Tag Archive: customers

e-Commerce & the Rise of Online

June 9th, 2020

According to the statistics as well as client commentary, e-Commerce sales and online everything is on fire:

  1. According to data from Adobe Analytics, the second half of March saw a 25% increase in e-commerce sales.
  2. Even more impressive, Adobe said that April saw a 49% increase in U.S. e-commerce sales!
  3. Of ALL our clients, the only unanimous area of growth during COVID-19 was in e-commerce sales.
  4. According to a Gartner CFO survey, 74% intend to shift some employees to remote work permanently.

 

Thus, the key question is whether you are proactively thinking about online opportunities. If not, get ready to see your competitors rush by.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

Undoubtedly, you should be thinking about online from all angles:

  1. E-commerce (B2C): If you haven’t started offering e-commerce capabilities, you better evaluate rapidly and get on board. There are several options for how to pursue this opportunity. You can offer direct e-commerce with your website. You can go through a partner with key customers and folks such as Amazon. The bottom line is that your customer doesn’t care how you provide the capability but they expect to be able to order easily.
  2. B2B: If you serve other businesses, you cannot ignore these trends because you don’t sell to consumers. Your customers expect a B2B customer portal with the same type of e-commerce capabilities that Amazon provides. We have been helping a client with a systems roadmap, and it is quite clear that the “80/20” from the customer and sales viewpoint is Amaon-like capabilities (with an almost exclusive focus on B2B currently). Nothing else is sufficient.
  3. Supply chain partners: What are your customers, suppliers and other supply chain partners offering?
  4. Employees: Remember, your employees expect you to have Amazon-like capabilities and online capabilities as well. This perception spills over into all aspects of the business.
  5. Online is more than B2B/B2C: Have you thought about how COVID-19 has forever changed the way we do business? After all, if Gartner thinks 74% will change to remote work in some fashion, that is a HUGE change. How will that change your industry, your supply chain and your employees’ needs?

E-commerce was already on the rise, and COVID-19 gave it a strong boost. As with everything, there are advantages (such as the consumer gaining quick delivery of essential items) and disadvantages or challenges (managing freight costs, reconfiguring warehousing operations and space requirements, implementing technology rapidly, figuring out how to be environmentally-friendly delivering to tons of consumers and many more issues). Those who are most successful in proactively thinking through these considerations and creating strategies will thrive whereas the rest are likely to struggle significantly. Which avenue will you pursue? Read more about this topic as well as your strategy, priorities, key trends, and your restart recipe for success in my eBook,  Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19 . If you are interested in a rapid assessment, please contact us.



Being Featured on Bloomberg & the Rise of Reshoring

June 3rd, 2020

Of course, it was very exciting to be featured on Bloomberg’s ‘What’d You Miss?’ show! It speaks to the rising popularity of reshoring that Bloomberg is searching for supply chain experts to talk about reshoring and whether it makes sense.

NOTE: I am about half-way through the segment if you’d like to watch the show.

As I said on Bloomberg, of course, the answer of whether you should reshore is “it depends”; however, it is becoming quite attractive for many industries and situations. At a minimum, review whether it makes sense to source manufacturing closer to your end customers. If you need a push, look no further than the Amazon-like customer requirements, increasing labor costs in China, the lessening importance of labor costs as the Future in Manufacturing panel discussed, the risk of disruption (tariffs, COVID-19, natural disasters etc.) and more. I discuss this topic in depth in my eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19.

 We have also launched a rapid Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain assessment if you’d like assistance in evaluating for your particular situation. Contact us if you are interested. Stay safe and healthy. We continue to post coronavirus resources, write blog articles on navigating coronavirus as well as “beyond lockdown” strategies, and we are sponsoring APICS Inland Empire‘s “Navigating Through Volatility” webinar series. Join us and learn more here



Are You Developing Close Relationships with Your Customers?

May 17th, 2020

During turbulent times, relationships move faster than at any other time. Will they move in a positive direction or a negative one? That is the only question. In fact, customers will be reevaluating what they buy and when they buy it. Consumer behaviors are evolving and business buying behaviors are evolving. Are you in the loop with your customers as to what is top of mind? Listen to our conversation with an expert in creating customer loyalty on our Navigating Through Volatility webinar series on creating a Forever Transaction.

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?

As a customer, I have less patience with slow response when I need it the most. Our customers are no different. On the other hand, a few suppliers stand out in my mind in making my life easier and being ahead of the curve. I will remember that as the pandemic winds down. Identify your top customers and make sure your relationships are moving rapidly in a positive direction. In fact, it is appropriate to drop low priority or unprofitable customers. Otherwise, your key customers might not gain the value they would otherwise.

Look for opportunities to provide value. Ask questions to understand your key customers’ current situation and what would help. Simply look for opportunities to help your customers be successful. If you can offer help and/or ideas, it can go a long way! Don’t worry about expanding business during your conversation. Provide value and your customers will be more successful. When your key customers are successful, you’ll be more successful as well. I’ve addressed this topic as well as your strategy, priorities, key trends, and your restart recipe for success in my eBook,  Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19 

Please share your stories, challenges, ideas and successes. Contact us and please join in our free webinar series and listen to our archives.



Immediate Strategy

May 7th, 2020

Do you want to be Amazon or Sears? Sears used to be the Amazon of its time, but they failed to change with the times. There is little life left in this former powerhouse of retail. On the other hand, Amazon continues to evolve and is clearly doing quite well in these trying times. In fact, our clients are experiencing growth across the board in only one category – e-commerce. Amazon continues to rule the day!

As I state in my eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19, if you want to be more like Amazon, you will rethink strategy but NOT like you might think. It should not be a lengthy process that looks across multiple years. Instead, create an ‘immediate strategy.’ What does that look like? Read about an immediate, 3 and 9-month strategy in the eBook:

  1. Immediate Strategy: Focus on establishing immediate priorities, assessing risks and understanding your customers, suppliers and other partners.
  2. 3-Month Strategy: Focus on how to keep moving forward and increasing value
  3. 9-Month Strategy: Focus on how to redesign to take advantage of the opportunities

As you think through the strategies outlined and determine your path forward, please keep us in the loop. We are interested in your journey, what works, and what pitfalls to avoid so that we can share insights and ideas. Don’t worry. We will protect the innocent; however, keep in mind one of the tenets of the eBook is to fail forward with innovation. Those who innovate will have a unique opportunity to sail past the competition as the world creates a new normal over the next year. If you’d like to discuss your strategy, please contact us.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

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Leadership As We Emerge from the Pandemic

May 6th, 2020

“Whatever You Are, Be a Good One.” – Abraham Lincoln

All bets are off. No matter what type of leader you were pre-pandemic, your opportunity is now. Relationships move faster during times of crisis than any other time. Simply become the leader you know you can be. Everyone has the potential. Use your strengths. Gather your team to build on that strength. Move forward.

 

Be Calm

During these unprecedented times, there is substantial emotional turmoil. Start with self-management. Demonstrate calmness. Communicate clearly. Be patient, yet firm. Be upfront and tell people what you can tell them and tell them what you cannot tell them. Do not avoid them. People will make up a situation worse than reality every time. Instead, be upfront. Let them know that they will be the first to know when you know or are able to communicate. Establish trust and hold it closely.

Offer Resources & Communicate Frequently

Offer information and resources to help employees, customers, suppliers and other partners navigate these volatile times. Even the strongest of people should consider EAP (Employee Assistance Program) resources. Make sure that resources are communicated clearly so that employees can take advantage of what is available. Keep communicating – even if there is no news.

Read our eBook, Future-Proofing Manufacturing & Supply Chain Post COVID-19 to hear about additional strategies to lead, keep your teams moving forward, and engage your people in the future. There is ZERO doubt that leadership will make or break not only employee and customer engagement but also bottom line business results. As my HR mentor used to say, “It begins and ends with leadership.” Thanks to Debra Daniels-Smith as I couldn’t provide nearly the value to clients without her valuable counsel when I was VP of Product Supply for a mid-market healthcare products manufacturer.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:

All Roads Lead Back to People
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