• Inventory Management
  • Supply Chain

The Link Between Supply Chain Visibility and Customer Satisfaction

Written by Mark Gemberling
November 18, 2015

Modern consumers prefer companies that provide convenient data.

Modern consumers prefer companies that provide convenient data.

Maintaining visibility of the supply chain provides company managers with the insight they need to make decisions and formulate plans. However, business stakeholders aren’t the only people with questions. Modern organizations may be wise to use the information generated by supply chain activities to keep consumers in the loop.

If a company uses automated data collection solutions to manage and maintain an efficient supply chain, it needs to find a way to share the real-time information with customer-facing employees and the business’s e-commerce sites. The information must be accurate, timely and easy to find to satisfy the modern consumer.

What Customers Want to Know

When it comes to information about the companies consumers do business with; more is always better.

Some organizations may think customers mainly care about speedy deliveries – and the recent proliferation of retailers offering one-day delivery options certainly supports that idea – but Supply Chain Brain suggested giving consumers clearly defined options is better than just fast service. Yes, some customers will demand quick delivery, but every customer wants an accurate date for shipments. The modern informed consumer knows there are companies that can provide them with product delivery dates and times that fit around their schedule, and will seek them out.

Modern customers also want to know more about the manufacturing process behind their favorite products. For example, Millennial Marketing shared J. Walter Thompson Intelligence findings on the new generation of shoppers, which found 8 of 10 millennial consumers want to know how organizations produce their food. Customers want data that indicates companies manufacture products safely, hygienically and with little damage to the environment.

How They Want the Data

An online consumer audience will most likely prefer to find business information themselves. Fast Company described how the information age created a generation of shoppers who are self-reliant in their pursuit of data. They expect information to be available as they interact with a company and they will jump ship if it isn’t.

Companies should strive to provide relevant data on all of their consumer materials. During the e-commerce checkout process, any insight into the supply chain is crucial to ensuring customers go through with their orders. For example, Supply & Demand Chain Executive reported shoppers would abandon online checkout procedures if the company didn’t display enough information about delivery dates, shipping routes or return policies.

Product descriptions should also feature manufacturing data and inventory management information. When stores sell products – especially products with special handling needs or a reputation for environmental impact – the ability to proudly display the care and specificity that went into production and distribution is paramount to earning modern customer trust.

They Will Find the Information Somewhere

If companies don’t supply customers with the information they need, they will find it somewhere else. The convenience of modern technology means consumers can use personal computing devices to investigate a company in seconds. Forbes advised businesses to provide consumers with as much as information as possible, so audiences don’t stumble upon less-informed, negative opinions.

When a business doesn’t have the details consumers need to plan purchases, they will most likely switch to a competitor. If consumers need to work with a particular company that isn’t forthcoming with supply chain data, they’ll search news sources or online reviews. Forcing consumers to search and speculate doesn’t put them in the best frame of mind.

Any news is better than no news. If a company has complete visibility of its supply chain and warehouse management, it should share the important details with consumers. Modern customers hate to see empty shelves or labels that state the product is currently unavailable. When businesses can fill those blank spaces with insight into when the merchandise will be available again, it keeps audiences informed and interested.