The Path to Outstanding Customer Experience
The final in our series covering the “Five Actions for Supply Chain Leaders in 2021,” step 5 closes with the expectations of an outstanding customer experience with better visibility, the right information at the right time, and decision-making based on predictive and prescriptive analytics.
Use Technology to Deliver Your Promise
Recognize that your B2B customers have grown accustomed to e-commerce visibility, information, and real-time activity alerts. As a result, they want assurance that their transaction will be completed as promised unless otherwise alerted.
There are, of course, hundreds if not thousands of opportunities to disrupt the goal of delivering perfect orders to the customer, but they are often hidden. The real need is one view of all the data. Only then can you synchronize information from production to warehousing to transportation for final delivery. Only then can you proactively compensate for port congestion on inbound containers, truckload shipment delays, parts shortages for production, or delayed orders from fulfillment/distribution centers.
This is where today’s digital technology can be your best customer service representative, delivering consistent performance and building loyalty among your B2B customers. The good news is this digital technology, automation, and analytics can be implemented in 2 to 3 months with little burden on your IT team. And with the right approach and the willingness to embrace collaboration beyond the four walls, you’ll avoid the common mistake of using technology to digitize a suboptimal legacy system. You will achieve remarkable, end-to-end improvement.
Don’t Hide the Truth in Silos.
Much of today’s supply chain technology is designed to solve problems in specific areas such as production, warehouse, transportation, purchasing, and related niches. The result has been more optimized loads, greater pick accuracy, less dwell time, etc., but these disparate systems create silos of valuable data and not the needed synergy among the other systems in the ecosystem. Having pockets of perfection does not create a single point of view (POV) into your order. That single POV, a dashboard of data on all orders, is what creates the near-perfect customer experience. And that builds brand loyalty.
Companies and their trading partners can synchronize forecasts, production, order and inventory management, and distribution capabilities. That synchronization improves operational efficiencies and customer service and ultimately helps you consistently deliver the perfect order. When you can measure how each supply chain activity contributes to cost and service, you’ll have the tools to identify areas requiring optimization.
The solution is to engage with a cloud-based, platform as a service (PaaS) such as ActiVate® that can integrate disparate systems and data streams from all your trading partners into harmonious data sets: a single POV. In addition to eliminating silos, this collaborative platform provides data management tools, analytics, and dashboards to quickly make data-driven decisions while also benchmarking performance, tracking KPIs and report cards, and generating actionable intelligence for data-driven continuous improvement. Your customers will grade you; you will grade yourself.
Said another way, the transparency created by this single view environment is essentially the purest form of truth in supply chain management.
See Yourself as Your Customer Sees You
Without data flow transparency in the supply chain ecosystem and visibility of pertinent KPIs, companies won’t provide the required business and customer experience or even know how they are performing to improve these metrics. Businesses also want to know the statuses from that single POV. And that real-time visibility of orders, inventories, and shipments status provide the customer experience they expect. Companies that can manage their supply chain with agility will have a strategic advantage in serving their customers and providing a better experience.
There’s never been a better time to engage a PaaS. As a multi-tenant, cloud-based solution, ActiVate connects participating supply chain partners, regardless of what systems they use for their business. That means, for example, your TMS and WMS, your carriers’ dispatch and routing system, and your customers’ order processing, EDI and ERP systems view the same data at the same time, typically on dashboards. For many users, ActiVate is the starting point of the digital transformation of their supply chain, giving them access to a technology platform that is well beyond the capabilities of their legacy system. This integration, visibility, collaboration, and analytics capabilities lead to better coordination of supply chain operations – all in real-time. The digital supply chain enables holistic decision-making with better supply and demand balancing as well as understanding the trade-offs of any decision.
Activ Technologies offers a cloud-based, multi-enterprise platform that digitally transforms supply chain processes and presents a pathway for supply chain transformation. Want more information about ActiVate PaaS? See the product sheet for more information.
Download Activ’s eBook, Your Roadmap to Supply Chain Digital Transformation.
Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics: The Blame GameApril 21, 2021/