Saturday, 22 October 2016

Quality of service: How does satisfaction stack up with customer loyalty?

Plugging the gaps found in service quality is one way to help improve customer satisfaction. This is called a qualifier for long-term customer loyalty. Customer satisfaction is the quality of service and value for money. It’s how the customers feel about the products and the services. Customer loyalty is the length of time we are able to keep customers. It relates to their behaviour. These two concepts are not the same, but the attitude for customer satisfaction is the key to customer loyalty.

There are huge benefits to be gained from customer loyalty; loyal customers are viewed by their lifetime spending potential.

  • Generate long-term revenue streams
  • Are willing to spend more time
  • Are more cost efficient than acquiring new customers
  • Are more likely to pay premium prices
  • Often increase their spending over time

One of the logistical challenges is to support the development of customer loyalty. Logistics can achieve this by designing and delivering quality services. Quality service is what customers want and this is essential for excellent marketing performance in the long term.

Chit Chat: Why eBusiness in healthcare different from other industries?

A common misconception is that healthcare could easily adapt to the eBusiness strategies established in other sectors. Perhaps it would be easy for them to simply imitate the current methods and use the same tools that are used elsewhere to solve all their problems. However, it’s not that simple. Healthcare needs are different and copying other sector’s ebusiness strategies wouldn’t do justice to the goals in healthcare. Those strategies would also fail in healthcare professionals and the healthcare markets.

The different behaviours of the market, the constraints on the market and the different scenarios are what separating eBusiness in healthcare from other industries.  This is not only true for eBusiness in healthcare but also for eCommerce and eProcurement.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Quality of service: How do customer expectations affect logistics service?

Supply chains involving physical products end with the service processes such as healthcare, distribution and retailing. The service processes involve the customer being presented in some forms, whether physically or online. The service process performance often varies between employees, customers. An example can be seen in a supermarket setting. If you want the best supermarket service, it’s best not to go on Saturdays or on Christmas Eve as the service is under extreme pressure.

The service quality takes place when the service is delivered. This is when the service process, the B2B and the B2C interact. There may be gaps, which is when the expected service processes fail to deliver based on what the customers are expecting.  These gaps are as follows.

  • Gap 1 is the difference between customer expectations and how they are developed by the supplier into a service
  • Gap 2 is the difference between the service specification and how it was delivered to the customer
  • Gap 3 is the differences between what customers expect and how they perceive it was delivered
  • Gap 4 is the differences between how the service delivery is seen by the supplier and customer

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Segmentation: What is segmentation? What are the implications to logistics strategy?

Segmentation is how a certain market splits up into multiple groups of customers having similar needs. It basically means that the market is described as simply as it can be but still emphasises the market’s variety. 

Fast moving consumer good markets usually describe market segmentation from the perspective of the customer. It is important to know what the market wants, the amount they want to pay, what media they pay attention to and how much and when they make their purchases.  Once the profiles are created, the firm can evaluate their relative attractiveness. Here are some examples of how the markets can be segmented:

  • Demographic – age, education or sex
  • Geographic – urban, country, house, regions etc.
  • Behavioural – spending patterns and the frequency they purchase
  • Technical – the way customers use the product

There are some important characteristics of market segments, which are as follows.

  • They have to be measurable and easily identifiable
  • They must be economically viable
  • They have to be accessible either geographically or in terms of media communications
  • They have to be actionable

These are the sets of marketing decisions used to implement the positioning strategy. They are called 4Ps:

  1. Product – The size, range, packaging, design and so on.
  2. Price – The payment terms, discounts, geographical pricing etc.
  3. Promotion – Advertising, promotion to trade and to consumers, direct marketing etc.
  4. Place – Market coverage, distributions, channel selection etc.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

What are the marketing implications for logistics strategy? – Part 2

Today, we will take a look at the final marketing implications for logistics strategy. We will talk about the influence of internet towards logistic strategy in marketing concerns and how we do segmentation to target our customers.

The Information Revolution

The Internet has exploded in recent years and it will continue to have a huge impact on buyer and supplier exchanges in the future.  The fact is highlighted in the following three areas.

1.    Procurement, new product development and the supply chain management.
Cycle times are being reduced thanks to exchanges. Errors are also reduced along with duplication.  The suppliers benefit from saving costs associated with transactions, reduced errors and an improved marketing presence. Buyers also benefit from reduced costs and quicker procurement cycles and thanks to the supply chain management improvements.

2.    The relationships between buyer and supplier.
Trust is increasing between buyers and suppliers and this helps to develop good trading relationships. Long term relationships are being formed as buyers are remaining with their suppliers rather than increasing their number of suppliers. Information can be shared quickly and even instantly and problem solving is now often a joint venture. Increased outsourcing and supplier led innovation is accelerating thanks to the sharing of information.

3.    Impact on industry structure.
There’s a trend in reducing the amount of manufacturers and suppliers in most sectors as a result of exchanges.  Open book accounting and a reduced traditional markup have been encouraged by the xchanges. They also give support to the tier one suppliers that now act as the service providers.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

What are the marketing implications for logistics strategy? – Part 1

Types of Customers
It’s important to define the types of customers. Customers are the people who consume or use the product. They are the businesses or the individuals who buy the product –the ones pay for the product. 

There are two types of customers, business customers and the end customers. The previous are the customers who represent the firm’s trading environment. The latter are the ultimate customers for the whole network. These two types of customers are referred to as business to business (B2B) and business to customer (B2C). 

Rising Customer Expectation
Customers’ expectations have risen, generally in line with increases in developing country wealth towards the last half of the 20thcentury. There are many causes for the increase in expectations, such as:
  • Higher levels of general education
  • Increase exposure to lifestyle issues via the media
  • Being able to discern between alternative products

Customers are seeking out more desirable products and expecting a higher level of customer service as a result of the higher expectations. Businesses are also expecting more for their own suppliers. Suppliers have to pay closer attention to the service they are providing as a result.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Why best practice adoption is necessary in performance management?

Best practice adoption is now a necessity. The adoption of best practice can bring competitive advantage in the following situations:
  1. The application of a best practice from one industry to another
  2. Applying the best practice from one process to another
  3. The application of best practice within the same industry and the same process but being more successful due to superior execution
It’s now essential for businesses to use best practices in order to remain competitive. Using best practices can also be applied where competitive advantage is not necessary. Businesses can gain more by using their innovation and resources for service and product differentiation for where they make a difference.  If competitors are given an advantage over your business in any area then you are at a clear disadvantage if best practices can be defined.

Clear benefits are gained from reducing errors and simplifying processes that are core to the business. Using best practices to improve performance gives companies a way of implementing changes with fewer risks and at a faster speed compared with a situation that they designed current processes from scratch.

The following criteria should be met for the most effective application of best practices:
  • The identification of an improvement opportunity
  • The opportunity not to be unique
  • For suitable best practices to be identified for the opportunity
  • The organisation is motivated and has the necessary skills to implement the best practice
  • To find and use the right tools and the organisation is able to effectively use the tools

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Chit chat: How to procure and provide medical supplies?

Medical supplies play a vital role in healthcare combined with products that are procured by healthcare providers. This is because these medical suppliers play an essential role in care. Medical supplies are classified as goods including a variety of items like instruments, medical devices and prescription drugs.

The cost of supplies in hospitals amounts to a third of the total costs. Medical supplies account for half of these costs in the US and the amount is similar in both UK and Germany where the healthcare system differs from each country.

Buying and selling medical supplies is different from buying other products within the healthcare industry. These supplies are only used in healthcare, unlike other products such as food. The complex nature of medical supplies means that buying and selling these products demands greater knowledge than for any other goods used in healthcare. Many of the items aren’t self-explanatory and this is why even clinicians and pharmacists are the ones who do the actual purchasing. They have the relevant experience and background to do this.

Information regarding the legalities of buying medical supplies is required, along with personal experience, studies and information gathered from clinical trials.

Friday, 14 October 2016

How to apply the five steps of best practices in performance management?

Want to know how to apply best practices? 

Here are five steps of measurement, prioritizing, investigation, application and maintenance. The five steps have to be sustained over time to ensure the organisation doesn’t fall behind as the best practices will then be refined and updated continuously.
  1. Identifying an area that provides opportunities for improvement. Looking for areas to improve can be performed from informal observation or by measuring performance against benchmarks, both internally and externally.
  2. Investigating if the opportunity is worth pursuing or not.  It is essential to look for the benefits and decide if they’re worth it or not as it saves resources.
  3. Investigating what’s causing the shortfall in performance through internal investigation and deciding which best practices are the most appropriate to apply. 
  4. Implementing the change.  The investigation will identify the best practices to use are then translated into practical applications. Some best practices may have to be refined or customised to fit in with the business.
  5. Sustaining the change. The best practice implementations have to be sustained and improved over time. Slipping back into old habits is to be avoided as this means all the hard work of implementation will have been wasted.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

What are the types of best practices in performance management?

There are many different types of best practices in performance management. Some best practices are centred on processes, information, technology, policy and people and organisation. They can provide a complete framework for operating at the highest level of performance when all put together.

Policy best practices establish the rules and the standards that govern the operation of the process. The most effective policies are the ones that are practical and logical and they ensure compliance while remains flexible. Process best practices describe the technique that needs to be followed to complete a task. Strategic plans are similar in that they take an idea and transform it into an action plan. Then it is translated into a financial representation to show how the resources can be allocated for the plan.

The information best practices take all the aspects of a process, bringing all the measures of process together so that managers can understand the value of the process. The practices give a clear description of the information that is required to start the process, track its progress and verify when it’s completed.  Technology best practices embrace the combination of computer and communications technologies and mechanics that support a process.  The organisational best practices describe deployment and management and include human factors like skills, commitment and motivation.

People best practices can be the most difficult one to implement but they are the most important to get right. A best practice will fail or succeed based on the individuals that are working on the processes