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Is Your Supply Chain “Gangnam Style”?

Gangnam Style

Can social media really impact the supply chain? Why should you, as a supply chain professional, pay attention to social media? Of course, social media is an important medium for connecting and communicating with suppliers or vendors. But the way consumers use social media can also have a huge impact on product development and demand—and, in the end, on your supply chain. Here’s an example. On July 15, 2012, South Korean rapper, Psy, released a single called “Gangnam Style,” which debuted at number one on the Gason Chart in South Korea.

At this point, most Americans had not seen this video or tried to “horsey dance.” But by August, the video went viral on YouTube, quickly gaining in popularity throughout the world. And the rest, as they say, is history. Psy performed this song in one form or another on Saturday Night Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and the Today show. In September, Guinness World Records recognized “Gangnam Style” as the most “liked” video in YouTube history.

So what does a video gone viral have to do with your supply chain?

Costume manufacturers or retailers that sell costumes can benefit—if they use social media to see what consumers are talking about so they can get a jump on trends or possible products. The Psy tuxedo is expected to be one of the top costumes worn at Halloween parties this year. But only nimble supply chains that can adapt rapidly to this type of demand will be able to capitalize on this trend.

This was a hot topic at CSCMP’s annual conference: a focus on the pressure that supply chains will face, with products evolving more quickly than before. Social media could impact demand planning, sourcing strategies, and transportation capacity.

Psy isn’t the only social media phenomenon to impact Halloween this year. Big Bird was expected to be a hot costume, however most stores have sold out because of the demand. Would this have happened without the 120,000 tweets sent out the minute after Big Bird was mentioned in the first presidential debate?

Social Media will continue to evolve and change. New mediums and channels will come and go. And consumers who use social media channels will drive even more changes that impact supply chains.

Let me know if you’ve experienced social media impacting the supply chain.