Preparing for a disruptive future: how to become more customer centric

Date : 30 November 2018

Supply chain innovation has huge potential to deliver business growth. We’ve been examining how your business can capture this opportunity, in our new research: Supply Chains for Growth

And we’ve identified 10 areas you can work on now to head in the right direction. They’re grouped according to our four-pillar framework of supply chain excellence: customer centric; powered by people; resilient and responsive; transformed by technology. 

Read on for three ways to make your supply chain more customer centric. 

1. Retail and shopper awareness

It will be essential for supply chain professionals to have both time and access to gather insight on your market and customers. Empower and incentivise your teams to collect and act on these insights. If you have a specialist insight team, ensure it connects with your supply chain team and not just your demand-generating functions.

2. Embrace complex operations

Fragmentation, change and complexity are the new normal, so they must be central to future thinking. This means your expectations will need to be regularly reset. You need to find processes and ways of working which combine flexibility AND low cost, not trade one against the other. 

The factories of the future will be developed in line with this agenda. But if you aren’t ready for this investment, a renewed focus on fast changeovers could move you forward. 

Consider also the wider use of late-stage customisation or more local supply partners (like micro-manufacturing or vertical farming close to production). In logistics, for example, equipment to easily create mixed pallets or pick groceries at individual unit level could help deliver this. And you could also rethink organisational structures to include more end-to-end experts, floating resource or agile cross-functional teams.

3. Commit to trust

As you establish new and more flexible partnerships, you will almost certainly confront lack of trust as a barrier. This is essential to overcome. Challenge yourself and your other business leaders to give the benefit of the doubt and to take a more trusting mindset. Usually, if you genuinely understand your trading partners’ motives, you will find they are operating in good faith. 

Create truly two-way partnerships. Initiatives that put the customer at the heart are typically win-win. Base these on facts and data which can make improvement opportunities clear and indisputable.

Download our free report today to start creating supply chains for growth.

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