Live from the 2007 ESCA Convention and Expo

I’m spending part of this week at the 11th Annual ESCA (Electronics Supply Chain Association) Convention–a sister association of the SSPA.  But don’t think I’m ignoring customer service and support.  I spoke at the conference opening about my take on the supply chain industry and how it plays a key role in the Customer Loyalty Cycle.

Customer Loyalty Cycle

The loyalty cycle starts with a purchase, and ends with repurchase.  The supply chain plays a huge role in this step:  having the right product, at the right time, at the right price, in the right location.  This slide also shows our ecosystem of associations, with ESCA on the purchase/repurchase side, TPSA (Technical Professional Services) on the implement side, and the SSPA and AFSMI (field service management) on the consume side.

I really enjoyed the first keynote, from IBM’s Paul Brody on “Ecosystem Optimization through Collaboration,” a great presentation on how partners up and down the demand/supply chain must work closely together to succeed, including the trend that the entire process is becoming more end-user focused…again, customers should be at the center.

During lunch, I led an Innovation Tour of the partner Expo, with each participating partner (eBay Private Marketplaces, FreeFlow, i2, IBM, Oracle and SAP) giving a quick 7 minute presentation on the coolest, most innovative piece of their product or service.  I love doing these tours, which we started last year for the SSPA, because it gives conference attendees a quick overview of what’s hot in their industry, and also helps ‘break the ice’ for attendees who are uncomfortable approaching a partner booth, fearing a sales pitch.

I had a great conversation with Anne Patterson, VP of Client Delivery for FreeFlow, who enable companies to sell warehouses full of excess inventory in an online B2B auction.  Many companies just assign someone in the company to dispose of the inventory, hopefully making a profit, but rarely do these activities involve the service organization, and products are often sold without warranties or service contracts.  I wonder how much additional services revenue could be recognized if the services marketing team was involved, creating at the very least some bare-bones support options for companies buying these slightly outdated but perfectly good technology?

With a eye toward the Customer Loyalty Cycle, even companies buying ‘retired’ products should have an excellent service experience, helping them get more business value from their purchase, and hopefully spurring the company to buy more technology from the vendor–and maybe this time paying list price.

If you have any questions or comments, please drop me a line. As always, thanks for reading!


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