As a Supply Chain Director you are forced to bridgetwo contradictory demands: customer intimacy and operational excellence. And even if you like to deal with challenges, this might cause headaches every once in a while. Maybe you know how to manage them, but do you have the systems to do so? Customer control can have a huge impact on a supply chain, for both logistics service providers (LSP’s) and shippers (manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers).
Orchestrating Customer Demand
Orchestrating customer demand is difficult, certainly within a changing supply chain. Comparing an LSP or shipper in this matter to a real orchestra makes sense. You might be excellent at playing a piece of Mozart, but what if your audience suddenly wants various music pieces to be performed. This might require change of instruments, musicians or the quality of both? Are you still able to fulfil the needs of the spectators that paid to listen ? Orchestrating customer demand will put an enormous pressure on the supply chain performance of your company. And the worrying part of all this is, while the consumer is demanding a change, that the vast majority of enterprises is not able to meet this demand. They lack a system that provides them the desired customer chain control.
E-fulfilment is playing a key role in this changing demand. Ordering products on the internet takes just a few clicks, but as web shops are developing more customer intimate services, they might want to offer a service that combines the shipment of goods, ordered in several shops. Category management of both your own assortment and others’ products requires different supply chain organization and technology. Have you implemented a strategy on the returns management of goods other than your own, including the financial and quality aspect of returning products?
Are your IT-systems able to provide you insight and help you plan shipments? The wheels of a supply chain filled with web shop products are turning quite differently from what you might be used to.
Supply Chain Orchestration Mindmap
And in addition to e-fulfilment operations: customers in several branches are demanding identical quality, speed and focus from their shippers and LSP’s. In pharma for example, with hospitals managing many types of product demands for operations and patient care. From a supply chain excellence point of view you might want to switch every month between providers, based on their performance. But this requires a great deal of agility from your IT-tools. In order to create a bright look on how the right customer control impacts your supply chain, please check the Supply Chain Orchestration Mindmap and inspire yourself with new customer control possibilities.
So, as no Supply Chain Director can hide from the changes to come while holding a position between marketing and operations, you will need to invest in tactics and tools that allow you to differentiate. Which means splitting customer orders info multiple service orders for multiple carriers and other operating parties, making sure the delivery is on time, benefitting from compliance regulation and all within one supply chain orchestration solution.
A regular ERP or supply chain execution system is not suitable to control modern customer demand. You will need a more in-depth order orchestration system. An overlay which allows you to manage your orders according to your customers’ needs. A software solution containing business rules that help you streamline the supply chain orders of multiple commercial divisions proactively. Supply Chain Directors need to be empowered with a smart system to balance the interest of both Sales and Operations.
The Mindmap shows you how you can strengthen your position between the CMO and the COO.