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Create a Customer First Supply Chain for True Transformation

Supply chains can't wait for things to change. Rather, the organization must make change happen. Although change doesn't have to be immediate, but it must comprise every aspect of the supply chain to be effective.

Change is constant, and the way that organizations respond to it shapes the future of the organization. “In nature, it is not the strongest species the one that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change,” said Matthew Banks, vice president and global lead, Customer Experience Management at Oracle, during his presentation at the recent Oracle Cloud Day Helsinki, Finland.

This same concept can be applied to brands, to companies, and to supply chains. Sometimes, it only takes time; yet, change is inevitable, and you have to change, explained Banks in an excerpt from the presentation below.

In a rapidly changing business world,  supply chains need to adapt to the customer

We have seen industries evolving through process automation in factories and increasing levels of data efficiency. Now, it is time for another kind of revolution, a revolution that places the customer at the center of attention of the supply chain. Banks highlighted and illustrated three simple points in his presentation:

  • A revolution cannot be ignored. Adapt to it, but stay true the organizations intent.
  • Embrace new customer expectations, focus on customer needs, but keep it simple.
  • The customer's journeys matters in the here and now. 
  • Product personalization and change in the supply chain

    With the advent of the Internet, mobile technologies, and social media, the customer stopped being observer, and started to become the center of a new business model. “The connection between people and people, and people and things, is a new kind of revolution,” said Banks. In the post-industrial society, old models don't work anymore. Customers are giving their trust, time, data, and money to organizations. Organizations must adapt to the customer by offering personalization of products and services, but it's also critical to remain true to the organization, said Banks. “Change your supply chain, but not every five minutes,” he added.

    Designing supply chain and value exchange in this new economy

    In today's modern economy, OEMs should keep it simple for customers, and focus on a handful of value drivers:

    • Enjoyable: Engaging, enriching
    • Simple: Easy, quick, intuitive
    •  Useful: Relevant, helpful

    Work up from useful to enjoyable, rather than the other way around, recommended Banks. This approach of marrying the supply chain and customer service will offer a notable opportunity in the retail sector. “In retail to be good is to be above average in 2015, because retail is a very prominent market where the winners win quickly,” he explained.

    Customer experience has the capability to transform the value chain

    The sum of all the experiences customers have with a supplier of goods or services over the duration of their relationship with that supplier is critical for the perspective of the supply chain, according to Banks.

    Mapping the value chain through customer experience

    In order to understand the customer perspective, OEMs should take a step-by-step approach to truly understand the customer:

    • Create initial map: Look at customer's attitudes, behaviors, and experiences.
    • Evaluate and prioritize: Identify moments that matter for the customer and the organization.
    • Explore customer's needs: Gain deeper understanding of functional and emotional needs.
    • Evaluate and frame: Examine existing capabilities to determine issues and opportunities.
    • Evaluate and frame the issue or opportunity: Base this work on a deep customer understanding.
    • Design new experiences: Innovate to influence attitudes and change behaviors.
    • Test new experiences: New attitudes, new behaviors to obtain a different result.

    By changing the way that they connect to different markets, OEMs can shift the customer experience and in turn influence attitudes and drive behaviors that deliver results for the company, Banks is convinced. By making interactions useful, simple, and engaging for customers, OEMs can leverage their supply chain to ensure that they remain relevant.

    How is your organization leveraging its supply chain to differentiate itself with customers? Let us know in the comments section below.

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