What's the point of having a customer-centric supply chain if it doesn't begin in the cloud?
The answer is simple: Connectedness and Agility!
A true customer-centric supply chain ensures that everything from order to shipments is handled quickly, accurately, and securely through the use of the internet. With the power of the cloud at your fingertips, you can achieve all of these goals with relative ease.
Cloud computing has revolutionized how businesses operate. With applications residing on remote systems, companies have been able to access such applications from any location or device.
The Clouds ability to make remote systems available for use has also led to a resurgence in demand for web-based applications. There are many benefits to implementing a customer centric supply chain using the cloud. By connecting products and services to a centralized point, you can improve communication and coordination throughout your organization.
Additionally, by Offloading certain processes to the cloud, you can improve agility and reduce costs. By taking advantage of these benefits, you can create a more efficient and responsive supply chain that serves your customers better.
In this guide, we will look at how a customer centric supply chain can be implemented using cloud services. Before we start, let's take a look at the table of content below:
- Consumer Connectivity: What is it?
- Three Different Categories of Consumer Data Fuel Consumer Connectivity
- What Makes a Customer-Centric Supply Chain?
- Four Points in Favor of a Cloud-Based Customer-Centric Supply Chain
- Determine Exactly Who is Your Customer
- Common Customer Requirements and Needs
- Customer Requirements to Supply Chain Translation
- Business Case for a Customer-Centric Supply Chain
- Pricing and Quality can help you get the most Value for your Money
- How Deskera Can Assist You?
Let's get started!
Consumer Connectivity: What is it?
Consumer connectivity is the ability of consumers to access digital content and services from any device, anywhere, anytime. It allows users to access media from their home or office, on their smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other internet-connected device.
This includes streaming media services, online gaming, social media, e-commerce, and other types of digital services. Consumer connectivity also enables users to connect with each other through social networks, messaging apps, and other communication technologies.
Consumer connectivity has become increasingly important in recent years, as more and more people rely on digital services to get their information and entertainment. This has resulted in an increased demand for faster and more reliable internet access, as well as better connection speeds and more reliable networks.
Consumers also want more control over the content they access, and the ability to customize their own digital experience. Connectivity is key to providing these services and ensuring that users have access to the content and services they need.
Three Different Categories of Consumer Data Fuel Consumer Connectivity
Following, we’ve discussed three types of consumer data fueled by consumer connectivity. Let’s discuss:
1. Demographic Data:
This type of data includes information about a consumer's age, gender, occupation, location, income, and other characteristics. It is used to better understand a consumer's needs and preferences and target them with relevant products and services.
2. Behavioral Data:
This type of data is collected through tracking a consumer's actions such as website visits, purchases, interactions, and reviews. It helps marketers understand a consumer's interests and purchasing habits in order to improve the customer experience.
3. Psychographic Data:
This type of data encompasses a consumer's lifestyle and values, their motivations, and the way they think. It helps marketers better predict a consumer's behavior and tailor their marketing messages to appeal to the right customer.
These data may come from first-party sources, such as the consumer. It can also be obtained or purchased from another individual.
Consumer data can help a company understand its target market more thoroughly, including who they are, what they value, how they behave, and their thoughts and feelings after a recent interaction or purchase.
Additionally, it can provide important strategic insights into the industry-reshaping consumer pressures. Consumer data can ultimately help create a sustainable competitive edge that separates winners from losers.
What Makes a Customer-Centric Supply Chain?
Companies must reimagine their supply chains as growth engines. New fulfilling capabilities that are client-centered must be created in order to do this. As a result, the following four characteristics should be highlighted in a customer-centric supply chain:
1. Tailored: Delivering products and services in a manner that is unique to each customer's needs.
2. Agile: Capable of adjusting and modifying to satisfy continually changing client needs.
3. Reliable: Promoting transparency, responsibility, and moral behaviour along the entire value chain.
4. Innovative: Able to continually attract and please clients as well as introduce fresh and useful products and services to the market.
Let's examine each of these traits in greater depth.
Businesses need to differentiate themselves from the competition by offering customers a personalized experience. Offering personalized last-mile delivery services and direct-to-consumer items might be considered fulfilment.
However, a 2020 Accenture survey found that most companies lack the flexibility to deliver customized client services on demand.
To accomplish this flexibility, traditional models that are connected to categories, markets, or enterprises must be updated. Restructuring must be taken into consideration in order to create several supply chains that are aimed at different market segments and based on different value propositions. This will enable businesses to concentrate on the customer experience for each segment along the value chain.
Digital technology is a further crucial element in being able to deliver a customized supply chain. Machine learning and artificial intelligence play a significant role in enabling personalized last-mile deliveries and direct-to-consumer offerings that offer consumers what they want, where they want it, and when they want it.
A company can employ analytics to look at all facets of its products, consumers, and distribution networks in order to categories clients based on shared qualities and demands. The appropriate supply chain operations can then be put up to meet those needs.
Businesses must also provide the capacity to support ongoing network optimization and have the flexibility to alter direction rapidly when consumer needs shift.
The Lawson convenience store in Japan is an example of this. In Japan, convenience stores are usually regarded as one-stop shops and frequently provide package delivery services, enabling consumers to pick up their things in addition to their regular grocery store purchases.
The company has now partnered with Uber Eats to distribute its groceries and household goods. This relationship allows customers to receive a single, customized delivery rather than having to schedule several individual deliveries.
Agility is a key element of a supply chain that is focused on the needs of the customer since customers desire ever-quicker deliveries. 89% of firms concur, according to Accenture study, that e-commerce is what is driving these expectations.
The same-day delivery industry, which is now expanding by 40% yearly, is predicted to reach $13 billion in 2020 (and $92 billion by 2025). 4
However, as recent events have demonstrated, the majority of conventional fulfilling operational models are unable to quickly respond to changes in volume, variability, and mix, among other factors. Furthermore, businesses might not always be able to maximize cost-to-serve while also meeting customer demands at the appropriate rate.
To increase agility, businesses should reassess the physical length of their supply chains and think about using an asset-light supply chain model (and how close they can bring fulfilment and other agile components to their customers). To fulfil additional demand from markets that it is unable to serve profitably or efficiently on its own, the corporation may in some cases be totally dependent on ecosystem partners.
Consider Fabric, an Israeli company that provides fulfilment as a service. Storage and distribution capabilities are offered by micro-fulfillment centers with human packers and shippers and robot product pickers in urban areas.
Companies can utilize Fabric's platform to run their current facilities more nimbly or engage with it as a partner to store and deliver their products.
A freight and logistics company using its ecosystem partners and digital tools to increase responsiveness and build an agile, flexible supply chain network is another example. It has robotics-capable carts for picking and packing assistance, and Google Glass has been integrated into its systems.
Automated carts follow pickers while they work, and Google Glass helps them see the things they need to pick and where they should place them in the warehouse (product barcodes are also scanned by Google Glass).
Trust is crucial for a supply chain to be efficient, and customer focused. Fulfillment offers many opportunities to gain the customer's trust, but it also offers many chances to disappoint them.
Consumer happiness and confidence are currently mostly sourced from the supply chain, and a number of competencies help organizations win and keep customers' trust.
From the factory and farm to transportation and distribution to final delivery, blockchain has the potential to offer comprehensive traceability along the whole value chain.
Data security is also very important. Given the abundance of data needed to provide a customized and smooth customer experience, businesses must be excellent stewards of consumer data and transparent about how they utilize it.
Furthermore, continuity is also another crucial element. Businesses should aim to integrate circular economy practices into their supply chains to guarantee that goods are acquired and handled in an ethical and environmentally sustainable manner.
Learn more about Sustainable Supply Chain here!
To handle returns, resales, and item redesign, for instance, a successful collection and sorting system must be in place.
American clothing shop Everlane has been successful in earning customers' trust. The company is transparent and truthful about the sources, resources, and margins it uses.
It compares the retail price to the price of a similar item from a "traditional" store and provides a breakdown of direct expenses and margin for each product. Each item's manufacturing facility is also described.
To draw in and keep customers, businesses must constantly explore for innovative ways to interact with both potential and present clients.
For instance, certain new technologies present exciting opportunities to better understand customers and provide novel products and services. Due to digital assistants and connected home appliances, customers can place orders, track deliveries, and plan returns from anywhere. Information on user behavior, location, and frequency is sent via wearable technology.
It will only become easier to use these devices to communicate with customers: These devices will be able to connect without any problems once 5G is available, enabling the unprecedented development of integrated experiences. The introduction of 5G is expected to boost e-commerce sales by another $12 billion by 2021.
The supply chain will gain from a speedy feedback loop of information as more linked devices are added. This will apply to everything, from linked equipment providing output data at the plant to finished goods reporting their location at the warehouse via low-frequency sensors and sending data on final product sell-through at the shop. The use of all this information enables the customer to receive better service.
One major manufacturing company that Accenture consulted for its supply chain research serves as an example of the possibilities for digitally powered innovation. This company no longer makes physical prototypes. Instead, it creates a digital replica of a product it plans to manufacture and tests it in an augmented reality environment.
Computers are used throughout the entire process, from concept to production. This helps the company produce products that are more individualized, durable, and safe. It also gives the company more chances to communicate with customers across the whole product life cycle.
Four Points in Favor of a Cloud-Based Customer-Centric Supply Chain
The solution is to use the most recent supply chain management (SCM) software on the cloud. Cloud-based SCM software provide four essential features that are essential for building and managing a customer-centric supply chain.
1. Maximize Supply Chain Agility
2. Simple and Seamless Omnichannel Experience
3. Creates New Opportunities for Differentiation
4. Opportunities for Technological Innovation
Maximize Supply Chain Agility
SCM platforms that operate in the cloud make the supply chain more agile. This flexibility enables managers to react swiftly and successfully to changing client preferences, market circumstances, and product requirements.
In today's customer-centric world, when demand changes or a manufacturing bottleneck appears out of nowhere, there is very little tolerance for error. Rapid thinking and agility are essential. Customers are not interested in the reasons of stock shortages; they just worry about the difficulty they cause when they occur.
SCM Cloud apps support the following features, which lower this risk:
End-to-end orchestration: By enabling coordinated action across all supply chain systems, transactions, and functions, shared information makes it simpler to locate inventory when it is required.
Responsiveness: Because Cloud-based SCM software have automation for repetitive transactions and send out notifications for exceptions, businesses may be more proactive with them. This enables managers to focus on providing real-time client service.
Visibility: Using cloud-based SCM, data from planning and reporting is compiled into a single view. Managers can immediately assess the situation, make modifications with confidence, and be sure they are getting the desired results thanks to this.
These qualities enable businesses to become more agile. Businesses will be more able to immediately recognize risks and opportunities, decide with greater assurance and speed, and prepare for and react to unanticipated variations in demand.
Simple and Seamless Omnichannel Experience
In the current world, customers no longer only purchase goods and services through one channel. Customers now receive an omnichannel experience that on-premises apps cannot support.
Customers want a consistent, smooth experience on all platforms and gadgets. Fortunately, cloud computing offers an effective omnichannel strategy that accepts a range of fulfilment methods and channels while enabling lead times and inventory management.
The capacity to access real-time data through applications, comprehensive information consolidation, and tools for efficiently performing data-based tasks are all provided by cloud computing. It also provides customers with several contact and customer service options, complete real-time information, and more.
Creates New Opportunities for Differentiation
Through cloud-based SCM systems, business data is transformed into a unique source of value, creating new opportunities for differentiation. Analytics tools in legacy, on-premises systems use operational data to provide insight based on historical trends.
On the other hand, cloud apps give greater data and analytical insights that support predicting and anticipating client needs. Looking ahead is essential, even though looking back occasionally might be advantageous.
The risk associated with the manufacturing, distribution, and inventory planning is decreased by these anticipatory insights. Decision-makers can assess the practicality and economic value of proposed decisions within each of these contexts.
They are frequently able to discover links and patterns in company data that were previously undetected thanks to machine learning algorithms, which are essential to Cloud applications. These discoveries ultimately lead to higher productivity and new commercial opportunities.
Opportunities for Technological Innovation
Your firm can suffer if your rivals are better at exploiting digital technologies. On the other hand, organizations have the opportunity to be at the forefront of disruption—and even to drive it—with cloud-based SCM technologies.
Cloud-based supply chain management (SCM) apps enable supply chains to respond and change quickly while minimizing interruptions by integrating open standards with contemporary design to handle upgrades. These programmes can also quickly and easily link to already installed business software.
Businesses will be able to benefit from the most recent advancements in analytics, blockchain, process automation, mobility, and other emerging technologies by utilizing cutting-edge machine learning within SCM Cloud apps.
Utilizing cloud-based SCM systems could completely revolutionize your company. These four arguments demonstrate how cloud-based supply chain management could improve your ability to focus on customers, be efficient, and plan strategically.
Determine Exactly Who is Your Customer
If you want to create a supply chain that is truly customer-centric, you must understand who you are constructing it for. If you're a supplier to retailers, is the customer a consumer purchasing from a white-label vendor that will brand and advertise your product through their own channels, a wholesaler, or a retailer?
Are the consumers of your home improvement goods a single tradesperson, a home improvement merchant, a corporation that provides building supplies, or the budget manager for a firm that manages construction projects?
You must express each customer's wants in detail because they will vary. While a customer in a retail setting will be more concerned with the product's availability and price, a wholesaler needs to know you can offer in bulk and on time. A detailed comprehension of how the external customer strategy perspective operates is necessary to work from the outside in.
Several supply chains actually support a variety of client sectors, necessitating the development of a few tangentially distinctive business cases and methodologies for each.
Common Customer Requirement and Needs
Many client needs are rooted in the following areas:
Customer Requirements to Supply Chain Translation
Converting client requests into changes that can be made to the supply chain is the key to developing a supply chain that is centered on consumer demands. Although every organization will experience these changes in a unique way, the examples below can get you started on the right track.
Describe the Demands of the Client
After identifying your target market, you must understand their wants and how your products help them to meet those needs. Consider for a moment that your client works as a project manager for a construction company. Their needs likely include:
- They have access to the entire variety of building goods in one area, saving them time from having to visit numerous merchants.
- The ability to fulfil consumer expectations for the most advanced, brand-new building materials.
- Tradesmen will be able to complete projects quickly and without being constrained by a lack of supplies if supplies are delivered on time to specific construction sites.
You may discover what your customers want by asking questions. Make calls to them to find out about their issues and sore regions. Interview them next to find out what they consider to be "must-haves." This can be used to create a succinct list of requirements for each client.
Developing Features That Customers Will Love for Products
The supply chain management team and the product development team should collaborate closely to identify supply and production needs as soon as possible.
Receive early prototypes from the manufacturer so that the product development team can test with customers, get feedback, and iterate.
Establish Availability so that You'll Never Run Out of Clients
Check the following points on how you can establish avaiability so that you would never run out of clients:
- You must sign contracts with different logistics providers in order to have a range of delivery alternatives based on inventory levels and customer demand.
- Include specific quantity targets in your contracts with suppliers and manufacturers to guarantee that they can meet demand.
- By optimizing the order management process, the period between product sales and restocks can be decreased.
Ensure Smooth Delivery to Customer Sites by Optimizing Fleet Routing
Check the following points on how you can ensure smooth delivery to customer sites via optimizing fleet routing:
- Track the locations of your products with IoT devices to quickly identify problems and bottlenecks and resolve them.
- Make use of machine learning, AI, and mapping tools to direct merchandise to the appropriate locations.
Business Case for a Customer-Centric Supply Chain
In-depth analysis will be needed in order to present a convincing business case for a move toward higher client centricity. The following are some of the points to address in your business case:
- What do you think it will cost in terms of time, money, and resources to redesign your supply chain such that it is more customer-centered?
- How will these changes benefit consumers' outcomes?
- What specific benefits can you foresee from a supply chain that is focused on the needs of the customer?
- What is the scope of the project to redesign the supply chain so that it is customer-centric?
- Have you looked into how the market would react to a move toward greater client centricity?
- What specific competitive advantages, revenue increases, and profitability are produced by those upgrades?
- Which internal and external parties need to be involved most are the main stakeholders?
You need the assistance of analysts and stakeholders from various areas of your organization to help you come up with solutions to these difficult problems. The key third parties you engage with are suppliers, manufacturers, and logistics service providers.
Pricing and Quality Can Help you Get the Most Value for your Money
One of the best adjustments your company can make to give itself a competitive advantage is to implement a customer-centric supply chain.
Making the proper adjustments will require a lot of work, but the results will be much better customer experiences that will encourage repeat business and support the expansion of your organization.
- Keep an eye on how your products are being carried and stored to make sure they arrive in good condition and are appropriate for their intended usage.
- Be aware of the various costs incurred throughout your supply chain to enable competitive pricing with the necessary profit margins.
How Deskera Can Assist You?
Deskera ERP is a comprehensive system that allows you to maintain inventory, manage suppliers, and track supply chain activity in real-time, as well as streamline a variety of other corporate operations.
Deskera ERP and MRP system can help you:
- Manage production plans
- Maintain Bill of Materials
- Generate detailed reports
- Create a custom Dashboard
Deskera Books enables you to manage your accounts and finances more effectively. Maintain sound accounting practices by automating accounting operations such as billing, invoicing, and payment processing.
Deskera CRM is a strong solution that manages your sales and assists you in closing agreements quickly. It not only allows you to do critical duties such as lead generation via email, but it also provides you with a comprehensive view of your sales funnel.
Deskera People is a simple tool for taking control of your human resource management functions. The technology not only speeds up payroll processing but also allows you to manage all other activities such as overtime, benefits, bonuses, training programs, and much more. This is your chance to grow your business, increase earnings, and improve the efficiency of the entire production process.
We've arrived at the last section of this guide. Let's have a look at some of the most important points to remember:
- Consumer connectivity is the ability of consumers to access digital content and services from any device, anywhere, anytime. It allows users to access media from their home or office, on their smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other internet-connected device.
- Digital technology is a further crucial element in being able to deliver a customized supply chain. Machine learning and artificial intelligence play a significant role in enabling personalized last-mile deliveries and direct-to-consumer offerings that offer consumers what they want, where they want it, and when they want it.
- Continuity is also another crucial element. Businesses should aim to integrate circular economy practices into their supply chains to guarantee that goods are acquired and handled in an ethical and environmentally sustainable manner.
- SCM platforms that operate in the cloud make the supply chain more agile. This flexibility enables managers to react swiftly and successfully to changing client preferences, market circumstances, and product requirements.
- Through cloud-based SCM systems, business data is transformed into a unique source of value, creating new opportunities for differentiation. Analytics tools in legacy, on-premises systems use operational data to provide insight based on historical trends.
- Cloud-based supply chain management (SCM) apps enable supply chains to respond and change quickly while minimizing interruptions by integrating open standards with contemporary design to handle upgrades. These programmes can also quickly and easily link to already installed business software.
- You may discover what your customers want by asking questions. Make calls to them to find out about their issues and sore regions. Interview them next to find out what they consider to be "must-haves." This can be used to create a succinct list of requirements for each client.