Executives have ranked supply chain functions as ‘relatively unimportant’ in driving cash and growth – it’s time to change their POV

The term C-Level is used to describe anyone whose position title starts with “Chief”, and they are often the most powerful and influential members of an organization. These are the executives who work to set the company’s strategy and make high-stakes decisions to ensure operations flow smoothly and fulfill strategic goals for both the company and their customers. Being a key decision maker presents a unique opportunity to make real change in a company, and many realize that the consumer experience is the crux of creating return business. Many of these changes are transitioning to the digital front, and that can be daunting for some executives.

“The challenge for the C-suite isn’t so much that the transformation is digital, the challenge is that digital technologies are enabling entirely new business models and cost structures,” said Michael Kanazawa, the Americas enterprise innovation leader at EY Consulting. “This can mean a tremendous shift in profitability and competitive positioning for a company. The disruptive nature of ‘going digital’ is what is difficult for the C-suite because it means triggering transformational shifts in the business and significant amounts of change for the entire organization.”

This “digital transformation” and the continuous increase in online ordering are putting shipping and delivery at the forefront. With these two supply chain functions becoming the most important parts of a customer’s shopping experience, C-Level executives need to understand that the supply chain should be of utmost priority. That’s the first challenge. The second challenge?  Backing up your deductions with possible solutions.

So how do you best approach a C-Level executive to present your case?

Find Your Champion and Explain the Problem

Start canvassing managers first, including Directors and Senior Managers, as you’ll want to find senior individuals involved in supply chain, information technology, and operations etc. These will most likely be the people affected by any sort of supply chain change and will need to be involved in the decision-making process. Explain the problem thoroughly to them and find those who see value in your suggestions. Those individuals will be your champions and will help you achieve what you’re after.

Some back-of-house shipping concerns to point out via department:

  • IT Department: Volume constraints, downtime and unreliability, integration roadblocks, improbable scalability, lack of simplicity to make changes
  • Operations and Logistics Department: Carrier non-compliance, laborious labeling, high costs, slow speed, lack of automation
  • E-Commerce Department: Cart abandonment, customer experience and reviews, the Amazon expectation [View Infographic: Top 15 Peak Season Shipping Pain Points]

Focusing on the right metrics is the logical next step. The shipping department within the supply chain generates an overwhelming number of metrics, but many of those metrics do not speak to how supply chain optimization impacts the company’s financial performance. Making that connection will allow the executive to better visualize how supply chain decisions impact the entire company.

Now, make the connection to what C-Level cares about: As you move up the chain of command, remember that C-Level executives have a lot of important decisions they have to make daily, and they’re swamped with ideas from department heads constantly. It’s important to be sure that you explain the qualms that exist in the shipping department in terms of how greatly they affect the company’s brand, reputation, customer loyalty and ultimately, the bottom line (as these are the top four concerns C-Level executives have).

Got it Down? Now, Explain Your Solution

No problem should ever be presented without at least one solution (aka the “so what” of the equation). You’ve proved that shipping and delivery present a clear and undeniable problem in your company, so what can you do to eliminate top shipping efficiency concerns while maintaining customers and their happiness?

First off, remember that the solution you choose is competing with other projects for resources, so know your goals, present priority and be detailed. Align strategically with their existing corporate initiatives and value-based results – prove why your solution is worth implementing and the benefits that it will bring to the company. From the beginning of your presentation, explain the results this will bring – and do so tangibly. Show examples and metrics for measuring performance – C-Level executives need to be persuaded that this product will in fact give a return on investment. All C-Level executives want to hear about ROI and how many times over they’ll see their investment return from the results of the product. [7 Ways to Accelerate ROI with ProShip Multi-Carrier Shipping Software]

Getting connected with and having the opportunity to present to C-Level executives is a goal that everyone trying to instigate change in a company strives to achieve. These are high-ranking executives who are in a position to make the powerful decisions, therefore selling your idea to these officials is extremely important to position correctly. Respond to their urgency by presenting a clear case that can educate and inspire, while helping to lead them to details that can assist in raw decision making. Be sure to plan accordingly and be conscious to engage your group, it could be the first step in directing change. 

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