Today we live in the world of customized products, a customer-oriented supply chain, and flexible services. The contemporary customers are becoming more and more demanding towards the goods they can purchase, and the services available. At the same time, product manufacturers and service provides are becoming more and more driven by the customers’ opinions. Customer satisfaction today is the most significant criteria for the evaluation of the success and reputation of any business.
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These days customers determine how the product is marketed, which strategies it uses, its appearance, and its attributes. Even the product itself and the need for it are determined by the consumers. The supply chain and the background of a product is an aspect of growing interest in the contemporary world. When it comes to food, consumers want to be aware of its sources and ingredients as sustainability has become extremely important.
As a result, unsustainable businesses whose production includes doubtful practices started to lose revenues and popularity. A great example of such tendency is the situation with McDonald’s and Burger King, the two fast-food giants are losing popularity among the newly developed segment of consumers – the Millenials, who choose healthier lifestyle and nutrition and thus prefer fast-casual chains of restaurants such as Panera Bread or Chipotle.
Moreover, many restaurants today inform their visitors about the supply chain their products go through making sure that the clients are well-educated about the sustainability choices the organizations make to stay competitive. The same happening concerns beauty products and makeup, in this sphere, all-organic products and those manufactured using environmentally friendly techniques are much more popular than those of the old generation.
This way, customer integration starts to penetrate every stage of the marketing and even the supply chain. At the same time, in many cases product development of the manufacturing companies still follows the product-oriented practices and strictly technical approach (Abramovici & Schulte, 2007). It is worth mentioning that when a customer decides which product to choose they rely mainly on product comfort and subjective impressions, they need a product to carry benefits for them and to fulfill their needs (Abramovici & Schulte, 2007).
In the contemporary world where one of the most valuable commodities is time and speed, the consumers are very fond of the products that arrive at them as fast as possible. This way, the contemporary businesses that are willing to attract the largest number of clients are to pay attention not only to the demand chain focused on satisfying the consumer’s needs in terms of products, but also to take into consideration the supply chain.
The concept of a supply chain about the improvement of customer satisfaction includes such aspects as demand forecast, product planning, order and credit management, customer service quality, and system administration (Lauras, Humez, Okongwu & Dupont, 2007).
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The integration of customer into the supply chain is a rather complicated procedure as it involves several dimensions such as marketing, sales, distribution, and manufacturing, and all of these aspects are to be coordinated with one another and work in collaboration (Lauras, Humez, Okongwu & Dupont, 2007). The question is – can the gap between demand and supply chains be removed efficiently, or will it take too much investment and functionally will be very hard to achieve? From the point of view of a supply chain as an actor, will its logistics benefit from customer integration?
Abramovici, M., & Schulte, S. (2007). Optimizing Customer Satisfaction by Integrating he Customer’s Voice into Product Development. International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED’07, 1-12.
Lauras, M., Humez, V., Okongwu, U., & Dupont, L. (2007). Increasing Customer Satisfaction through the Integration of Customer & Commercial Logistics Processes. Web.