Are you regularly tracking your Customer’s Supply Chain Strategy?

Don’t miss on a key strategic planning tool

“Are we tracking our customer’s strategy?” – this is a question I once asked to one of the senior executives of  a large company I used to work for.  I could see the confusion on their face. What their face was saying to me essentially was – Why the hell should I bother about tracking my customer’s strategy when I have thousands of internal tasks on my plate?

Why bother ?

In this business landscape that is evolving very fast,  if your business is B2B (i.e you are not serving the direct consumer), just like you, your customers are also trying to evolve with customer preferences and needs.

Every time the customer evolves their operating model and business processes,  it impacts your Supply Chain channels.  And therefore it is critical that your customers should be assessed regularly to identify both thir present and the future Supply Chain requirements.

Keep evaluating some key questions regularly (A Manufacturing perspective)

There can not be any one definitive and comprehensive list but the list below should provide you a good direction (from a manufacturing company perspective) on the type of questions you should keep on evaluating against:

  • Can the customer request you to deliver on a very narrow window in the future?
  • If not already, is the customer looking to foray into e-Commerce and will expect you to deliver directly to their customer?
  • Is the customer planning to make radical changes to their Supply Chain footprint, which will impact your Transportation costs and service levels?
  • Are they planning to change their Inventory strategy, expecting their suppliers to hold more inventory for them?

You will need to develop your own list of questions, based on  your unique business situation but the gist is that you must make it a routing process to continue evaluating your customers corporate and operating strategy to make sure you are not caught off-guard in this rapidly evolving dynamic ecosystem.

 

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