How rising customer experience expectations are impacting this Aussie B2B company's marketing plans

We chat with Australian manufacturing company, McLanahan, about how CX is changing its supply chain investments, approach to market and engagement efforts

Rising expectations around customer experience is a common topic of conversation among consumer-facing brands. But as consumers come to expect faster delivery, greater personalisation and a more enjoyable overall purchasing experience, even the far reaches of the B2B industrial sector is starting to notice the difference.

Chris Knowles has spent the last seven years working as the APAC sales and marketing manager for US-based industrial equipment maker, McLanahan Corporation, which provides solutions for tasks such as crushing rocks and water management. And even this heavily-industrial sector has witnessed the increasing pressure of rising customer expectations.

“In the B2B space there are many more stakeholders, and a myriad of layered influences,” he tells CMO. “Customer expectations change because they are competing in a global marketplace and are either driving to find new opportunities or reacting to them.”

The increased pressure on B2B organisations was a key finding in the 2017 Green Hat/ADMA B2B Marketing Report. B2B marketers surveyed raised customer experience as their major challenge, with optimisation rated one of the top three objectives.

Manufacturers in particular are looking much further into their downstream supply chain than simply the company they are selling to. Knowles points out most manufacturers in Australia are enablers to other businesses, with their products helping customers deliver value in turn to their own customers.

“Each of our customers has their own specific value proposition,” he says. “Somehow, our product and process needs to feed into that value proposition. Understanding how we fit into the value chain for each customer is our challenge.

“We will always be asked to provide a faster, lighter, more powerful, more efficient, lower resource intensive component, service or system. And yes ... at a lower cost, 90 per cent of the time.”

While speed of supply is critical, Knowles says the key consideration now is around certainty. To this end, McLanahan’s recent investments have been in supply chain, data systems and integration strategies that allow it to better guarantee performance.

At the same time, customers are seeking greater certainty that McLanahan’s supply chain is secure and well-managed, with transparency of its production capacity over the longer term.

“The customer expects evidence of risk management, cash flow management, insurance cover, and in most cases, a list of subcontractors we may consider using,” Knowles says. “The client will also want to discuss KPIs for delivery as well as quality. Early and regular engagement between manufacturers and customers is designed to pre-empt and avoid shocks in the system. Again more open communication in a timely fashion is an expectation.”

While local manufacturers might have once been able to rely on quality as a differentiator, Knowles says this advantage has declined as low-cost manufacturing destinations have roboticised their manufacturing lines, and simultaneously improved quality while keeping costs down.

While the focus for investment at McLanahan’s is on providing information back to clients, clients also expect the equipment they are purchasing can deliver back enhanced performance data.

“It now requires more real-time data on component wear, average and peak power loads, standard deviations on condition monitoring and correlation with upstream and downstream process,” Knowles explains. “The aim is to provide predictive behaviour that allows the customer to assess optimal operating conditions and model scenarios for maintenance, shut downs and peak production windows.”

This in turn, gives greater certainty to customers that they can meet the expectations of their own customers, and eliminate costly surprises, such as shutdowns due to unscheduled maintenance.

But the longer-term focus for Knowles is the current trend to manufactured goods-as-a-service. He gives an example of a goods train, which is paid for based on tonnes of goods transported or kilometres travelled, rather than as an up-front purchase.

“This has been going on since the first Nokia was sold in B2C, but is somewhat new in many B2B applications,” Knowles says.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

 

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why you can’t afford to fail at CX in 2019

In 1976 Apple launched. The business would go on to change the game, setting the bar for customer experience (CX). Seamless customer experience and intuitive designs gave customers exactly what they wanted, making other service experiences pale in comparison.

Damian Kernahan

Founder and CEO, Proto Partners

Natural born leaders

Many business and marketing managers progressing to leadership positions face evolving their focus from operational matters to strategic decision making and planning.

Jean-Luc Ambrosi

Author, marketer

Using artificial intelligence to surprise your customers

​We have expected artificial intelligence (AI) will become part of our everyday lives for quite some time.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Just printed out this Brad Howarth screed to read tomorrow. I need a good laugh once in a while. Or maybe shed some manly-man tears at th...

Larry A Singleton

What a diversity agenda has done for Kellogg's staff and innovation engagement

Read more

Morons. PC Nazis infiltrating and subverting every level in our lives.These scum have destroyed our education system.Read FrontPage Magaz...

Larry A Singleton

What a diversity agenda has done for Kellogg's staff and innovation engagement

Read more

It is an accepted fact that in the present times the mass makes use of digital marketing more often and are more and more enlightened wit...

Digital Marketing Course in Ja

Why RMIT is partnering with Adobe for digital marketing learning

Read more

If men were really the dominating brutes that feminist make them out to be ,then women really would be second class citizens. Without th...

aaron

Analysis: Gillette's latest ad only proves why brands standing for positive change is vital

Read more

In 2019 Augmented Reality plays a vital role in marketing campaign its new way to engaged user with digital content. Try Augmented Realit...

hill william

Predictions: 9 digital marketing trends for 2019

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in