The transparent company – Supply Chain Transparency

Big data from purchase transactions and customer data analyses have long been an advantage for (online) retailers in recommending the right product, filling the shopping basket with complementary products and reminding customers that they should soon buy something again. The customer suddenly became transparent and predictable from a mystery that was difficult to grasp.

Now this claim is reversed: today’s customer wants to know the origin of the product. How was it transported, how sustainable was it produced, etc.? Questions that the customer did not ask himself in the past, because supply chains were very local and mass production was not yet fully developed. The customer’s awareness of sustainable and transparent value creation is acutely evident in the food environment.

The customer wants to buy consciously

Not only the proof of a „BIO“ certificate for the proof of the production seems to become more and more important for the consumer, but also the proof of the value chain behind it. The QR code on the milk package, which is based on a database, tells which dairy farmer the contents of this package come from, how beautiful the meadows are where the cows have run out, how much CO² was produced during the production of one liter of milk, where the milk was bottled, who produced the package and whether it is harmful to the environment or how it can be fed back into the recycling cycle. The customer wants to make a conscious purchase.

The challenge of information procurement

Compiling the necessary information to answer all the customer’s questions as automatically as possible is a challenge for many companies. Not only because the data is difficult to obtain, technical prerequisites have yet to be created, but also because in many cases organizational thinking still takes precedence over process thinking. This means different responsibilities, objectives or even conflicts of objectives – often known as silo thinking.

A transparent supply chain is a great opportunity to accompany the customer even further on his customer journey, to make the customer aware of positive aspects. Positive examples are a shoe production in Europe, where the anonymous pair of shoes gets a qualitative upgrade, because the shoemaker is identified as the person who produced the shoe. Or a large group in the consumer goods industry from Düsseldorf, which partly uses the packaging of its products made of 100% old plastic and up to 50% social plastic and thus produces a closed cycle that has so far only been known from glass.

As ADCONIA we can help you in a first step to audit the current supply chain processes and to define necessary optimization steps. Together we can also find the starting points for the optimal representation of a transparent supply chain, which are important to your customer.


Rainer den Ouden

Partner, ADCONIA GmbH (Oberhausen, Germany)