Chargebacks can account for as much as 5% of Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS). How can closer integration with your customer help you move to a demand-driven supply chain that improves customer satisfaction and gets you paid more quickly?
Every commercial organization wishes to continually increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. It is essential to increase sales and enhance the profitability of each sale. Implementing B2B solutions allows an organization to become more and more responsive to customers while eliminating the errors that detract from the services it provides. More than this, integrating with customer systems can help cement the customer relationship.
In order to respond effectively to customer requests requires a fully integrated supply chain where data is available and visible in real time. Your B2B systems must be able to address your customer’s internal business processes and have the flexibility to accommodate changes as they occur. This gives you the foundation to automate entire supply chain processes where a customer order immediately triggers inventory replenishment from a supplier without any input from you.
Areas to address: Removing barriers to trade
As with any trading partner, onboarding customers is a significant challenge. You are extremely lucky if you have a blank sheet on which to build your B2B infrastructure with a new customer. More likely, they will already have their own B2B documents; they will want to using a variety of communication protocols; and they comply with different technical standards. This is further complicated as your customer is likely to have deployed their own unique version of that standard.
Areas to address: Increasing customer satisfaction
A single error in the data within a purchase order can easily lead to the wrong items being delivered to customers—or delays occur in the supply chain as the error is identified and rectified. This can be costly in terms of call-offs, penalties and cancelled orders. The paradox is the more documents that you automate—PO, invoice, ASN, etc.—the more responsive you are to customers but the more easily and quickly an error can permeate throughout your supply chain and other business systems. Ensuring the quality of data is essential but, once in place, you have the information you need to better manage the performance of yoursuppliers in delivering higher customer service levels.
Areas to address: From supply to demand driven
The traditional approach to processing a customer order is highly inefficient and costly in terms of inventory management and over-stocking. But the ability to fully implement an on-demand order process relies on just-in-time processes throughout your supply chain. Once you receive a new customer order, the data must immediately populate all the necessary systems and each must have the autonomy to complete its part of the process while communicating with other systems to ensure the most efficient route for raw materials to customer door. This requires both the technical capabilities and a high degree of trust with your trading partners.
The role of B2B Managed Services
Using B2B Managed Services helps you reduce and control the cost and complexity of integrating with your customer’s business processes. The real benefit is that outsourcing this element can let you concentrate on the customer relationship rather than the underpinning technology. As you look to increase customer satisfaction or move to a demand-driven approach, you can concentrate on the business strategy with the knowledge that you have access to a global network of trading partners—manufacturers, suppliers, logistics providers, financial institutions—that allows you to quickly onboard new customers and gain end-to-end visibility to the supply chain that will support them.
Issues to consider
- Does the technical integration overhead stop you doing business with some customers?
- Can you trade electronically with customers anywhere in the world?
- Are errors and problems within your B2B systems adding to your cost of sale?
- Are delayed or inaccurate shipments affecting your customer satisfaction?
- Do you have visibility across your extended supply chain?
- Do you have real-time B2B data available to make informed business decisions?
- Could your supply chain support a demand-driven business strategy?