As human beings, our experiences not only define us, they substantially shape our relationship with the world. This is particularly true when it comes to brand loyalty and purchasing behaviour. Customer loyalty, satisfaction and purchasing behaviour can be linked to and stimulated by, the emotions a customer connects with a brand, and these emotions can be directly linked to the experiences a customer has. While brand experience has deep roots in marketing, the supply chain has a real impact on where and how a product is presented to a customer. For example, there are few things more likely to derail a purchase than a customer finding the item they are ready to purchase is out of stock, or not available in their preferred size. Factors such as the failure to meet the need for immediate gratification, or interruption of the buyer journey can become a deterrent away from a brand, particularly if such instances reoccur. Expectation and experience are tightly bound to marketing, but it is the supply chain that ultimately ensures product availability and access, and these factors need to work in conjunction to create a brand experience that delights customers and builds lasting relationships.
The last century has witnessed the global population quadruple, in 1915 there was an estimated populace of 1.8 billion, at present, according to an estimate by the United Nations, there are just over 7 billion people with predictions of reaching 9.7 billion by 2050. This growth, together with increasing income levels in developing countries (which have an impact on dietary changes such as consuming increased amounts of protein and meat) are driving up the global food demand.
Two substantial fuel price increases in April and in May and a recent increase at the beginning of July according to the Automobile Association (AA) are said to be the largest South African motorists have seen within such a short period. The skyrocketing fuel prices have a significant impact on the cost of living, the cost of doing business and the economy in general. With its reliance on road transportation, such rapid cost escalation is leaving a marked impact on the local supply chain industry.
There is no longer any debate regarding the far-reaching, and disruptive impact that e-commerce has had on retail business models, and the supply chains that support them. As traditional retailers attempt to retain market share by introducing companion e-commerce sites, the approach adopted when doing so can ultimately have a marked impact on the success of such venture down the road.
The Oxford Dictionary defines excellence as the quality of being outstanding or extremely good, and John W. Gardner said: “Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well”. When it comes to supply chain, excellence is an ideal most organisations strive for, but within the supply chain world, the definition of excellence is harder to express. On a very simple level – supply chain excellence is encapsulated in the oft-repeated phrase – “delivering the right product, in the right quantity, to the right people, at the right place, at the right cost, every time”. While this phrase rolls off the tongue quite easily, achieving this utopia of supply chain performance is slightly more difficult.