Customer experience, not cost, will drive future supply chains

Some 61% of supply chain and logistics professionals believe that customer experience will overtake cost as the top differentiator in their industry over the next five years, according to a report by BluJay Solutions.

In the study, Focus on Customer Experience: Research on Supply Chain Priorities and Investments, the software company said that successful companies focused on the end result first – the customer experience – as opposed to “starting with a trendy technology and figuring out ways to use it”.

Chief product officer at BluJay Solutions, David Landau, commented: “There’s an interesting case to be made about… starting with an end goal of what to accomplish, then figuring out the how. Companies leading in performance and technology adoption show an emphasis on capabilities that deliver tangible benefits to the customer.”

A total of 438 respondents from industries including manufacturing, retail, and logistics service providers were surveyed, answering questions about innovation, customer experience, and technology.

Chief marketing officer Patrick Maley added that the survey suggested “that customer experience is not only a key driver, but also that being successful in this focus requires seamless partner connectivity and data quality to deliver value efficiently.”

According to the report, real-time freight visibility is one of the hottest investment areas for shippers and logistics providers. Companies that are more electronically connected to their trading partners are also more likely to have better supply chain performance.

Electronic data interchange and email remain the most common ways of exchanging data and information with trading partners, but APIs (computer network links) are gaining ground.

However, the survey uncovered that data quality still leaves room for improvement. Poor data results in lost sales, higher transport costs, excess inventory, and reduced customer satisfaction.

BluJay adds that its findings highlight how important it is for supply chain executives to claim a seat at the leadership table and continue to communicate how the supply chain matters to overall business success.

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