Tuesday, 15 January 2019

How to improve Supply Chain Customer Relationships?



    Customer Development focuses on understanding customer problems and needs, developing a repeatable sales model and refining the company to deliver customer demand. Product market means identifying compelling value hypothesis. It is a combination of feature you need to build, an audience who cares, and a business model that entices the customer to buy the product. Customer development broken into 4 phases. Those are,
    1. Customer Discovery
    2. Customer Validation
    3. Customer Creation
    4. Company Building
        The goal of customer discovery is to determine who you are your customers for your product and whether the problem you are solving is important to them. In the validation phase where you build the sales process that can be repeated by sales and marketing team. If you succeed in customer discovery and customer validation, you have a proven business model. In the customer creation which we build on the success found in customer validation and seeks to increase demand for a product. This will help you to fill your company's sales channel with new customers. In the company building phase, different departments are created to separate functions such as sales, marketing, and business development. By implementing these four phases, your company will be directed to success.
       There are some key differences between internal and external customer services. Internal customer service is the situation where we are serving an internal stakeholder, human resources, facilities management, accounting or IT help desk rather than the external customer. If anyone in your company who depends on you to get the job done is probably an internal customer. The goal is to help someone else do their job to an external customer ultimately receives better service. There are a few things that are unique to internal customer service. We might have more frequent interactions with our co-workers. Perhaps, you have coworkers to serve on a daily basis. It leads to a closer relationship than we normally have external customers.
     Building a strong workplace relationships takes time and effort. There are techniques that make easier to make a relationship with your coworker. One is proactively connected with a coworker by initiating conversation with the meeting or over the phone. Another technique is to personalize relationship. You can also develop strong relationships if you demonstrate caring for the other person. Try identifying your key customers and make a point to connect with personalizing your interactions.
      Responsive communication is another part of customer service. We can build trust when we respond quickly to our coworker and customer. The best way to be responsive is to focus on one conversation at a time. When you respond to email, give your full attention so that you can understand what other person wants. Respond thoroughly that reduce the need to go back and forth
and anticipate the next question they will naturally ask.

Exceeding Customer Expectations:  Customers evaluate service quality by how well the experience compare
to their expectations by good, poor or outstanding customer service. Good service is exactly what customer or co-worker is expected. Poor service that falls short of customer expectations, Outstanding customer service is the one that exceeds the customer expectations. You can create the impression of outstanding service with internal customers by these ways,
   * First thing is to do something extra
   * Second thing is to recover from the problem boldly. These heroic moments will not happen very often.
   * The last thing is to do consistently good at every day.
People don't notice the good service at first. Because it was they expected. But, over the time, you will be a go-to person who can always be counted on. So, focus on doing that as you develop a reputation for being a go-to person. The active listening technique of phone, face-to-face, email conversations helps you, what the other person is really trying to say. Also, it will help you to pick up additional meaning that you miss if you'd just quickly scanning the message.
     Sometimes, we need to help our customers to avoid unpleasant surprises by managing the expectations like your internal customer may propose an unreasonable deadline that will be impossible to meet or unforeseen event could make normal service delivery impossible such as delayed shipment from the vendor. So, it is important to look at your calendar for the to-do list and project plans regularly. There are techniques that you can use to avoid unpleasant surprises like,
    * The best thing you can do is be realistic to the commitments by carefully consider the time required when you agree to do something.
    * There will be the times when the things go wrong, despite our best intentions. So, you need to be proactive, especially with bad news. Your customer may not be happy when they hear the problem has happened, but it will be worse when they don't hear about the problem.
   * You can also soften the blow by having solutions ready when you share the bad news. The guiding principle is to help your internal customer avoid unpleasant surprises as much as possible.

Product Ownership: Ownership means taking responsibility for a solution. People who are great at internal customer service recognize the problem can be an opportunity and the chance to be the go-to person by taking ownership of the problem. It is doesn't mean to accept blame or create the problem. The key is making to get the things done. Taking ownership when the problem happens helps you to preserve the trust.
     The best way to solve the problem is to anticipate it and implement a solution before the problem actually occurs. While we can't anticipate every problem, many can be predicted with just a little research. Here are the steps to improve your ability to forecast your issues before they occur. First to think of recent problems. For instance, did you miss a deadline and get a surprising request? Step two is to decide whether it is likely that the problem can happen again. You might think that the error won't happen again. Step three is to identify ways to anticipate this problem should it happen in the future and either prevent it or lessen its impact.
        Angry customers are an unfortunate part of the service situation. People naturally become judgemental, defensive and less open to ideas when they upset. The LAURA technique helps to understand the customer need and allow them to resolve the issue. It Stands for
    L = Listen
    A = Acknowledge
    U = Understand
    R = Relate
    A = Act
 When you encounter your angry co-worker, You could apply this technique that will improve your ability and defuse the negative emotions too.

Supply Chain Management: Your company is part of the SupplyChain. Actually, it is a part of many supply chain. Each of your customers has their own supply chain and you play an important role in making all of them work. If you don't deliver your product or services on time, at the right quality level and for the right price then your customers have supply chain problem.
  Definition of Supply Chain: A supply Chain is a complex network made up of people, processes, and technologies that are engineered and managed to deliver value to the customer. The company makes money by being one link in the long chain of goods and services that are ultimately delivering something to customers who will be willing to pay for. If the chain works properly, every company in the chain makes money.
    If the chain breaks, everyone in the chain suffers. You can visualize the supply chain in 3 flows as
money, material, and information. Money flows from your customer upstream one link at a time all the way to the raw materials of the suppliers. Materials flow downstream, starting from the raw materials to finished products. Information flows upstream and downstream. So, If you are managing the supply chain, your job is to keep those 3 flows moving smoothly and quickly to minimize disturbance and turbulence. Inside the company, there are 3 groups that manage the supply chain related activities. Those are Logistics, Operations and Purchasing groups. Logistics team focuses on improving efficiency by filling trucks and shipping containers with as much material as they can. The operations team may be trying to implement lean manufacturing and just in time deliveries. So these two groups should agree to manage their supply chain effectively.

Sales and Operations Planning(S&OP): One of the challenging tasks in the supply chain is between inventory and customer service levels. Many companies use S&OP as a foundation for aligning the supply and demand in the supply chain. Your sales department drives the demand for your company. S&OP helps you to know that you are buying and making the right amount of product that meets your customer needs.  It has the following steps,
 * First, you need to decide how far in the future you should be planning.
 * If you choose the planning horizon of 1 year, for each of those 12 months you need to develop a sales forecast or a demand plan.
 * Once your sales team is ready to share the demand plan, your operation team review it and create a supply plan.
 * Now, it is to decide that if you have enough machines, peoples, or inventory to meet all of the sales goals. So, the operation team to identify the constraints.
 * Once the constraints are identified, it can be resolved by investing in new equipment or hire more people to do that.
 * Finally, you need to update a plan on a regular cycle. The more volatile the supply and demand are the more frequently you need to revise the S&OP plans.
       The perfect alignment will help you reduce waste, improve agility and create shared accountability for the performance of the entire supply chain.

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