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Just think about the customer: What those of us in logistics can learn from US companies
Jürgen Schulz, VP Consulting, Siemens Digital Logistics
Customer habits can be hard to understand. Sometimes they queue for hours to get their hands on a hot product. Other times they seem not to care about the first-class services and solutions that a company has to offer. Why is this?
If you want to win customers over, you need to understand them. You need to know what motivates them, what they are looking for and how you can meet their needs in an impressive way. That has never been easier than in today's digital world.
If you look for data about how customers come into contact with your company, and if you glean valuable information from this data, you are sure to make progress towards fulfilling your desires. Logistics adopts a central role here as the interface between customers and suppliers.
Valuable knowledge for customer-oriented operations
Knowledge about customers and their requirements and needs starts at the end of the process chain. Which products from a whole range of articles do customers want delivered within just a few hours? What degree of custom finishing do these products require? What added value is used? A look at logistics, which is where the order requirements of customers are ultimately fulfilled, provides valuable information here that enables customer-oriented operations and good ratings.
Consequently, successful business development does not start in production, purchasing or marketing; it starts with a focus on the customer. US groups like Amazon show us how this is done. Solutions such as Amazon Prime, where the company delivers certain goods in just three hours via premium shipping, are the result of a steadfast focus on customers.
A strategic component of digital transformation
Companies acquire the required knowledge for this through the digitalisation of logistics processes. Logistics must therefore be understood as an integral part of business processes, and not as a downstream accessory.
Companies that view logistics as a strategic component of digital transformation will find it easier to quickly and flexibly adjust their business model in line with dynamically changing customer requirements. This requires "translators" that transform data into relevant information and develop business options from this information to enable logistics to become the enabler of sustainably successful business development.
Cloud-based logistics IT platforms act as translators of this kind. This is because they bundle together data from different sources, validate it and make it available for a range of different analysis and management tools. They also link together the complex processes in a logistics network to create a convincing solution that focuses on customers and their requirements.