently benefiting from social media, supply chain professionals can leverage its uses and enhance the company’s supply chain management.