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Barloworld Logistics’ supplychainforesight 2014 highlights

Respondents rank the top five constraints their companies are facing in achieving strategic business objectives as:

  • Cost of doing business 71%
  • Lack of relevant skills / talent 63%
  • Rising competition 61%
  • Currency volatility 53%
  • Labour unrest 45%

The top five strategic supply chain objectives ranked by respondents are:

  • Improving services levels to customers 78%
  • Lowering procurement costs and reducing order lead times 59%
  • Improving the flow of business intelligence 64%
  • Integration of technology 57%
  • Improving visibility in the supply chain 53%

The top five constraints to achieving strategic supply chain objectives as viewed by respondents are:

  • Reactive versus proactive approach 69%
  • Internal and external silo-based mentality 61%
  • Cost of transport 55%
  • Availability of supply chain skills 53%
  • Labour unrest 38%

The shift from customer service to customer centricity that is evident from survey responses clearly shows that the understanding of customer centricity as a concept in South Africa goes far deeper than simply offering good service. However, although companies agree that customer centricity has huge financial gains for any business, there is a perception that it is costly and time consuming to perfect.

In this regard, the percentage of respondents that agreed with the following statements are:

  • Customer centric companies enjoy better returns than those which are not 90%
  • The human relationship with the customer is far more important than processes and systems - 71%
  • Customer centricity requires lengthy time and investment 66%
  • It is customers who dictate the pace of change, not organisations 61%
  • The gains from being more customer centric are too marginal in competitive industries 15%
  • Most South African companies are very customer centric 11%

Respondents’ views on what they believed to be the top three key aspects driving companies to become more customer-centric are:

  • Greater customer expectations 63%
  • Increase in competition 59%
  • Improved communication technologies and use of social media 52%
  • Increase in technology/internet usage 52%
  • Speed of change/innovation 52%
  • Belief that customer centricity drives growth 48%

While respondents show a deep understanding of customer centricity and the value that it can create for a company, survey responses show a big disconnect between theory and reality.

The five top ranked constraints to South African companies achieving customer centricity in the businesses as seen by respondents are:

  • The lack of appropriate skills 49%
  • Lack of alignment within business functions 48%
  • No structure or plan to innovate or embrace continuous change 44%
  • The perceived cost of being customer-centric 29%
  • Inability to deal with increasing complexity 23%

The majority of respondents indicated the importance of supply chains in achieving customer centricity, which shows a high-level understanding of the strategic role supply chains play in driving business strategy.

  • High impact 40%
  • Very high impact 34%
  • Medium impact 22%
  • Very low impact 3%

When it comes to respondents perception towards the supply chain and customer centricity, the level of agreement with the points below is reflected in the percentages below:

  • Customer Centricity cannot be achieved without a supply chain strategy focused on delivering customer value 92%
  • The supply chain function is seen too often as a way of managing logistics rather than being core to customer strategy 88%

  • Supply chains are enhancing customer Centricity 77%


For the full report visit

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