Most consumers desire a personal experience. We want the bartender to know our name and make our favorite drink just the way we like it. I want a suit that fits me just right and not one off the rack made for any number of guys out there. We enjoy ‘building’ a new car on a web site, if for no other reason than to dream about that vehicle sitting in the driveway.
“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” – Henry Ford
When we are spending hard earned dollars we don’t want Henry Ford whispering in our ear “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.” (Side note: this, like many, is a misunderstood quote. Ford did not want to limit customer choice, he wanted to limit variability so he could make as many of his Model T’s as possible and get them into the hands of the masses).
For some people, a custom possession is a way to stand out from the crowd. For others it is seen as better investment. Some are looking for the best fit possible.
There Are Always Options
A way to think about selecting an implementation partner is to consider the options to build a house. There are large builders that buy significant tracts of land, plan each site for maximum density, and design the homes in such a way to make the building process predictable and repeatable. Swarms of tradespeople descend on the site working to a set plan. If you want a three car garage instead of the designed two car, then that can be an expensive and time-consuming proposition. The builder maximizes margin by having a proverbial cookie cutter profile for the buyer to consider. Some superficial (interior paint) can be chosen, but by and large revisions to make it your home are on your nickel.
Another option is to engage an architect directly who will get to know you, your lifestyle, preferences in materials, etc. The architect will create a design that is unique to you that craftsmen can use to build to your specifications. You want a whirlpool bath in the kitchen? Done. You need a room for your Ostrich egg collection? No problem. You call the shots with the advice of the team you hired. Stories abound about clients that started with a large “name” builder (or in integrator vis-a-vis technology) who did not have the desire or ability to change with the client’s unique requests. A firm with a craftsman attitude is often able to step up and deliver a more client-centric result.
A firm with a craftsman attitude is often able to step up and deliver a more client-centric result.
The outcomes are the same – a functioning home. However, one route is primarily driven by someone else with a prescribed approach with little input from the buyer. The other approach is personal and executed with an engaged client. Which would you prefer? Seems obvious to me.
Consider a custom builder versus a pre-planned “stamp ‘em out” fabricator for your logistics advisor. You may find your house becomes the perfect Home.
Dennis Heppner is a Principal at JBF Consulting. Dennis’ expertise in transportation, logistics and supply chain operations, and third-party providers spans 25+ years. His experience is broad-based, spanning entire supply chains, including business process redesign, sourcing, distribution network design, transportation management, distribution operations, outsourcing selection, and business strategy for major manufacturers, distributors, retailers including eCommerce, and service organizations.
About JBF Consulting
Since 2003, we’ve been helping shippers of all sizes and across many industries select, implement and squeeze as much value as possible out of their logistics systems. We speak your language — not consultant-speak – and we get to know you. Our leadership team has over 70 years of logistics and TMS implementation experience. Because we operate in a niche — we’re not all things to all people — our team members have a very specialized skill set: logistics operations experience + transportation technology + communication and problem-solving skills + a bunch of other cool stuff.