July 16, 2014
Lisa Anderson, president of LMA Consulting GroupSM, Claremont, Calif., hypothesized that Amazon and companies like Amazon have had an impact on service demands for manufacturers and distributors. In a recent study measuring the "Amazon Effect," Anderson found that the top three areas in which customer expectations have been affected the most in the past three years, according to respondents, are delivery/lead time, price negotiation and comparison, and presale/postsale service and support.
"For many of us in the manufacturing and distribution industry, these responses didn't come as a complete surprise," explained Anderson. "If there is one trend in common with all of my clients, it's that customers have been demanding more for less - - and quicker than ever before. Shortened lead times have become the standard for running a manufacturing or distribution company competitively. Additionally, with the increased use of technology, customers want ordering, pricing, and delivery information online, up-to-the-minute, and available 24/7 — much like Amazon.
“Without a technology infrastructure that readily communicates sales and service information to your customers, you won't be able to compete or deliver products cost-effectively,” she said. “Margins will suffer and profitability will decline.”
Two-thirds of manufacturers and distributors participating in her service gaps research study have reported having to respond to the elevated service standards established by companies like Amazon.
The complete "Amazon Effect Service Gap" report will be available in August. To automatically receive the free report, register here. To attend the complimentary webinar to learn more about the results and ask questions, visit www4.gotomeeting.com/register/206645095.