To Maintain Customer Loyalty, Rethink Supply Chain Strategies

Dustin Caudell
Fri, Jan 18, 2013


In order for companies to be successful, executives must be confident that they are delivering the right product to the right audience at the right time. Considering the increasingly fickle nature of trends and all of the potential issues that can arise, accomplishing this task iseasier said than done. However, with the right training and data collection tools, manufacturing industry insider Mark Humphlett wrote in a recent Industry Week article that this elusive goal is feasible.

The key though, according to Humphlett, is for enterprises to always be one step ahead of the competition. It is no longer enough to be the first entry into a marketplace, as today's companies need to have an agile supply chain in place that can quickly ship goods and services around the world with ease.

"Product introduction is the real test of a manufacturer's ability to respond in a nimble, agile manner to today's fast changing market conditions," Humphlett wrote. "The innovation must not only meet the demographics' expectations (perhaps even before the intended audience knows what it wants), but it must also be engineered in a way that anticipates the availability of raw materials and costs."

Take Apple Computers for example. While the company pioneered mobile technology with its iPhone and iPad, former Apple CEO John Sculley told Bloomberg that Samsung and other competitors have been able to wrestle away the manufacturer's once significant market lead by having a more nimble supply chain capable of producing a product of comparable quality at a lower price.

Importance of Data Gathering for Supply Chain Management
The key to being able to effectively get a product to market is by having a nimble and efficient supply, but Humphlett said that can only be achieved when a company has the right data collections tools in place.

A company's goal should be to have as much information as possible about all aspects of its supply chain. Business decisionmakers need to be empowered with the solutions that allow them to spot potential problems before they start so that the company has adequate time to redirect resources to address the issue. The only way an organization can hope to have such an actionable and transparent supply chain, according to Humphlett, is through the use of supply chain software and other top-of-the-line data collection tools.

"In today's highly competitive environment, every opportunity to increase productivity is essential," he wrote. "The ability to make actionable decisions based on real time data is one way to empower personnel to achieve more during their day. Convenient access to relevant data helps personnel to make well-informed decisions, streamline processes, anticipate needs, focus on priorities and plan strategic use of resources."

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