Magazine article Management Today

Mock the Title, Heed the Message

Magazine article Management Today

Mock the Title, Heed the Message

Article excerpt

There is always a snigger when the cleaning contractor presents himself as an office environment manager or the logo designer suggests she and her agency are managing their customers' self-image. Often such claims are wishful thinking at best, and confusing self-promotion at worst. But there is a valid and important thrust behind the rhetoric: enlightened managers are continually looking for ways to move themselves up the value chain with their customers. Across service industries, a critical goal is to become established as a partner supplying holistic medicine to the customer's body corporate rather than as a straightforward supplier of a single service. The most progressive retailers, such as the supermarkets, are driving at the same goal with their loyalty cards; the information the cards gather can be used not only to tighten relationships, but also to give the stores a greater chance of adding value to their customers.

The same arguments apply even more strongly to the manufacturing sector. The sub-contract manufacturer or simple component supplier is - or certainly should be - increasingly aware that life without a proprietary product or a unique relationship with customers can only get tougher. For this reason their goal is the same as the service providers': to move themselves up the value chain. This may involve working with their customers in developing products so that their firm becomes not just a supplier of goods but an integral part of their clients' business thinking. …

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