Approach your supply chain with an ‘outside in’ mindset

Although the customer journey is starting to become somewhat of a cliché, that journey is still at the heart of all decision-making in many marketing departments nowadays. Now that the online market is growing by 12% year on year, success is measured in terms of how customers arrive at a buying decision, their reasons for not going through with a purchase and the speed with which they complete a transaction. But that doesn’t mark the end of their journey. In fact, the supply chain manager holds the key to customer satisfaction and repeat business from that point onwards – which is why the customer journey is increasingly featuring on Supply Chain’s agenda too. 


From the outside in

According to Gartner, logistics planners and transport managers should have a stronger ‘outside in’ mindset. In other words, when looking to make supply chain improvements, they should start by thinking about issues such as the customer journey, customer satisfaction and repeat purchases. That requires visibility, but also goes much further because that visibility provides better – and faster – insights into the opportunities and threats. By taking a proactive approach, Supply Chain can play an increasingly important role in achieving the corporate objectives and safeguarding the company’s future.

Tips to help Supply Chain develop a new mindset

It is not always easy to take an ‘outside in’ approach in your day-to-day business, so we’ve put together a number of tips to help you:


Tip 1: Put yourself in the customer’s shoes

What do your customers want to accomplish? What are their goals? Deploy solutions that truly help your customers, such as fully automated order handling, clear tracking & tracing or smart dock scheduling. That means customization rather than one size fits all.


Tip 2: Listen carefully

Open your ears and listen attentively to your customers – and not just literally, when talking to them, but also in terms of analysing their data. Study the steps in the customer’s supply chain and bring all the data together in a user-friendly dashboard. Choose clear KPIs and analyse performance on a daily basis. IDS helps customers to gain supply chain visibility by offering them clear dashboards and reporting.


Tip 3: Make good use of feedback

If customers actually go to the effort of providing feedback, they do so because they hope it will prompt you to take action. So use customer feedback to make improvements in your supply chain. Reflect on their experiences of your supply chain. Which touchpoints ran least smoothly, and why?


Tip 4: Reduce hassle

How can we minimize the ‘hassle’ for our customers? They have to deal with things like time slots for loading and unloading, safety regulations and seasonal peaks, and get annoyed by suppliers who make things unnecessarily difficult for them. At IDS we help our customers to relieve the burden on their own customers, such as by consolidating shipments, selecting the best carrier per shipment or simplifying administrative processes.


Tip 5: Take control

Last but not least, logistics planners and transport managers have a natural talent for aligning goods flows. Therefore, they are ideally positioned to take control on Supply Chain’s behalf and ensure that all internal efforts support the perfect customer journey. The IDS Control Tower provides insight into any bottlenecks and their underlying processes. Scenario planning enables you to identify the best ways to improve the customer journey, and hence to have a direct impact on the end result.


If you’re keen to discuss how this works in practice, contact Arno Spoek, Business Development Manager.