In the world of fast-moving consumer goods, CPG companies and their retail customers work best when they operate interdependently to deliver on the modern-day consumer’s ever-changing needs. Both suppliers and retailers alike have much to gain by optimizing their relationships for success. This means having supplier-retailer partnerships built on a solid foundation of trust, accountability, and a shared interest in one another’s businesses.
In striving for mutually beneficial partnerships, CPG companies must pay keen attention to feedback from their customers, especially feedback pertaining to how a supplier performs relative to a retailer’s supply chain and service expectations.
Supply chain efficiency is an integral component of the success of any CPG company. A company’s supply chain operations have a bearing on its product prices and customer service performance. Delivery delays and not meeting agreed-upon schedules can result in inconveniences both for retailers and consumers. The responsibility then falls on retailers to manage product shortages and maintain shopper loyalty despite holes in inventory.
Retailer feedback is crucial, as it lets manufacturers know if supply schedules are being adhered to and if there are any hitches in the supply chain. This information enables CPG companies to take the necessary steps to optimize and streamline their supply chains to achieve greater cost and operational efficiencies.
Due to the rapid growth of e-commerce, CPG companies distribute their products based on orders made online and cater to the demand in brick-and-mortar stores. This multi-channel approach makes it quite challenging to gauge consumer feedback from both segments. Retailers play a vital role in simplifying this process through the sharing of shopper insights.
Engaged retailers who actively provide suppliers with feedback on their performance make a world of difference when it comes to determining which supply methods to pursue. For instance, if a manufacturer is debating whether to outsource transportation or acquire their own vehicles, customer feedback can help determine the best course of action. While acquiring internally-owned vehicles might improve adherence to distribution timelines and achieve quicker turnarounds, it will bring about extra capital expenditure and maintenance costs which will cause an increase in product prices. Since retailers are in regular contact with the consumers, they can gauge the price at which buyers are willing to purchase the products and then relay that information to suppliers.
Retailer feedback is critical in helping suppliers understand consumer behaviour so they can respond appropriately during product development and marketing cycles. It also helps suppliers obtain information critical for decision-making and problem-solving in their quest to maximize shopper satisfaction and optimize supply and operational efficiency. For these reasons, it is vital for manufacturers to carefully listen to, analyze, and act upon the feedback they receive from customers.
The fundamental tenets of relationship management that retailers expect suppliers to display consistently to create a climate of trust include:
- Internalizing customer metrics
- Aligning on clear expectations
- Executing what you agree
- Communicating efficiently
- Being accountable
Advantage Group is devoted to helping businesses strengthen partner engagement through data, insights and action planning. Connect with an Engagement Advisor today.