Graduate To An Innovative, Customer-Centric Supply Chain In 4 Easy Steps [VIDEO]

Warren Miller

Graduation season is here, and millions of students around the globe are taking the leap from high school to college or from college to the “real world.”

Life is a series of transitions. People are constantly moving onward and upward.

The business world is no different. Companies must evolve, regularly entering new phases to achieve their greatest business objectives. For supply chain organizations, this evolution will continue to center around putting customers at the core of their operations.

In a recent SCM World white paper, “Customer-Centric Supply Chain: Omnichannel Leaders Plan to Widen the Gap,” author Matt Davis offered tips on how you can graduate from mere supply chain to innovative, customer-centric supply chain in four easy steps.

Step #1: Digitize your supply chain

Hyperconnectivity has created a brand new digital economy, in which people, devices, and systems are linked at all times. To succeed in this dynamic environment, businesses must make digital transformation a priority.

By digitally transforming the core of your supply chain operations, you can automate processes and enable more accurate reporting. Digital transformation can also help you identify untapped sources of value generation.

These added capabilities would have a tremendous impact on your customers – and your bottom line.

Step #2: Make use of imperfect data

Customer insight is invaluable to your supply chain success. And while “perfect” data would be ideal, even “imperfect” data can be useful.

In the SCM World white paper, Matt Davis illustrates how Amazon relies on continuous innovation and experimentation to glean customer insight and refine its fulfillment capabilities.

According to Amazon – the modern-day model of supply chain excellence – no data is bad data. 

Step #3: Collaborate with your customer care group

SCM World research found that companies with advanced returns capabilities possess more valuable customer data. That’s because superior returns processes often include satisfaction data on product quality, service, and delivery.

Guess who maintains all of this valuable insight? That’s right. Your customer care group.

By collaborating with your customer care group, you can improve your existing supply chain operations, so returns decline and customer satisfaction rates rise.

Step #4: Create a menu of supply chain services

Customer segmentation enables companies to improve operations and boost profitability. Conducting regular buy behavior analysis should be a critical component of your organization’s segmentation efforts, according to Matt Davis and SCM World.

By analyzing customer data on order frequency, order quantity, and order channels, your business can determine right-fit service models, providing a clear direction on what type of supply chain and distribution services you should be offering your customers. 

Continue your customer-centric supply chain education

Achieving your goals, whatever they are, requires commitment. Graduating from high school or college, for example, typically takes four long years. But that education will last a lifetime.

Elevating from mere supply chain to innovative, customer-centric supply chain will require similar dedication. To achieve this, you’ll need to educate yourself on how other best-in-class supply chain organizations have made the transition and glean insight from thought leaders and industry experts.

Smart organizations today use agile processes and smart technologies to extract a wealth of customer insight from their supply chains. They’re using live data to improve all aspects of business performance and adapting to the unexpected to serve omnichannel customers better – leaving the laggards behind.

Download the new SCM World white paper, “Customer-Centric Supply Chain,” to explore how you can replicate the best practices of omnichannel leaders.


About Warren Miller

Warren Miller is a senior writer with more than 10 years of experience. He has written extensively on the topics of marketing, customer engagement, commerce, sales, HR, and supply chain.