The Customer-Centric Supply Chain

In response to How Customer-Centric Supply Chains Can Fuel Growth

The title says it all; it’s abundantly clear. For an organization to succeed, it needs to be “Customer-Centric,” but what exactly does that mean?

An approach to doing business that focuses on creating a positive experience for the customer by maximizing service and/or product offerings and building relationships.

Jake Frankenfield

This definition, however, is still vague. “Positive experience” can mean many things for many different people. I think about this in the context of ordering pizza. We all enjoy pizza. Plain and simple, right? Wrong. Everyone has different pizza preferences.

When I walk into a pizza parlor, I want a thin crust pizza topped with onions and jalapeños. I want my pizza to be hot but not too hot. Crispy but not too crispy. Other people, however, may want a hand-tossed pie with extra cheese and other toppings. Our version of a “positive experience” is different.

Then how can companies create a customer-centric supply chain? One word: adaptable. In the article, the writers stated that flexibility is critical – and it is. A supply chain designed with adaptable measures will be able to meet all of the diverse needs customers desire.

Providing on-demand and personalized products and services is also crucial.

Kris Timmermans and Mark George, SCB Contributors

In my operations management class, we used the framework “Quality Function Deployment” to discuss this idea. It’s the idea of having the customer in mind from the very beginning until the very end of the process. It’s listening to the customer’s wants, needs, and desires.

Moving forward in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic all organizations who want to sustain and survive need to do one thing: listen to customers and implement the customer’s voice. Sounds easy enough? But many challenges continue to persist. How can companies find the customer’s voice? How can they implement the customer’s voice? That’s a topic for another post.

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