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Delighting customers starts from a company’s internal supply chain

Posted on August 17, 2016 10:00 am;

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By Rebecca Langdon

 

We live in a world where many customers do not want to wait for goods to be delivered, and why

should they? Many organisations are utilizing their internal supply chain to delight their customers and

give themselves a competitive edge. The strength of the supply chain has always been a key

determinant of organizational success, but never has it had so much focus as it is now often a key

business differentiator and unique selling point.

 

First let us consider an organization spearheading the way. Amazon is a formidable competitor in this

space with fast and effective logistics driving their business forward. When Amazon began offering

‘Prime’ next day delivery it was an attractive proposition to customers, offered at a competitive price on

a wide range of goods. At the time this certainly delighted many customers who no longer had a long

wait for their internet deliveries. However they have now found a way to optimize their supply chain

further to offer Amazon Prime Now in many global cities, where you can get a range of items delivered

within two hours. It is extraordinary and at the core of this is exceptional supply chain management

which is motored by technology, logistics, and stock control.

 

Technology

Technology is an enabler not just for stock control and logistics management, but also as a way to

communicate with your customers. Customers expect real time access to order tracking, and in many

cases communications. Technology should be used to perform the following functions:

 

  • Customer ordering via website and app (with backend to database for stock check)
  • Management of delivery options and pricing
  • Updates on order progress via text and email
  • Confirmations once the item is delivered
  • Feedback via text, email, or online survey

 

There are many off the shelf solutions to perform all functions above but organisations that are gaining

a competitive edge from their supply chain are typically building their own solutions, or outsourcing

build to integrate complex algorithms that are proprietary to them.

 

Stock

There are multiple ways to manage stock and you need to find the right one to fit your business.

Whether you are offering to deliver to customers within one day, or seven, the important thing is to

keep your promise to the agreed timescales. The questions to consider are;

- Will you hold stock in a warehouse?

- How much stock will you require?

- Will you have more than one warehouse in case of natural disaster?

- Could you operate just in time from the manufacturer into a distribution center?

- Would that distribution center be yours or could you push the stock straight from the

manufacturer to your logistics provider?

 

There are a number of options and considerations to ensure you optimize the stock control element of

the supply chain.

 

Logistics

We will presume you are not performing your own logistics; although of course you might be. In our

presumed case, you need to find at least one trusted logistics partner and agree service levels which will

allow you to fulfil your obligations to your customers. You must remember that your logistics partner

may be the only person representing your organisation that the customer sees. Therefore you should

ensure you have a logistics partner who you can trust to represent your brand. You will also need to

consider technology integration between your systems and those of the logistics partner.

 

To fully understand supply chain management and how to use it as a business enabler, you may consider

undertaking a professional qualification such as the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP).

 

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