A Truly Social Supply Chain

Martijn Graat
Martijn Graat

Social Supply Chain. If you follow the news on the web on Supply Chain (for example, by following @LogisticsMatter 😉 ), there is no way this term is new to you. It’s a relatively new term, and there is no single meaning.

Social Supply Chain is often referred to as when parties in a Supply Chain use Social Media tools to communicate or gather and exchange information. They may use internal or external social networks or social features added to ERP systems and other supply chain software. The very nature of social networks makes them very suitable for exchanging information, collaborating, and sharing.

Who Can Help Me?

There is another possible interpretation of the term Social Supply Chain. That is a Supply Chain in which parties connect and help each other out, without there being contractual obligations to do so. Parties participating in Social Supply Chains may have different reasons to do so. They may do it out of a desire to do something good and help someone, or they may participate in saving cost. Anyhow, a few weeks ago, I had the chance to meet the founder of just such a supply chain.

David Vuylsteke is the Founder of PiggyBee.com. The idea behind PiggyBee is based on a crowdsourced, sharing and collaborative approach which is also the basis for concepts like Couchsurfing, for a place to stay or sleep, or Peerby for sharing or borrowing items like certain tools or a compressor.

And How Can I Help You?

The concept is simple: Let’s say I want to send a pack of Stroopwafels (a Dutch delicatessen) from Rotterdam, where I live, to a friend of mine that lives in Chicago. Instead of sending it via mail or parcel services, which can get expensive, I can send it using PiggyBee. I go to PiggyBee.com and post a message that I’m looking for somebody travelling from the Netherlands to Chicago and that I would like them to deliver my Stroopwafels. And now come the best part: I can help the person that helps me! As compensation, I can offer something like a drive to the airport, or maybe my friend in Chicago can pick the traveller up at the airport and give him a ride or a free tour of the city. Everybody is happy 🙂

PiggyBee combines the collaborative social concept of helping each other out with the crowdsourced logistics approach of using excess capacity in the marketplace to transport goods from A to B. It’s all about people helping people. A truly Social Supply Chain. Brilliant!

Have you heard of any other examples of social supply chains?

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