How to Give the Customer a Comfortable Journey?

Customer Experience, Marketing and Sales | Co-creation | Published 27. Jul. 16

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HL Group's Customer Business Services Director Jaana Inberg believes that customer experience is about the business putting itself in the shoes of the customer and making sure that any discomfort felt will be addressed. How does it play out for suppliers?

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A successful customer experience can’t be achieved through a siloed, stand-alone, or individual, approach, but through a collective and collaborative effort by the whole organization, according to HL Group’s Customer Business Services Director Jaana Inberg. In supply chain, customers must feel the supplier’s commitment to understand their difficulties and challenges and also see their efforts in their resolution. How to give that kind of commitment and delivery? By creating a dedicated culture and developing the necessary IT capabilities to support it.

Get to the Bottom of the Issue

Today, suppliers can help customers identify the main challenges and set up their priorities. It’s no longer just the landed cost as invoiced that matters to the customer, but also the process execution and indirect and transactional costs. The number one agenda on the supplier’s table then must be to ask the right questions and identify the major problem – is it about inbound punctuality, long lead times, and big liability risks? What’s causing high expenditures and unreliable deliveries, could something be wrong with the purchasing master data? How to handle numerous relationships? And the list goes on.

Once the main problem is identified, “The suggested concept must be a fact-based business case,” says Inberg.

As the customer’s decision impacts not only sourcing and procurement, but also warehousing and inventory control, the parties in the supplier’s organization as well as the external chain need to clearly understand their role in the E2E environment.

Be Proactive

Meet Customers’ Automated Integration Requirements. This is how important automated integration is for customers: majority of customer companies require it for order intake. Suppliers must understand that with that fact, there’s really no room for offline collaboration. This means that they need to match any automation created on the customers’ end.

Offer to Do it for Them if You Could. “Why should the responsibility of a contract execution follow-up (with lower tier subcontractors) fall on the customers?” asks Inberg, and adds that it would be more efficient if suppliers deal with it and just let the customer step in as needed. “This won’t take away the customer’s accountability in managing their supply chain. It’s just the customer outsourcing that part of their operation.” 

Upgrade. Lastly, suppliers must upgrade the following:

  • Interfaces – to boost real-time collaboration capabilities.
  • Response to compliance issues.
  • E2E supply and value chain understanding and E2E processes and KPIs.
  • Understanding of handover points and possible risks and gaps.
  • Development road mapping and planning capabilities.

HL Group will be attending our 600Minutes Supply Chain and Procurement event on the 28th of September 2016 in Finland as a solution provider. For more on our upcoming events, visit the Event Calendar » 


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