Customer Centricity: The Mantra of Successful Supply Chains

In today’s global economy, all companies, regardless of industry, geography or size all have one thing in common. They are all striving to delight, understand and get closure to their customer to win the order, sign the contract or make the deal.

This requires a fundamental shift in not only how you interact with your customers, but also how you align your supply chain and other business processes to better serve and delight your customers.

Image courtesy: Pixabay

Image courtesy: Pixabay

Here are a few fundamental shifts in how leading supply chains are reimagining their business processes to be centered around the customer.

From sales forecasting to demand sensing & shaping  

To fully understand your customers, it’s not enough to just know what they have purchased in the past. That is only one part of the picture. You also need to know what they like and what they don’t like. You have to know about their situation:

  • What is happening around them?
  • Is there a heatwave?
  • Is there a hurricane?
  • Is there an event that they are attending?

To know all of these customer details, this takes information. A true picture of current demand means collecting and analyzing information from both structured and unstructured data.

You not only need the sales forecast, but also the weather forecast. You also need information from social media about what is or isn’t trending. Once that information is gathered, then you can start sensing buying patterns and even begin to influence them.

From taking  customer orders to delivering customer experience

Once you have won that customer’s order, you now have to provide the customer with the full “customer experience.”

Sales and marketing functions within an organization makes the promise to the customer, but it’s the supply chain strategy that actually delivers on that promise. If I can place an order just one minute online, I have been conditioned to expect to receive those goods in very short time frames. This purchasing trend is clearly proven through companies like Amazon, implementing services like Amazon Prime with two-day delivery commitments, and even one hour delivery in certain cities.

If you offer omni-channel sale channels, you need the omni-channel manufacturing planning and logistics processes to deliver that customer experience.

From outcome-based transactions to sustainable processes

Today’s customers not only demand the ultimate customer experience, but they strongly prefer buying products from an ethical company. They want the products they buy to be ethically sourced, sustainably produced, and delivered.

It is important to remember that being sustainable is not only beneficial for the environment, but it’s often good for the bottom line. If organizations can reduce, reuse or eliminate waste all together, they can also reduce costs.  Optimizing shipments or reducing miles driven by improving route planning, will deliver the desired results, like lowering the organization’s carbon footprint and streamlining cost.

Many companies today are striving for zero waste and zero impact, or even net positive impact on the environment and this requires a focus on a circular economy where optimization of assets, equipment, and inventory is critical.

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