Supply chains can set your business apart from the rest. But why not go further and add customer relationship management to the mix?
Businesses are now competing within their industries more than ever before, thanks to the ever-evolving digital space and varying customer demands. It can be hard to keep up! Utilizing efficient supply chains was something that could set a business apart from its competition – but as more businesses catch on, what can be done to boost your brand even further?
Take a food service supply chain for example. How can big-player businesses in the food industry meet customer demands in the most successful, cost-effective way possible? By integrating their supply chain management with customer relationship management.
Here’s how integrating your entire supply chain operation with your CRM could put you in the same league as the likes of Kraft and Coca-Cola (everyone has to start somewhere, right?).
Invest in a Customer Relationship Management system
Simply put, CRM systems enable businesses to track their customer behavior effectively. We’re not talking to the point of Facebook stalking, just enough information to make informed business decisions. Food businesses can use customer interaction data within their CRM system to help improve their customer relationships and meet demands accurately with actionable insights.
The food industry greatly benefits from integrating CRM in supply chain management. Not only does effective CRM streamline communications and build stronger relationships with customers and suppliers, it can also put food businesses ahead of their competition, by helping with sales forecasting and future behavior predictions.
Integrate your CRM with supply chain management
“Food and drink manufacturers are increasingly seeing that expanding their investments in CRM leads to higher market share; crucially, without having to accept the lower margins associated with price reductions” (Manufacturingglobal.com).
Within this industry’s competitive landscape, it can be challenging for businesses to achieve higher market share by lowering their product prices. That’s why building customer relationships is so important – more efficient communications between the links in the supply chain (suppliers, stores and customers) can positively influence product placement in store and meet demand.
We’ve come up with three top reasons why food industry organizations should consider integrating CRM in supply chain management:
1. Reduce operational costs
Businesses can significantly reduce their operational costs by integrating CRM in supply chain management. There are lots of different ways to achieve this, and we’ve pulled out two examples:
- Inventory analysis – an inventory is imperative when meeting high customer demands, but there is the risk of overstock. Products that spend too much time in storage run up storage costs, and disposal costs if they go out-of-date. CRM integration helps businesses understand what their customers want when they want it, and can help them deliver this more accurately, without the risk of overstock.
- Packaging – this is a two-way street. By reducing the amount of product packaging, businesses can reduce costs in the long term. But where does CRM fit into this? A CRM system could collect customer data and feedback via a survey, or analyze produce sales in correlation with less packaging and buyer patterns. Less packaging means customers can dispose of less material after purchase, therefore contributing to customer satisfaction and a business’ environmental credibility.
2. Easily satisfy seasonal peaks
Having a CRM system in place enables businesses to anticipate future demand and promotions accurately, such as product increases during seasonal peaks. For example, if you recognize that your customers require more meat during summer months (for barbecues, festivals, local events), you could feed (pun intended) this information into your supplier relationship management system.
The same goes for the festive season, too. If you’re aware that some of your customers require more potatoes and vegetables during the holidays, you could alert your food service supply chain management system and mitigate the risk of losing business. CRM systems can help businesses avoid running up unnecessarily high costs due to inaccurate demand predictions.
3. Segment customers to better meet demand
Using the data in a CRM system helps businesses to make informed decisions with their supply chain management, like how to best segment their customers and market to them effectively.
- You may want to run sales promotions and target specific customers. Using CRM data will help identify the relevance, demand and location information needed to optimize these efforts.
- Cross-referencing CRM with your supplier relationship management system is a proven way to segment customers by profitability. Supply chain segments can be benchmarked against logistical factors such as shipping, with a clear understanding of how many resources are used per customer.
- Allow businesses to address varying demands – segmenting with CRM data will give businesses a clearer view on the ‘stable’ demands, which means more time can be spent identifying variations and how to successfully satisfy these.
Integrate CRM in supply chain management with sales-i
Although most of these supply chain processes happen behind the scenes in the food industry, they are imperative to the successful running of a business. By deploying a robust CRM system into food service supply chain management, businesses within the industry can work towards reducing their operational costs, gain a granular view of their customer demands, and strategically segment their demand flows to ensure supply will always meet, and sometimes drive, demand.
Learn how to effectively integrate CRM systems with your food service supply chain management with sales-i Food Industry Software. Discover more today.