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Customers’ expectations are the key driving force behind supply-chain management. More significantly, facilities and distribution options available in organizations should focus on a smooth flow of supply from the manufacturer to the consumer. For each organization to operate successfully, it must have a clearly structured supply chain from its purchases, production, and distribution of products. A typical retail outlet should focus on all aspects of customers’ expectations like Wal-Mart (Hugos, 2011). Wal-Mart’s chain management focus is on meeting customer’s expectation of a wide variety of products, different price categories, and higher levels of quality, timely delivery of products, faster lead time and responsiveness.
In most cases, supply chain of organizations specializes on the networks of delivering of goods or services into the market. Therefore, a company should focus on a smooth fit between its supply-chain strategy and business strategy. This is because while the business strategy deals with location and level of customer service, the supply-chain strategy deals with the cost; a firm incurs to provide the targeted level of consumer supplies (Hugos, 2011). Retail outlets, for example, Wal-Mart offer services to mostly final consumers who intend to get a variety of products available at the stores. The management of the outlet centers focus on restructuring its supply chains to its customers’ expectations. More so, the rapid changes in the expectations of consumers do not offer such retail outlets a precise supply management structure.
More than often, consumers like to sample a variety of products before selecting one that is more suitable, as per their needs and expectations. In most cases, consumers have different desires in terms of tastes, fashion, and preferences. This is because whatever one customer prefers is not the same in another customer. As a result, customers prefer outlets that offer them a wider variety of goods that suits their expectations. More significantly, customers have different requirements, as they shop around for goods. Therefore, if they do not get goods that meet their stipulated expectations they will look out for goods close to the actual requirements (Hugos, 2011). Ranging from sizes, colors, shapes, and quality of the material consumers can easily make choices that suit their needs. This implies that the outlets should always source out its products from a variety of manufacturers. As a result, the outlets enjoy high customers turn out because they are assured that their expectations will be completely met.
Customers who shop expect retail outlets to offer them wide price categories. More so, the consumers look out for goods that suit their wants,and the money they have available for shopping at a particular time. This is because different consumers have varied levels of affordability. Whereas there are those who like to purchase goods that are expensive, others prefer those that are cheaper (Hugos, 2011). Therefore, different producers make products that can retail at different prices. Depending on the size, quantity, quality, shape, and designs the prices of manufactured goods vary widely. As a result, retail outlets can offer its customers a wider variety of commodities to select from depending on their financial capability (Hugos, 2011). It is significant that all producers focus on products that vary in prices to meet the customers’ financial needs and expectations at different times.
Customers also expect high quality levels when purchasing goods (Hugos, 2011). This is because they expect to get goods that can last for long. Nevertheless, there are different dimensions, of each consumer because there is no consistent pattern in the analysis of the quality of products. More so, some companies are highly recognized by consumers to offer high-quality goods as a result, the record-high sales levels on their products. Consumers view those products that have fewer defects and work precisely, as expected, to be of high quality. Most international manufacturing companies realize that the production of high-quality products gives them a wider customer base (Hugos, 2011). In most cases, they assess, anticipate, and fulfill the stated and implied needs of their consumers. This is achievable through the ongoing process that companies ensure they build and sustain relationships based on the provision of quality goods and services.
In most cases, consumers consider the order delivery lead-time, primarily because the time between the commencement of production and the final delivery state determines whether the goods fit for consumption (Hugos, 2011). In cases, where customers have urgent expectations on when deliveries are made, outlet's strong supply chains are essential. This is because, it gives the customer's a chance to gain interest in a company especially based on delivery reliability (Hugos, 2011). The order delivery lead-time in terms of days is more relevant because it focuses on the time it takes to deliver an order from the day it was placed.
More significantly, the supply chain level of responsiveness should focus on meeting the customers’ expectation on time. With the ability to handle the uncertainty of the market demand, a company can fully satisfy the customers’ needs (Hugos, 2011). First, the manufacturing company should respond to large quantities of goods demanded at any time. In addition, manufacturing companies should readily meet a high rise in the services levels it offers (Hugos, 2011). They should also readily build highly innovative products that suit the consumers’ demands and expectations. Companies should also be able to meet short lead times, especially on urgent orders made by clients.
Wal-Mart is a successful retail outlet, because it focuses on meeting the rapidly changing customers’ expectations on a timely basis. It is renowned, as a supply chain-driven company with many retail stores under its operations worldwide. Over the years, Wal-Mart remains committed to offering its customers the best services. More successfully, Wal-Mart focuses on lowering costs, improving of operations, and customer service. Even with its company philosophy, focusing on the leading edge of distribution, logistics, transportation, and technology, there has been a vital investment in the supply-chain management of the company.
Wal-Mart relies on its business model to ensure that it offers its consumers a wide range of prices in its commodity as per their expectations. In most cases, it focuses on the low transportation costs and the low price strategy. As a result, it allows consumers to enjoy its varied products at the lowest possible prices thus, making it cheaper, as accorded by the customers’ expectations (Hugos, 2011). In addition, Wal-Mart management meets its customers’ expectation because it offers them special attention. More so, Wal-Mart stores are operated as small companies. The store managers make decisions, to ensure that its operations are the best in accordance with customers’ expectations. Timely delivery of stocks within the lead-time is a normal trend for the chain store because of its well-maintained partnerships with top manufacturers (Hugos, 2011). With the radio-frequency identification (RFID) solutions, the company can meet its customers’ expectations on time. It is even possible for the outlet’s management to monitor its stocks and requisition for more commodities that are not available in the company’s distribution centers.
In conclusion, companies should focus more on maintenance of strong supply chains that meet customers’ expectations. Even though, the customers’ expectations keep on changing rapidly they remain the key driving force behind supply-chain management. Through a clearly structured supply chain from its purchases, production, and distribution of products, retail outlets can be successful. Indeed, every company that offers goods and services to its consumers should ensure that they meet their expectations, as the end users. Wal-Mart is just but one of the many retail outlets that understand the importance of meeting customers’ expectations. Without doubt, commitment to offering companies customers the best services is the key to success.