Supply chain customer focus – new simple ways to make money year recommendation – part three

This is the last in a three-part series on supply chain recommendations for the new year. To recap, I started this series by reviewing the ‘best of the best’ trend predictions from the last 5 years, and then making recommendations for supply chain modifications to match simple ways to make money those trends. I looked at output from 4 different groups: gartner analysts, IDC, ferrari group, and supplychainbrain. I saw prediction patterns emerging that led to my own simple ways to make money recommendations for the year ahead.

The first two blogs in the series presented profitable proximity simple ways to make money and risk management, both trending supply chain topic predictions for the coming year. As promised in the last blog, though, I feel that this third and final topic for the simple ways to make money supply chain is the ‘best’, or what I feel offers the most promise for your simple ways to make money investment: customer focus. Prediction #3: supply chain customer focus will continue as a strategic priority.

Leading consultants like forrester have defined the “age of the customer” as a 20-year cycle wherein cios and cmos will reinvent themselves to simple ways to make money win in this age. Forrester points to a transition from focus on manufacturing, to distribution, to information management, to lead up to today’s more towering power of the customer. They say that the leaders in use of technology within simple ways to make money this customer obsession hold the key to winning that customer simple ways to make money race.

This seems obvious, doesn’t it? But the technology push to deliver a smarter, more innovative product, at a quicker pace, for less cost, and with more satisfaction, is accelerating. Customers expect it, and pay back with their loyalty, and the company stock prices reflect it time and time simple ways to make money again. Think about companies like starbucks, amazon, and apple: all at the top of their game, with soaring customer ratings. Amazon has mastered the customer relationship model with customized suggestions simple ways to make money based on your purchases. Starbucks is well-loved because of the customer experience as much as the simple ways to make money product. Apple, with innovations and scheduled announcements of new products to meet simple ways to make money continual customer demand for a product more powerful than the simple ways to make money last, came in at the top of the PC ratings for simple ways to make money the 10th year running, and in 2012 took over as the world’s most valuable company, with a 4% piece of the S&P 500 pie.

• customers increasingly want their orders faster. This allows the companies who offer rapid delivery to force simple ways to make money out those who don’t keep finished goods inventories. In this environment, good demand forecasting is a must for companies to level simple ways to make money out production quantities, build the most competitive transportation and warehousing structures, compete the best supplier contracts, and maintain the most efficient operations.

• external factors give breadth beyond historical and seasonal forecasts. Traditional forecasting methods were based on historical and seasonal data, and do not reflect the impact of the economic market’s volatility and resulting customer shifts. For example, consumer attitude, even after financial situations are taken into account, is a leading indicator to durable goods spending every year. Tracking of indices like fuel costs, unemployment rates, and weather patterns are more examples of leading indicators to simple ways to make money consumer demand. One of our customers, a manufacturer of snow-clearing products, faced a winter drought that severely decreased demand for their simple ways to make money product. That year they admitted that this volatility wreaked havoc on simple ways to make money their profits! Their reliance on external indicators of weather patterns, as fed into our forecasting platform, is now allowing them to predict and adjust their manufacturing simple ways to make money and inventory levels to those conditions in real-time, drastically reducing required inventory, and leveling out production and logistics costs.

• providing the latest and greatest products can draw customer loyalty. Customers depend on innovation, and will offer their loyalty to those with the newest, biggest ideas. But studies show that more R&D spending does not equate to more revenue. Only a small percentage of product ideas make it to simple ways to make money launch. Less money is lost on a ‘kill’ of a product release pre-launch than a ‘fail’ post-launch! Demand forecasting plays a large part in segmenting what products simple ways to make money are worthy of adding to the supply chain. Also, even improvements to old products can alter demand, so demand needs to be analyzed BEFORE any resulting disruptions simple ways to make money in production, finance, and logistics are made.

• the closer you are to the customer, the better your service. Sales and marketing research keeps a hand on the customer simple ways to make money behavior dynamics through reward-based questionnaires, online forums, blogs, and interviews, and retargeting. Direct feed of information through technology by way of point-of-sale or point-of-use gives priceless real-time feedback. Evolving from this is the cycle of sensing consumer behavior, measuring marketing effectiveness, adjusting the marketing for optimal impact, all leading to demand-driven forecasting.

• design your supply chain to meet customer predictability. A key to supply chain optimization is to know your simple ways to make money customer and your products in terms of predictability, and adjust accordingly. Employ more lean supply chain tactics in more predictable markets, and more agile supply chain tactics in less predictable markets. Toyota, for example, evolved its lean philosophies under periods of predictably high demand. Agility, though born out of necessity to disruptors to the supply simple ways to make money chain such as demand volatility and new product introductions, leads to high customer satisfaction: items always on the shelf, no back-orders, no waiting for special orders.

If you compare the list above to my recommendations in simple ways to make money the prior blogs about profitable proximity and risk management, it is clear that the supply chain customer focus goals simple ways to make money are more numerous, and more impactful to business survival. Demand forecasting is the common thread above, and the window to the customer’s behavior. Speaking of forecasting, gartner expects 10.6 percent growth in 2014 investment in these B2B analytics, particularly in the SCM space. (5) best-of-breed providers know that providing differentiators like personalization, ease-of-use, learning engines are a few of the ways to help simple ways to make money their clients stay focused on the customer at all times. Recommendations for supply chain customer focus

I recently read an article on sales with the message simple ways to make money that if we could just maintain our current customers, and limit expenses to that revenue, that all new customer revenue would be just ‘gravy’. How easy that would be with great customer focus! After all my recommendations, I believe that if you can only do one of simple ways to make money the recommendations above, choosing one from the customer focus category should come first. Both B2B and B2C customers will remember your successes and simple ways to make money especially failures. Years ago, after a full day on colorado mountain trails, energized but hungry, my group went to a popular eating spot best-known for their chicken dishes. That day, they were out of … chicken. It was a long time until we returned there for simple ways to make money a meal!