As a marketer in the supply chain industry, I know firsthand how impactful the function is to the global economy.
But over time, I've realized that it's critically important to another key area that might surprise you: brand.
“Brand” is a broad term, so I’ll be specific. Your brand is defined by what your company stands for and what makes you different. It is the inherent promise that you make to your customers, and it is the reason they will choose your company over the competition.
Marketing can tell any story, but if your brand can’t deliver it — literally — that gravely impacts how well it can compete.
In a world where customer expectations abound, that promise is more dependent than ever on an efficient and resilient supply chain. Marketing can tell any story, but if your brand can’t deliver it — literally — that gravely impacts how well it can compete.
As the speed of delivery becomes one of the most important factors in the overall customer experience, your supply chain strategy drives your brand’s success.
The breadth of products that customers want access to only continues to grow in number and complexity, putting tremendous stress on everyone servicing the supply chain.
Adding to the stress, customers demand nearly instantaneous sourcing, and your ability to meet that expectation is often the key to winning a sale.
According to our original research study, this is one of the top challenges for shippers; the smaller the shipper, the more difficult it is to keep up.
The reality is that, as challenging as it may be, businesses must constantly align with those expectations to compete and succeed.
Today's customer, B2B or B2C, demands a seamless customer experience, and as a result, the supply chain has become the most critical function in creating and maintaining competitive advantage.
Supply Chain Drives Customer Experience
With the mass adoption of ecommerce, we’ve all grown accustomed to enjoying instant gratification and unprecedented levels of ease.
Shipping used to be something we expected to pay and wait for; now, that expectation has quickly shifted to free and fast — even same day.
So how do we provide an experience that delivers on those expectations? It starts with understating what’s important to the customer.
It’s a simple idea that grows more and more complex as these preferences and value factors are constantly changing — but it’s worth the effort.
According to research from the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), 61% of supply chain professionals believe that customer experience will overtake both price and product as the no. 1 brand differentiator within the next 5 years.
What the customer wants, the customer gets. And what they want has translated into new and evolving challenges to the supply chain—or else.
61% of supply chain professionals believe that customer experience will become the no. 1 brand differentiator by 2024.
What About the Delivery Experience?
Most often, the discussion around the “customer experience” concentrates on the end customer, but within the supply chain, there are actually several experiences that matter.
Shippers strive to be viewed as a “Shipper of Choice” in order to gain the favor of carriers. Carriers seek the same accolade in order to secure the most shipments and revenue opportunities.
Achieving either requires a focus on the experience that both stakeholders have across the entire process — from shipment to dock to shelf.
A supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link — poor experiences damage the brand and impact productivity, and both have impact on the bottom line.
At Coyote, our work impacts the experience of the shipper, carrier and receiver. We take that responsibility seriously because we know how every touchpoint counts; it’s your brand promise at stake and ours.
Your Business Can’t Compete if Your Supply Chain Can’t Deliver
It’s easy to lose sight of the holistic view a customer has of the brand. Every interaction either adds to or detracts from their perception.
So, while the marketing campaigns are being crafted with care and the promo codes cranked out in droves, we need to think about all the other impactful touchpoints.
It all comes down to this: in a time when customer experience has become the most important differentiator across practically every industry and vertical, we need to be asking a critical question: “Is our customer experience ready to compete?”
And the answer to that question, more and more, is dependent on the supply chain.