I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be consistent. When I worked at a restaurant years ago, I was told that the one thing customers don’t pay any attention to unless it disappears is consistency. You can be as bold as you like in creating innovative products, but if you’re unable to satisfy your customers’ core needs, your repeat business will dwindle and you’ll have to drastically change something to survive.
I would like to suggest four things you can do to improve your company’s consistency:
Try not to think only in terms of cost efficiency and profitability. Those are definitely important, and they should be part of all business decisions, but in the end the most important thing is whether or not your customers are satisfied. Think about how you can best serve your customers, and then work out all the other details around that.
It’s not enough to make good plans. You need to make sure everyone in your company is aware of them so they can put them into practice. Train all of your new employees on your policies, and keep customer service as a top priority.
Once you have the right plans and training in place, you should focus on controlling your inventory levels so you always have the right amount of inventory on hand to meet demand. By keeping a close eye on your inventory, you can also prevent overstocks. This is a good way to cut costs and improve customer service.
Build Strong Vendor Relationships
A good way to consistently provide products to customers is to cultivate relationships with multiple vendors. You can compare their performance and choose the ones with the best track records and prices to be your primary suppliers. You can also have backups in case you run into supply problems with one vendor.
Is it realistic to expect companies to be perfectly consistent all the time? Life is uncertain, but if you follow the steps above, you can increase your chances of being dependable for your customers. Sometimes the best we can do to be consistent is to plan for inconsistency.