Q&A: GKN Hoeganaes enriches customer journey through digital logistics implementations
Our minds are cemented in a digital mindset. We depend on digital assets to assist in everyday life choices for convenience and time: delivering groceries, shopping for clothes, staying up to date on the news. But for a business-to-business company, a digital mindset focuses on the customer journey through efficiency, continuous improvements and real-time data.
For GKN Hoeganaes, implementing digital logistics into the customer journey has been a necessary steppingstone to increase overall transparency and refine process efficiencies. We spoke with Blake Hanrahan, Customer Service and Commercial Systems Manager, to discuss GKN Hoeganaes’ digital strategy and what we can expect from future roll out initiatives.
Blake, how vital is customer feedback to our commercial and operations teams?
We always encourage our customers to share feedback on how we are doing. GKN Hoeganaes is known for superior customer service and relationship management, but we face common challenges that we work to improve on. Our customers are moving quick, so we want to manage our internal systems to provide real-time data and improve response times. The sooner we digitize every step of the commercial process, the easier we can support our customers keep ahead of the curve.
You mentioned improving internal management systems – can you expand on that?
Earlier this year, GKN Hoeganaes transitioned our commercial management system to a structure that has helped amplify our ability to provide quicker response times. This system has opened collaboration opportunities within our departments and has encouraged more cross-functional communication. This has supplied us with more resources to support our customers quicker and more reliably: our data is much easier to manage and share so our response times have shortened.
How do digital logistics and data management intertwine with each other?
Accurate and quick data is incredibly important to the customer, and certain digital implementations can aid in providing this. We are beginning to integrate radio frequency identification (RFID) by IDing materials sent to the customer. The technology associated with this allows the customer to have access to live data at any point in the process, which helps eliminate smaller mistakes. We know when the powder was consumed, when to issue invoices and when it’s time to re-order material. We are working out the small kinks of the system, and plan to expand this initiative globally.
Aside from the quality of powder, what value does GKN Hoeganaes provide to its customers?
In an industry like powder metal, customer service is what sets you apart. We pride ourselves on our 99 percent on-time delivery rate and efficient customer service. Our customers know that we value their business; when they place an order with us, it is guaranteed they will receive the desired material at the right price with top notch quality and delivery. The more we improve this process through digital implementations, the more we prove that we make changes with our customers in mind.
What updates can we expect to see from GKN Hoeganaes in 2020?
GKN Powder Metallurgy is currently finalizing the details on a customer-centric app that will further improve our customer service by placing all real-time information under one roof. The app will provide customers and suppliers with one home for all accurate, live data. For example, we can track business KPIs, quoting statuses, product launch information and delivery tracking.Technology like this allows our employees to focus on problem solving and relationship management, while our customers receive the necessary data and information an even quicker timeline. The whole team's aim is to ensure that working with us is as effortless as possible, and digital implementations in the industry allow us to keep pushing that message forward.