A company that fails to meet customer expectations on store inventory and delivery has problems in supply chain management.

Such a company minimizes its profits. Worse, it’s a red flag about competitiveness and long-term sustainability.

For many consumers – on a mass basis – expectations of fast service started a few decades ago with McDonalds.

Customers learned they could pull into a drive-up window at the fast-f00d chain and expect to get a full meal in 45 seconds.

The digital economy accelerated such expectations.

In every industry, if companies fail to satisfy such expectations, they lose customer loyalty and business to competitors.

Customers want you to deliver a consistent brand experience – excellent service, affordable prices and conveniences such as an up-to-date Web site, full inventory, fast delivery and accessible locations.

Use cutting-edge technology but think 1930s for business success. Consumer attitudes are changing.

This necessitates you to manage your business’ supply chain with controls and flexibility. This represents quite a balance act for you.

Supply-chain elements

For a strong brand experience in the perceptions of your customers, start by assessing these supply-chain elements:

  1. Review your supply-chain capabilities from start to finish – staffing to scheduling.
  2. Consider investing in technology to enhance your distribution network. Know your most-profitable items to store at the lowest expense.
  3. Evaluate your service for your customers’ convenience at the lowest cost. Your supply chain should have effective balance and communication among your Web site with brick-and-mortar locations.
  4. Be flexible and forecast changing consumer tastes. Keep a sharp eye on your inventory. Exercise peak management practices and anticipate demand fluctuations.
  5. Coordinate your marketing and sales data, and forecast your volume metrics from days-on hand to rate of returns.
  6. Be competitive with your deliveries. Consider how to include the cost of free delivery in your products’ prices.
  7. Include added value for your customers. Offer a degree of personal service without hurting your bottom line. Customers like to think they’re receiving special treatment from your company.

This necessitates you to manage your business’ supply chain with controls and flexibility. This represents quite a balance act for you.

Marketing and operations are expensive. The new economy requires a delicate balancing act. It’s necessary for long-term competitiveness and sustainability — not to mention the morale and performance of your sales talent.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are lessons on understanding customers with social media and eight simple strategies to give you pricing power.

Anything not worth doing is not worth doing well.


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.