I’m in process of teaching my first APICS CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional) session, and earlier today I taught a section on CRM.  In addition, I’ve been helping clients select the “right” ERP system to best meet their business priorities, and CRM has emerged as a top priority.  The bottom line is that more executives are thinking about how to better leverage customer relationship management processes and technology to create customer loyalty.  Also, the better you know your customers, the better your supply chain performance can be.

CRM can help you track your sales pipeline (potential customers), understand your customers and contacts (what are their preferences, pricing, status etc.), track your promotions, and manage your marketing communications.  Most modern ERP systems have CRM capabilities – have you considered how you can leverage this functionality to to grow your business and better serve your customers?

One tip to implement this week:
You might wonder what you can do with CRM if you do not have CRM software.  Plenty!  Take a few minutes to think about your customer relationships.  Pick up the phone and talk with your customer. Ask your Customer Service and/or Sales folks.  Find out more about their needs.  Consider taking your customers’ point of view – what value could you provide that they might be interested in?  What ideas or suggestions might be helpful?  Typically no money or capital is needed to show your customers you value them; only effort and thought is required.  At a minimum, they will know you value the relationship.