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Customer Experience

  • Go and See for Yourself

    • Annette Franz
      2018

    Problems are best understood and solved where they occur. How do you get to the root of the problem, effort or issue without seeing it for yourself?......Read More

  • Map Customer Hassles to Enhance the Journey

    • Annette Franz
      2018

    Hassle maps reveal the steps that cause a customer to have a negative experience with a business. The map can be literal or a simple mental construct and should play a key role in determining strategies for engineering, design, marketing, partners and competitors.......Read More

  • A Confused Customer Buys Nothing

    • Annette Franz
      2018

    There’s a marketing maxim that states, “A confused customer buys nothing.” American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams had a similar notion, which he expressed as, “There’s nothing worse than a sharp picture of a fuzzy concept.”......Read More

  • The Entrepreneur

    • Elizabeth Rennie
      2018

    Although Marc Randolph is best known for being the cofounder and founding CEO of Netflix, his career as an entrepreneur, advisor and investor spans more than four decades. Randolph launched more than a half-dozen other successful startups, mentored hundreds of early-stage entrepreneurs and invested in numerous successful tech ventures. APICS magazine Senior Managing Editor Elizabeth Rennie recently had the opportunity to speak with Randolph, who will be a keynote speaker later this year at APICS 2018 in Chicago.......Read More

  • First-Class Airline Catering at the World’s Busiest Hub

    • Mandyam M. Srinivasan
    • Melissa R. Bowers
    • Chris Fay
      2018

    The airline industry is fiercely competitive and challenged by rising costs and low margins. Airlines operating in this high-risk marketplace must carefully align their business and operating models. One company working to achieve this objective is Delta Air Lines. After facing significant challenges in the early 2000s, and filing for bankruptcy protection in 2005, Delta now serves more than 180 million customers each year and is ranked as the world’s largest airline by Forbes Global 2000.......Read More

  • Beautiful Customer Experience Transformations

    • Annette Franz
      2018

    I’m sure many readers remember Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling.” If not, here's a quick refresher: It’s the story of a baby swan that is mistakenly presumed to be a duckling. Because he is not as attractive as his companions, the little swan suffers abuse from the other animals in the barnyard — until the day when he matures into a swan and is deemed the most beautiful bird of all.......Read More

  • Smaller Shipments, Bigger Challenges

    • Dave Turbide
      2017

    As more manufacturers pursue online sales direct to the end user, supply chain management professionals are challenged to fulfill a growing number of individual, small shipments. Operations that are structured and staffed for cases, pallets or full truckloads are simply insufficient. Traditionally, manufacturers considered logistics, transportation and distribution to be necessary evils — they were required, but didn’t really offer any great business opportunities. The rise of e-commerce is making these competencies integral; yet many companies are ill-prepared to handle them.......Read More

  • Reinforce the Customer Experience with Outside-In Thinking

    • Annette Franz
    November/December 2017

    Inside-out thinking describes a focus on processes, systems, tools and products that are designed and implemented based on internal reasoning and intuition. The customer’s needs and perspectives simply aren’t taken into consideration. Rather, company leaders arrive at conclusions and choices based on what they think will be good for the business. Sometimes, these decision-makers think they know what’s best for customers and therefore just move ahead without getting confirmation.......Read More

  • A Year of Corporate Social Responsibility Failures

    • Philip E. Quigley
    November/December 2017

    This has been quite a year for crises related to culture, values and ethics in the supply chain. For starters, ride-hailing service provider Uber has paid reparations totaling $20 million after making false promises about driver earning potential; lost a half-million app users when #DeleteUber went viral as a result of the company's activity during a taxi protest; paid New York City drivers tens of millions of dollars after taking a larger cut of fares than it was entitled; and fired numerous employees following investigations of sexual harassment, stolen trade secrets, systematic deception of law enforcement, discrimination and more.......Read More

  • Smart Leaders Enable Collaborative Design

    • Philip E. Quigley
    September/October 2017

    Spanish clothing and accessories retailer Zara has been mentioned in this department frequently in the past few years. The company is famous for being able to receive an idea from a retail store manager and, as little as two weeks later, have the new product available for purchase. This continuous flow of new designs — rather than characteristic seasonal releases — is transforming the fast-fashion industry.......Read More

  • Preventive Care Cures the Employee-Retention Bug

    • Annette Franz
    September/October 2017

    The phrase “employee retention” makes many managers a little queasy — and it ought to. Turnover is costly in a variety of ways, not the least of which is its impact on the customer experience.......Read More

  • An Operations Improvement Case Study

    • Michael D. Ford
    September/October 2017

    A regional distribution center in upstate New York supplies goods to retail outlets throughout the state. This particular distribution center largely consists of labor operations, and there is minimal use of automated storage and retrieval systems. As a result, the company had focused on achieving low costs and driving productivity through the hard work of its employees.......Read More

  • Pull System Triggers Optimal Planning and Replenishment

    • Ron Crabtree
    September/October 2017

    Many years ago, when I was an automotive industry plant materials manager, I faced a big challenge. My company’s enterprise resources planning (ERP) system was failing us miserably with regard to our expendable packaging. Although we had initially been very successful at implementing a fully integrated ERP system driven by forecasts, material requirements planning and bills of material, it was discovered that pallets, corrugated boxes, dunnage and other packaging items were essentially impossible to plan for.......Read More

  • Evolved Operations Enable Progressive Supply Chain Management

    • Michael D. Ford
    September/October 2017

    Most professionals will agree that a standardized approach to supply chain management should produce high volumes of a standardized product. However, this often results in localized optimization, where a particular node in the internal or external supply chain is driven toward behavior that causes pain upstream or downstream. This method also fails to address customers’ desires for flexibility in terms of product variety. Companies and consumers alike expect special treatment, but a historical high-productivity business model is too rigid to accommodate this. To best meet market demands, the supply chain field needs a more evolved operations tactic.......Read More

  • Demolish Silos in Total Quality Management

    • Pamela J. Zelbst
    • Kenneth W. Green Jr.
    • Victor E. Sower
    September/October 2017

    Supply chain managers know that the integrated nature of 21st century supply chains requires the breaking down of operational silos to build a connected, effective entity. Different players within the supply chain must be aware of each other’s functions and activities and how these connect to their own roles. In this way, the entire supply chain can ensure that it is working toward a common goal and cooperating on the best way to reach it.......Read More

  • Are Your Customers Working Too Hard to Be Your Customers?

    • Annette Franz
    July/August 2017

    The amount of effort customers must exert in order to purchase from, engage with, get support from or interact with your company should be a key concern for all supply chain management professionals. After all, customer effort can be a major point of contention and frustration. Measuring customer effort is one of the best ways to assess customer satisfaction and understand if you’re delivering a great customer experience. If you would like to alleviate your customers’ struggles, one of the best ways to do so is by taking a look at your company’s omnichannel offerings and capabilities.......Read More

  • Building a Company with a Future

    • Philip E. Quigley
    July/August 2017

    Recent headlines about United Airlines forcibly removing a passenger from an oversold flight strike fear into the hearts of many travelers. But these stories reveal more than just a huge customer relations failure; they demonstrate that the real root of United’s problem is that (like most airlines) the business has a rules-based strategy for gate operations. This tactic is, fundamentally: Don’t think; just follow the rules. Of course, this kind of mindless approach leads to serious customer experience and brand image problems. ......Read More

  • A Health Care Call to Arms

    • John P. Collins
    • Eric P. Jack
    July/August 2017

    Interestingly, the supply chain management discipline can help policymakers at this critical juncture. After all, operational strategies and trade-offs relating to cost, quality, delivery and flexibility are at the core of the newest health care bill’s challenges. The three most important of these topics are market-based quality, delivery for increased access and cost efficiency.......Read More

  • The Fashion Industry of the Future

    • Richard E. Crandall
    July/August 2017

    Because the fashion industry has evolved this far throughout the course of centuries, there’s no doubt that it will continue to evolve in the years to come. There are countless variations of the potential fashion industries of the future. Here are just a few.......Read More

  • 12 Essential Questions to Ask Potential Shipping Clients

    • Chandler Magann
      2017

    When bidding on a shipment or looking to add more companies to your client roster, the more you know about a prospect’s needs, goals and challenges, the better your chance of securing the contract. Here are 12 questions you should ask – and why – when speaking with a new prospect.......Read More