Customer Service: The Source of Supply Chain Innovation

In December’s issue of InBound, editor Keith Biondi cited customer service as the source for supply chain innovation.  Not technology.  Not business process re-engineering (BPR).  Interesting, right?

When you focus on your customer, you’re focusing on his/her success. When you make them successful, you become successful.

Before exploring his thesis, let’s look at technology and BPR.

The Role of Technology and Business Process Engineering

Technology has clearly driven much change in Supply Chain Management (SCM).  And the logistics industry has countless IT solutions.  We have warehousing solutions, network optimization solutions, financial solutions, enterprise resource planning solutions, etc.  You get the picture.

Turning to BPR, we see something similar to IT.  BPR has undoubtedly led to many efficiencies and improved effectiveness at numerous companies.  BPR has helped streamline supply chains with or without IT.  Some examples of some popular BPR tools are LEAN, Lean Six Sigma, Value Stream Mapping, etc.

BPR has grown in popularity because it works in helping cuts costs and in improving effectiveness.  But BPR is a tool that helps you achieve a specific goal.  You don’t do BPR for the sake of doing BPR.  There’s an underlying root cause for initiating BPR.

I admit both IT and BPR have – and remain – powerful agents of change in SCM. BUT, they’re really enablers. And I think that’s what Keith Biondi implied in his article. The driver – that which causes the changes – is customer service. Not technology.  Not BPR or anything else.

Customer Service: The Real Source of SCM Innovation

Technology and BPR are essential. As tools they help you realize your customer’s needs.  They serve as a means to an end.

Think about it for a minute.

When you focus on your customer, you’re focusing on his/her success. When you make them successful, you become successful.  Novel thought…  In fact, Jeff Bezos revealed his secret saying that the customer is at the core, and everything Amazon does supports that.  That’s what drives change, innovation and, ultimately, success.

How You Can Drive SCM Innovation in Your Business

So as you go about you daily business, take some time to see what you can do to improve customer support. What does your customer want?  Better, faster, cheaper? How do you provide that?

Therein lies the agent of change that will drive innovation and propel your business to increased sales and even increased market share. Just as it has for Amazon.

What suggestions do you have for improving customer support that drives SCM innovation?

If you’re interested in reading Keith Biodni’s article, Visions of Customer Service, here’s the link:

About the Author

Alex Milo, , is a professional B2B Copywriter and certified SEO copywriter.  He spends his time consulting and writing B2B marketing content helping transportation and logistics companies develop and implement their B2B blogging strategies. He’s also a Certified Professional Logistician. Alex has over 25 years of experience in transportation and logistics operational, customer service, and business development positions.  You can reach him at