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How customers influence future planning

How customers influence future planning

The pressure to develop a customer-oriented supply chain has been growing for years, a timeline that the global COVID-19 pandemic has drastically accelerated. As a result, companies from various industries began to reorient their supply chains to new customer requirements. Now and in the post-pandemic world, people expect personalized recommendations for the items they buy, the ability to track their orders in real-time, and the ability to execute “fit for purpose.” Companies lagging in these new needs will be dominated by their competitors.

Consumer experience distinguishes companies, while in history, the emphasis is on the product as the only engine of value. By enabling an agile supply chain that enriches the customer experience and enables new ways to meet customer requirements, companies can set themselves up for success by putting customers at the forefront of their business model.

That’s where the evolution of the supply chain is vital. It allows companies to adapt to current business requirements and alleviate the pressure created by these increased customer expectations and experiences. By focusing on segmented supply chain models, companies can move away from supply chain projects that have focused on the quantity of the product with the lowest price and focus on providing exemplary service to achieve segmented strategic business goals in the customer base.

In most companies, planning is fragmented and focused on sales, marketing, financial functions, and supply chain. Lack of synergy and visibility in other work processes often leads to negative results that can undermine the company’s overall performance. The main challenge for balancing supply and demand has existed since the beginning of the supply chain, and the process and technologies continue to evolve to help address it.

Companies now have access to vast amounts of data, such as consumer trends, demographics, channels, customers, inventory, and supplies in an extended supply chain. Tremendous advances have been made in analytical capabilities, including machine learning and artificial intelligence, which allow the use of this data to create valuable information in ways that have never been possible before. Also, powerful new tools are now available to help companies get an idea of ​​their business by continuously planning a wide range of scenarios using the digital twin and automating manual and long-term activities.

The future of planning shines bright, and with it comes compelling opportunities for industries to reshape the way they define and fulfill their promise to inspire a deep focus on the client in everything they do. But reaching that future will not be quick or easy. For any company that wants to take this path, the first step is to define what the company plans to look like in five years.

A clear vision helps companies prioritize planning, which will help them perform extraordinarily to move from the outlined ideas today to what is possible tomorrow. Planning according to this vision will also require innovative capabilities with the right functional and technical skills, infrastructure, leadership, and financial support to realize the vision of fundamental change.

 

As said earlier, planning plays a vital role in the company’s ability to meet customer needs. With increasing pressure among industries to make the supply chain more customer-oriented to support growth, the question facing supply chain leaders is not whether they need to change the way of planning. It’s about how they transform planning and how quickly they can solve a centuries-old problem that has been disrupting the supply chain for decades: an optimal balance between supply and demand.

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