A customer-centric approach means getting the product to your customer. Rubbish products don't succeed. But neither do good products, if you can't deliver on a promise. Here's why CIOs need to be as focused on logistics as they are on the best new tech.
I recently took delivery of a brand new smartphone. Very recently. Too recently in fact.
This particular phone is a brilliant piece of tech, but there was a gap of almost three weeks between me parting with money online and finally receiving my handset.
In the intervening days there were a couple of issues, and there was not a great deal of communication, culminating with a text message from the courier asking me to pony up an additional £31 to pay import duty before I could get my device.
There were mitigating circumstances. And anyway this was okay for me as a tech journalist trying to get in a product to review, but would be not so great if you are a consumer waiting for a new phone. In fact, in that circumstance I'd expect that most people would simply cancel the order. A total failure.
As consumer tech has become commoditised, and virtually all computational devices good enough for purpose, the ability to get a product in the hand of the consumer has become paramount. We live in a world in which people expect their desires to be immediately sated. If you buy something online, you want it tomorrow at the latest.
The same is true of all customers, even in the business-to-business world. All CIOs have customers, internal or external. It doesn't matter how good is your product, delivering that product into the hands of your customer is key to your success.
Tim Cook - only the logistics guy
Don't believe me? Consider Apple. Yes, Apple designs and builds great products. It markets them (and itself) beautifully. But Apple is also brilliant at managing its levels of stock, and getting the product you speficied into your clammy mitts within hours of you making a purchase.
This latter aspect was critical to Apple's post-Steve Jobs' return success. Yes, Jobs, Ive and the rest created amazing category-changing products such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad. But it was Tim Cook who made the business aspects work.
Prior to joining Apple, Cook worked for both IBM and Compaq in fulfilment and operations roles. He joined Apple as a senior vice president of Worldwide Operations, and before he was CEO he was Chief Operations Officer. He's the operations guy. The man who looks after logistics.
He can be credited with changing Apple from a brilliant but slightly shambollic company into the ruthless corporate machine that can build hundreds of thousands of iPads without the outside world getting a glimpse of what an iPad is.
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