Whether they’re teenagers at the mall, parents shopping online or multinational corporations buying raw materials for manufacturing processes, today’s customers have raised their expectations.
These ‘new consumers’ are connected, informed and empowered, and continually demand more choice of product, greater flexibility in delivery options and faster service. This is especially true in sectors with a swift pace of innovation and for companies that are closer to the end customer. Gartner research shows that 89 per cent of CEOs believe their businesses will compete “mostly on customer experience”. Forrester has defined the next 20 years as “the age of the customer”; a business cycle in which tomorrow’s winning brands re-invent themselves around customer needs.
So how you do re-invent yourself to and your company to keep and acquire your customers, it is not about a new logo but more your supply chain. Today to grow, develop and adapt you need to look at these five areas!
1. Align the supply chain with the wider corporate strategy and integrate it with customer-facing functions, with common performance metrics and rewards that focus on fulfilling customer needs. Open collaboration with suppliers, and in some cases, competitors, can also boost efficiency and responsiveness.
2. Enhance visibility and share information, to help ensure that every player in the supply chain understands what customers want and can trace the status of materials, parts and finished product. Forecasting and demand planning must incorporate real-time data to become more accurate and reliable.
3. Instill greater flexibility and agility to adapt to expected and unexpected market events, and seize opportunities to source new materials, arrange logistics, scale up or down, or enter new markets.
4. Structure the supply chain to address local and global competition and evolving regulations, such as royalties, tax, customs, transfer pricing and anti-profit-shifting initiatives.
5. Address different customer needs and values by segmenting end-to-end supply chains and building the foundation to efficiently provide offerings valued by customers.