Results-oriented Supply Chains Gain Momentum

CDOs understand the value of CX. But much of the research was focused on the consumer end and the frontlines of business.

The BluJay Solutions research titled Focus on Customer Experience: Research on Supply Chain Priorities and Investments highlighted that CX is becoming vital for entire supply chains.

In the research, conducted by Adelante SCM, in partnership with the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), 61% of respondents ranked CX as more important than price and product for brand differentiation in the next five years.

There is a difference in opinion between large companies with their smaller rivals. More respondents from large companies (31%) rated customer experience lower than other factors.  Only 18% of smaller companies had a similar view, showing that many see CX as a competitive tool. 

“The second annual survey goes further to suggest that customer experience is not only a key driver but also that being successful in this focus requires seamless partner connectivity and data quality to deliver value efficiently,” said Patrick Maley, BluJay’s chief marketing officer.

The focus on CX is highlighting the value and shortcomings of data. While EDI and email are still common for partner-to-partner communications in a supply chain, APIs are gaining ground. Innovators and early adopters lead it.

But data quality is posing a considerable hurdle. Poor quality obscures supply chain visibility. The results: lost sales, higher transportation costs, excess inventory, and reduced customer satisfaction.

The study argued that companies need to define roles and responsibilities around data quality clearly. They also need to start viewing it as a valuable asset worthy of investment.

Supply chain companies are starting to realize this. The survey noted that 22% see BI/Analytics as their top investment for supply chains. Visibility (21%) and transportation (16%) came in second and third, respectively.

Real-time freight visibility is especially becoming a hot investment area for shippers and logistics service providers. It is also closely related to enhanced customer experience, said the respondents.

The focus on CX and investment in data analytics is creating a new trend of the results-oriented supply chain.

“As opposed to starting with a trendy technology and figuring out ways to use it, there’s an interesting case to be made from this data about having greater success with a 'results-oriented supply chain' approach; that is, starting with an end goal of what to accomplish, then figuring out the how,” said David Landau, chief product officer, BluJay Solutions.

“Companies leading in performance and technology adoption show an emphasis on capabilities that deliver tangible benefits to the customer.”