Agile Supply Chain Management, DTC China Fulfillment, and Their Growing Impact on Modern Ecommerce Growth

Supply chain management

In today’s fast-paced world of ecommerce, agility and flexibility are key to staying ahead of the competition—and one concept that has revolutionized supply chain management is agile supply chain management and its derivative…

Direct to Consumer (DTC) China fulfillment. 

Agile supply chain management, at its core, is all about efficiency and flexibility by making processes as efficient as possible while adapting to changing demands. 

Traditionally, supply chain management followed a push model, where production plans were made in advance and products were produced in the hope that they would be sold or consumed. Agile supply chain management and DTC China fulfillment, on the other hand, follow a pull model that looks at the demand from the end customer or the next step in the chain and adjusts production accordingly. 

This approach allows for greater agility, faster time to market, and reduced inventory risk.

For ecommerce businesses looking to get ahead and evolve to rising needs across all markets, doubling down on agile supply chain management and DTC China fulfillment is inevitable when success is the goal. And this key lesson becomes even more apparent when the rising number of ecommerce giants evolving further using these principles presents itself.

But what should any decision-maker or ecommerce entrepreneur looking to follow suit know before transitioning to agile supply chain management and DTC China fulfillment?

In the inaugural episode of the EcommOps podcast, “DTC Brands Are Adopting DTC China Fulfillment Because of One Thing: Agility”, hosts Dayu Yang and Simon de Raadt fill you in on all the crucial details you need. This insightful conversation covers a wide range of topics, spanning from the differentiation achieved through agile supply chain management to an in-depth case study on global fashion giant Shein’s success with DTC China fulfillment.

If you’re looking to adapt and take your ecommerce business to the next level of future-forward operations, then this podcast episode is a must-listen. Keep reading for a summary of our favorite takeaways from Dayu and Simon’s engaging conversation in Episode 1 of The EcommOps Podcast.

Our Favorite Takeaways

agile supply chain

1. Successfully transitioning to agile supply chain management begins with one thing: building strong relationships with manufacturers.

And to best do this, you’ll need to establish open and creative communication channels with your manufacturers and collaborate with them to optimize production processes and reduce lead times—as Dayu says:

What we actually see to be a really nice balance is taking advantage of all the flexibility of shipping directly from China, but also having a certain level of control, at least mindfulness, of your production process. And actually, one of the biggest reasons why, Simon, you have all these factories that Shein doesn’t own, but are cooperative with this process because they have very strong relationships. Right. And this actually brings back to a point where you can talk to your factory, you should talk to your factory actually. You should actually build a relationship with your factory even if you don’t control their process. And you should have open and creative conversations around how you can actually get additional agility and flexibility even in your production runs.

Once you start building strong relationships with manufacturers, you’ll be able to carry out significant improvements to the logistics and supply-related aspects of your operations at a much faster rate.

2. With the global ecommerce industry evolving, it’s more apparent than ever that leveraging direct-from-China fulfillment is one of the keys to success.

So, if you want to maximize the impact of DTC on your operations, consider shipping products directly from China to your customers. 

Here’s what Simon had to say about it:

The three main reasons why people are actually using fulfillment from China is like you said, one is the backup option that you don’t sell out. The second one is to scale geographically to actually target more countries than where you might have the stock lying around. The third one is just to test new products without committing to huge stock. You can just try new products and that goes for Amazon as well. Amazon sometimes has limited space, so you just say, let’s do my fast movers. Actually, you could sell the other stuff as well, using, for example, China as an FBM option.

With DTC China fulfillment, you can significantly reduce lead times and improve customer satisfaction—but, remember to work with logistics providers who specialize in direct parcel fulfillment to ensure efficient and reliable delivery.

Data driven insight

3. Embracing data-driven insights is a practice that sets the difference between growth and stagnation for any ecommerce business in today’s ever-evolving landscape.

And the best way to do this is by monitoring customer preferences and using data to inform your production and fulfillment processes—as Dayu says: 

Now, one thing that I do find very interesting, what you mentioned, Simon, is they’re focused on the consumer. Right? They’re actually utilizing that data from their consumer to know when to scale up, but also have ideas for new product lines as well, that then they work with factories to produce. Now, if you really think about it, what Shein is doing is in many ways almost like drop shipping from China on steroids. On massive steroids.

With the help of data-driven insights, your business will have an easier time leveraging customer feedback and market trends to make informed decisions about product development and inventory planning.

4. Properly maximizing a transition to agile supply chain management and DTC China fulfillment, in its very essence, begins with optimizing your production process.

With the help of a more fine-tuned system, you can continuously evaluate your production process and identify areas for improvement—which Simon further emphasizes: 

It’s about actually having the conversation with your manufacturer and dissecting what are actually the elements or resources or raw materials that are part of your product and how can you optimize it. It’s actually just putting yourself in a more humble position and letting yourself be educated by your manufacturer on how you can actually do your production better, smarter, but also cost effective. And they can advise you because they can tell you exactly where the costs are, what are the bottlenecks and how you can actually scale faster.

The main lesson to learn here? Work closely with your manufacturers to streamline production, reduce bottlenecks, and increase efficiency so you can effectively implement DTC China fulfillment and agile supply chain methodologies.

5. Successfully executing a full adoption of agile supply chain management and leveraging the DTC China method to its fullest potential relies on successfully setting and managing customer expectations.

This means that you’ll need to be transparent about shipping times, clearly communicate lead times, and provide accurate tracking information to ensure a positive customer experience.

Here’s what Dayu had to say about the impact of customer expectations on the outcome of operational improvements:

Most of our clients have above four sometimes almost perfect or perfect Facebook feedback scores, all shipping from China. So anyone who’s in DTC advertising knows how important the Facebook feedback score is. And I think that is just a very critical data point that everyone should know that shipping from China actually can actually achieve your customer expectations. I will caveat though, that you want to set the right expectations.

By tuning into customer expectations and using them to your advantage, you’ll be able to reap the invaluable benefits of DTC and agile supply chain management that are helping brands like Shein rise to the top of the global marketplace. 

The EcommOps Podcast episode one

Final Words

Agile supply chain management, with a focus on just-in-time fulfillment, has revolutionized the ecommerce industry. 

Brands like Shein have demonstrated the power of agility and flexibility in meeting customer demand and driving growth. By leveraging direct-from-China fulfillment and optimizing their supply chain strategy, your ecommerce brand can achieve similar success with the help of DTC China fulfillment and agile supply chain management.

As the ecommerce landscape continues to evolve, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to changing market dynamics. And with the help of the two aforementioned measures, brands can position themselves for long-term success in the competitive ecommerce industry.

If you loved the insights from these jam-packed modules, you can access more of the EcommOps Podcast’s insightful episodes on our website. Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest updates. 

Related Articles

Join Our Facebook Community

Subscribe to our Youtube channel