How CRM upgrades could better supply chain management

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Dive Brief:

  • Continued investments in mobility and social integration will enable new trends in customer relationship management (CRM) technology throughout 2017, Destination reported last week.
  • CRM solutions will become increasingly personalized yet simplified, as client demands increase the need for deep data while spurning system complexity.
  • In addition, the magazine projects CRM systems will increase the use of chatbots or other alternative user experiences to reduce the learning curve to use such systems. 

Dive Insight:

Managing buyer and supplier relationships is a key task in supply chain management, and achieving multi-tier visibility could be extremely challenging without proper customer relationship management techniques.

Buyer needs may shift frequently, for example, and while a supply chain manager can shift production accordingly each time, gathering the information in a database can at minimum enable trend projections and greater long-term forecast accuracy. Similarly, collecting supplier information, schedules and payment needs could improve relations and increase efficacy at the procurement level. 

However pivotal to supply chains, though, CRM solutions can be poorly integrated into overall supply management systems. Inbound Logistics explored this problem long ago, noting each silo of the supply chain advanced at different technological speeds. One segment, such as procurement, might be advanced and up to date, while data integration for production deadlines is behind the times. This is when you see success in one area and confusion in another, which can cause wide data gaps throughout the supply chain.

As data needs advance, and systems like CRM seek adapt to meet these needs, supply chain managers and CIOs should evaluate their systems holistically to ensure full visibility. 

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