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Focus On What Customers Need

Supply chains are something that executives perpetually want to adjust. The desire for bigger, faster, and more efficient are all worthy causes for change – but more often than not these efforts result in more investments and very little return. Even more dangerous, getting wrapped up in your own processes can leave the most important element out of the equation: the customer. Ken Koenemann writes on IndustryWeek about how value stream segmentation might be a better answer: Value stream segmentation starts with understanding actual customer requirements through demand segmentation. By analyzing and segmenting customer requirements, your businesses can optimize individual value streams to match the unique needs of those customers. A demand segmentation initiative will look at order volumes, order variability, historic inventory levels, shipment records and point-of-sale data. In the factory this analysis can be used to determine if a product should be made using a “pull” system, or if it should only be produced on a made-to-order basis. It should also influence supply chain strategies. But it’s just as important to understand that some customers don’t want many options. Computer manufacturers have found, for instance, that some customers don’t want to step through every element of making their own laptops. Learning what your customers do or do not want to take part in can be just as effective as giving them every option possible.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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