Marketing teams are discovering great brand stories in supply chain

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The number of CMOs becoming more knowledgeable and enthusiastic about supply chain management is increasing as leading companies lean on supply chain attributes to position, promote and differentiate products, services and brands.  If you’re a marketer looking for a great story to tell about your company—one that will capture the hearts and minds of a generation of customers—you may need to look no further than your supply chain.

While product marketing and sales teams have always worked with supply chain to balance supply and demand and ensure a positive customer experience, the corporate marketing teams are waking up to the power of supply chain performance.  Supply chain performance is a big deal, a big differentiator, and a game-changer that can dictate the difference between generations of locked-in loyal customers and lost customers for life.

In the past, marketing leaders dug in to supply chain particulars when there was an issue that affected marketing—like a product recall or stockout over the holidays; or an environmental or social issue that might negatively impact the brand; or when there was a risk challenge that required public relations support, like a plant closure, natural disaster or political unrest.

But now, as the supply chain becomes more integral to competitive advantage, profitable growth and sustainable practices, a growing number of CMOs are recognizing that a high-performing supply chain is an important differentiator, and they are incorporating supply chain capabilities into messaging, campaigns, loyalty programs and even events. They are aware of the impact the supply chain can have on their brand—both positive and negative­—and they take proactive measures to protect and promote it.

To the visionary CMO, the supply chain doesn’t run in the background. The supply chain is part of the story. It is part of the customer experience and an ingredient in the brand promise. It’s become a visible component in the marketing mix.

Excellent examples of marketing that weave in supply chain stories abound.  Remember the Ralph Lauren sweaters for the Sochi Winter Olympics? They were the flagship product for Ralph Lauren’s “Made in America” line of apparel for the athletes, rolled out with the story of the Oregon ranchers who raise the sheep and shear the wool, and all the steps in the supply chain required to provide the red, white and blue yarn for the sweaters.  An example of a supply chain inspired marketing event is Amazon Prime Day, when Amazon marketed its Prime subscription service through a rotating lineup of retail specials and same-day shipping that showed off its supply chain supremacy. And there’s the ongoing Jimmy John restaurants’ “Freaky Fast” campaign that’s not just about speedy sandwich delivery, but also embodies an entire corporate culture and its nimble supply chain of fresh ingredients.

Beyond the aforementioned high-visibility examples, there’s the almost endless number of companies offering personalization options (pick your color, add that monogram, design the perfect product just for you!) enabled by supply chain mass customization and make-to-order flexibility. If you’re a marketer and you haven’t been thinking about supply chain, it’s time to start.  Your supply chain is – or could be – a key chapter in your brand story or the attribute that that turns your customers into evangelists.

Is your CMO forging a more strategic relationship with the supply chain organisation? If not, can the supply chain manager reach out to marketing to begin such a partnership? How could your firm’s supply chain performance be leveraged as a marketing tool? Weigh in with your thoughts. Read more

 

Meet our guest blogger:

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Jennifer K Daniels
Vice President, Marketing, APICS

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It’s a great day for a supply chain grant

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A facilitator for the Federal Government Entrepreneur’s Programme painted an attractive picture today for companies looking to make their supply chain more productive and competitive.

Mike Goodman Podcast interview, Mike Goodman confirmed that a $400K improvement program is a potential scenario for buyers who can rally up 10 small to medium (SME)suppliers willing to match a $20K grant dollar for dollar. That buyer doesn’t have to be an Australian company either.

Mike is contractor by the NSW Business Chamber to deliver government-funded supply chain improvement projects, provided at no financial cost to buyers and their Australian SME suppliers.

The Federal Government Entrepreneur’s Programme is a national initiative that aims to grow the Australian economy by making SMEs more productive and competitive. The service has been running since mid last year (loosely based on a similar, very successful program that had been running for 5 years or so). Over the past 7 years, Mike and his colleagues have helped thousands of SMEs improve their business.

The program offers four key areas of support:

  • Strategic Business Evaluations – A business adviser works with an SME owner to assess the company, its aspirations and key challenges. The adviser provides a detailed report and action plan, along with access to a $20K (dollar-for-dollar) grant. Some businesses can get further ongoing support and access to an additional grant further down the track.
  • Innovation Connections – A facilitator provides SMEs with free advice and potential access to grants for research activities that solve technical challenges or help with new commercial opportunities (a $50K dollar-for-dollar grant, with potential for an additional $50K after the initial study is performed)
  • Accelerating Commercialisation – advisers provide guidance and access to grants to help commercialise new ideas, products and services
  • Supply Chain Facilitation – (detailed below) these include a $20K dollar-for-dollar grant for eligible SME suppliers

Under the Supply Chain Facilitation services, Mike and his team spread throughout Australia work with Buyers to explore and identify areas where they might be able to drive improvements with their suppliers , then work with eligible SME suppliers to assess their business and recommend improvements. This could be resolving operational issues, or more strategic, such as building supply chain capability for a new export growth opportunity.

Part of the improvement program could be training staff to more closely align with business requirements. In a previous blog we outline the funding available to assist suppliers to train their people under the Industry Skills Fund.

For more information, contact Mike Goodman on 0405 337 306.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a supply chain story to tell?

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We know that it’s not in your DNA to seek the limelight. However, supply chain management is rising in popularity as leading companies lean on supply chain attributes to position, promote and differentiate products, services and brands.

According to a recent article from APICS, “The CMO and the supply chain,” supply chain performance is a big deal, a big differentiator, and a game changer that can dictate the difference between generations of locked-in loyal customers and lost customers for life.

The article says that to the visionary CMO, the supply chain doesn’t run in the background. The supply chain is part of the story. It is part of the customer experience and an ingredient in the brand promise. It’s become a visible component in the marketing mix.

So, what does this mean for you? All of a sudden, you have the opportunity to tell a story. To make a difference. Now’s your chance!

Whilst this may sound a little daunting, there are ways and means to slowly build your confidence in public speaking and commence telling your story.  As a member of the professional supply chain community, apicsAU welcomes your story via its regular podcast channel, blog, symposiums, networking events and member profile opportunities.

Or, for those well versed in story telling, there’s apicsAU’s major conference – SMART.

Right on top of the issues facing supply chain professionals in Australia, the SMART 2017 conference theme will radically re-position delegates’ sentiment regarding the future of the supply chain industry in Australia.

The conference, to be held in the brand new International Convention Centre in Sydney on 29/30 March 2017, will provide a conference program “from the industry, for the industry.” We’re now calling for papers.

Five tips to securing a speaker slot at SMART

1. Review the SMART Conference theme and streams The theme for SMART 2017 – Innovation, productivity & performance in an age of disruption – is a narrative we’re hearing amongst leading industry thought leaders. Research the topic online and review how your organisation adds value to the theme. What is your story? How does it make a difference in the current market? What can others learn from you?

For the first time in the history of SMART, the streams represent the complete scope of the supply chain domain:

1. Manufacturing & Operations

2. Transport & Logistics

3. Supply Chain Strategy

4. Procurement & Purchasing

5. Systems and Technology

Continuous improvement and Lean will be consistent topics throughout these streams.

2. Review past Conference programs to see the calibre of speakers You will notice that the titles of speakers are generally middle management level or above. There are a mixture of local and international speakers. Do not limit yourself to just one speaker submission! Think about a number of angles to your story and what’s already been covered. Past Conference programs are available on request.

3. Update your biography and include keywords from the conference theme You will need to spend some time updating your biography to include latest achievements. Add keywords in relation to the conference theme. List any papers or presentations you’ve presented recently including any feedback received from audiences.

4. Update your online presence LinkedIn, Twitter and blog posts will be key reference checks conducted by the SMART conference organiser. Ensure your speaker’s online social footprint reflects the biography you submit.

5. Get in early! Lastly, get in early with your submission to ensure that you gain the best possible opportunity to secured a spot for SMART 2017. Download the Speaker submission form or email us today to get involved in telling your story to our community.

Note, a speaker spot is at the discretion of the SMART Conference Program Director.