Innovative professionals engaged in procurement and supply chain jobs are increasingly designing supply chains capable of delivering not only goods and services but also outstanding customer experiences, Supply Chain Management Review reports.
Veteran procurement and supply chain journalist Bob Trebilcock refers to the pioneering efforts of Amazon in crafting “the experiential supply chain”, which demonstrates why successful businesses today are going beyond sourcing raw materials for their products and ensuring that their supply chains are responsive and rapid enough to deliver not merely goods and services but also excellent customer satisfaction.
Amazon, for example, has ensured that its entire network is premised on speed and accuracy by situating its distribution centres closer and closer to markets to execute rapid delivery promises.
So crucial is customer experience becoming for practitioners engaged in today’s supply chain jobs that, according to the Wall Street Journal, “businesses from Mastercard to TGI Fridays appoint chief experience officers to examine how customers interact with their products”.
CPOs are now working alongside ‘CXOs’ as a result.
Steve Melnyk, Professor of Supply Chain Management at Michigan State University, has been studying the emergence of the experiential supply chain and finds that growing numbers of businesses strive to achieve ‘P’ status.
P status means becoming the preferred customer or preferred supplier, i.e. the firm that consumers look to first to place an order (again, think Amazon, perhaps the most successful P-status firm on the planet).
P status requires businesses to really know their customers, which in turn requires surgically excising the administrative layers between customers and the people actually working to deliver the goods or service (and the satisfying experience of rapid arrival, intact, at the right destination).
Those in procurement jobs, Melnyk found, are now looking beyond cost to ensure that their supply chains are also characterised by sustainability, innovation, responsiveness, resilience and security.
Emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, analytics and social media are providing them with the tools to focus on customer experience as never before.