Successful salespeople tend to sign contracts without worrying about the logistical aspects affected by the conditions of the contract, which is a thorn in the foot for logistics who must comply with the terms of the contract. You have probably had a similar experience to this in your company. This is where Supply Chain comes into the picture. Customer service is not just the business of sales and marketing, meaning the supply chain has an important role to play.
If logistics are a cost center that needs to be optimized, the focus needs to be on the downstream customer. The famous dilemma between optimizing costs and maximizing customer satisfaction must be achieved.
To support customer service level, Supply Chain focuses on visibility, traceability, and flow security, as well as just in time delivery.
The service level usually expressed as a percentage is a measure of satisfying demand through inventory or by the current production schedule. This ensures it is in time to satisfy the customer’s requested delivery dates and quantities. The service level is one of the main indicators of logistics. Therefore better control of its supply chain means better serving the customers, both in terms of inventory and cost of service. At the end of the chain, it is necessary to guarantee the availability of the products to the consumer.
Increased productivity and customer satisfaction rely on an efficient and effective supply chain. Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) processes linked to the implementation of a leading software, as well as an organization perfectly adapted to the business model, are key. Major projects will include inventory reduction and optimization within the global supply chain network, transportation cost reduction and outsourcing. Most companies believe that they can still make progress in customer satisfaction, by reducing costs and inventories. However, it is key to know exactly how costs are split and in master complex software.
It is also important to manage a differentiated supply chain, by adapting its resource allocations and processes according to the customer segment. Good segmentation is an important issue that allows a good allocation of stocks according to the customer profile. However, whatever the nature of the customer, the overall goal is to simplify the customer relationship and improve the customer experience.
Hence the need for good communication between CRM data, collaborative platforms and supply chain solutions, including Advanced Planning Systems (APS).
Which technology supports Customer Service?
Putting the customer at the heart of their supply chain is a major challenge for manufacturers and retailers. If this paradigm shift involves important changes in their organization, it is also based on a new vision of the business, resolutely turned towards service as well as the effective use of all technological levers: IoT, AI, Cloud or Blockchain to name a few.
For example, e-commerce generates a continuous growth of flows and volumes across multiple sales channels. When faced with these new consumption patterns and increased consumer demand, process automation and shorter order processing times have become key to making a difference.
To cope, the supply chain must become connected, collaborative, flexible, agile and intelligent. Connected with IoT and sensors on equipment or products. This will improve offers and services by better understanding uses, anticipate and prevent breakdowns or better trace logistical flows in real time. Collaborative, with cloud platforms that facilitate work between departments internally and externally with partners and suppliers. Flexible and agile with processes and planning solutions. Finally, Intelligent thanks to the good use of the data and the progress of the artificial intelligence to manage the global performance of the end-to-end supply chain in real time and to improve its capacities of prediction, simulation, and decision-making.
By controlling end-to-end supply chains, companies bring value to their customers and secure their business in the long term. It is, therefore, necessary, to collaborate between each supply chain stakeholder in order to guarantee the transmission and the reliability of the information to the final customer.
And what about your organization? Is your supply chain customer-centric?