As any client solution is developed, it is critical to learn as much as possible about the end of the client’s supply chain — their customer. The success with a client is largely dependent on maximizing customer satisfaction. Not only is it essential to focus on how a client defines success with their customer, but also it is important to identify and address their customer’s challenges, frustrations and concerns.
With the complications involved in today’s supply chains, many businesses serve two distinct customer groups: Business to Business (B2B), typically through a big box retail channel, and Business to Consumer (B2C) through a web interface, direct to consumer. The same product, but two entirely different sets of supply chain challenges — and it is critical to define the ideal “End” when serving each of these verticals.
B2B solutions must be designed principally to focus on retail vendor compliance; effecting delivery within the Purchase Order’s window, optimum placement of inventory to facilitate delivery within PO windows, insuring the customer’s product meets proper configuration standards at time of delivery, etc. All requirements are keys to satisfying the customer’s customer in the big box channel. The ideal end is a perfect vendor scorecard in terms of PO delivery. And the solution must be constructed with this specific end in mind. Logistics partners not only have to be experienced in fulfillment and distribution into the big box channel, but also they must be absolutely sensitive to the critical importance of the vendor scorecard.
B2C solutions present a completely different set of supply chain challenges. Speed is never unimportant, but speed takes a backseat to delivery reliability and product condition at the time of delivery. Plus, the end customer in the B2C channel typically wants a menu of delivery options: inside delivery through the front door, delivery to room of choice, product setup, removal of packaging material, etc. The delivery must be perfect in the eyes of a consumer and the B2C consumer has all the power in this channel — in their ability to submit a review of the product and the delivery experience. B2C vendors know well that the product review is the key to their future. Studies show that 90% of consumers trust in peer reviews on the web, versus 14% believing in traditional advertising. Therefore, the perfect end for the B2C vendor is an excellent consumer review listed on their website. And the solution must be constructed with this end in mind: focusing on logistics partners that have a distinguished background in residential delivery, excellent claims ratio, high-end service menu, etc.
Yes, producing savings is a critical component in winning any 3PL relationship with a multi-channeled business. But a solution that is focused on the satisfaction of the client’s customer in every channel will keep the relationship strong.