- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)
A bit interesting isn’t it? The customer and the supplier bookend the supply chain. Traditionally though, they weren’t generally considered part of supply chain management. Well, no longer.
Customer Relationship Management
Customer needs drive the enterprise. They’re the boss of us. A few decades ago, the media didn’t have the reach and speed it has today. No 300-channel cable TV. No Internet.
Operations were also pretty simple. You developed a new product. You made a ton of it, shipped it out, and people would buy. And buy again.
These days people have choices. A whole Google of it. Basic needs are more than met. Customers are pretty numb. Do we really need another kind of shampoo, soap or toothpaste?
These days, products are being marketed primarily on Twitter and Facebook. Attention spans are MTV like. I’d be lucky if you got this far into this essay.
Expectations are also pretty high. You have to make it easy for me to buy and you have to give it to me yesterday. Think about this. A few years ago, to watch a movie on video, you would have to:
- get dressed
- drive to the video store and rent the video
- drive back home
- watch the movie
- drive to the video store and return the video
- drive back home
That’s a whole lot off activity to watch a video. (Hopefully, the movie was good.) Today, you sit on the couch and press “video-on-demand” on your remote. Or just click a few buttons in your computer.
Companies have to listen more actively than ever to what customers are saying. And no, we’re not talking about expensive market research studies or contrived focus group discussions. Think real time, from the gut comments in Twitter and other social media.
Before, you built a rigid manufacturing operation and gave the customers only what that operation could do. You’re not getting away with that today. If your supply chain can’t adjust to changing customer needs — sometimes even before they change — you might as well stay home.
The operation takes the lead from the customer and cascades this all the way up the chain. Speaking of which…
Supplier Relationship Management
A similar thing happened to the supplier-manufacturer relationship. In the 50s, suppliers would build their operations to support what often was a singular manufacturer.
A lot of suppliers would build their facilities close to the manufacturer’s plant. The manufacturer’s orders were relatively level since they were simply cranking out product as fast they could.
Things are a bit different these days, yes?
- products are more complex, requiring many more components
- components are non-standard
- suppliers are located all over the world
And hence the development of supplier relationship management. The supply chain is as strong as the weakest link right? Well, if you want to compete in that world described above, you have to control your entire chain — right from the very start.
Since the range of topics is pretty narrow, the treatment is pretty detailed. So don’t underestimate this module.
APICS CSCP Hub
You can get our Real World take on all four modules at the APICS CSCP Hub. There you’ll also find other helpful resources on the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional program.
If you want to go to the other modules immediately, the quick path is below.
Module 3 – This is where you are now.
And finally, if you’re currently preparing for the CSCP exam, maybe you’d like to check out 1000 Certified Supply Chain Professional Questions. It’s a 294-page ebook containing over 1000 CSCP practice questions. In addition to the ebook, you also get access to the Real World Supply Chain team. This means that if you get stuck on any question or topic, you always have an instructor to help you out. Check it out now.