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Getting Over the Bar: A training guide for winning customer gold

Supply chain managers aiming to deliver unbeatable customer value can learn a lot from winning the decathlon.

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This is an excerpt of the original article. It was written for the September-October 2020 edition of Supply Chain Management Review. The full article is available to current subscribers.

September-October 2020

If it’s September, it must be time for Gartner’s take on the Top 25 supply chains. This marks the 16th year that Gartner has put together its list of the leading supply chains across he globe, a list that now also includes an additional five Masters. Those are companies that so consistently made the list year in and year out that they warranted a category all their own. You can read the article, and the web only material we publish on scmr.com, to find out what it takes to become a supply chain leader.
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Vying for the title, “world’s greatest athlete,” this pair of rivals was featured in a series of Reebok commercials hyping the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Can you name them? If you are a big trivia fan you probably can: Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson. Reebok’s $30 million ad campaign, known simply as “Dan & Dave,” has been called the most famous Olympic ad blitz of all time. Neither Dan nor Dave won gold in Barcelona, but Reebok’s ubiquitous ads connected with the public. Dan and Dave became iconic sports celebrities and the decathlon became a must-see event. And, Reebok boosted sales of its new Pump Graphlite cross trainer as well as its credibility as a high-end sports apparel company.

Reebok’s bet on two relatively unknown decathletes to break Nike’s stranglehold on the track-and-field market was a bold move. You must be equally as bold as you design your supply chain to connect with customers. Delivering unbeatable customer value is a great start, but it isn’t enough. To turn customers into fans, you also need to create remarkable experiences. Dan and Dave’s story is your guide to developing critical capabilities needed to win in the world’s toughest arena—the heart and mind of the customer. Let’s take a closer look at how training for the decathlon can help you earn customer gold ( see Figure 1).

Training Tip #1. Approach: Understand how customers allocate points If you want to win Olympic decathlon gold—or a lifetime stream of customer profits—you need to know how points are allocated. Ironically, a failure to grasp the decathlon’s rules is what made Dan and Dave cultural icons.

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From the September-October 2020 edition of Supply Chain Management Review.

September-October 2020

If it’s September, it must be time for Gartner’s take on the Top 25 supply chains. This marks the 16th year that Gartner has put together its list of the leading supply chains across he globe, a list that now also…
Browse this issue archive.
Access your online digital edition.
Download a PDF file of the September-October 2020 issue.

Vying for the title, “world’s greatest athlete,” this pair of rivals was featured in a series of Reebok commercials hyping the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Can you name them? If you are a big trivia fan you probably can: Dan O’Brien and Dave Johnson. Reebok’s $30 million ad campaign, known simply as “Dan & Dave,” has been called the most famous Olympic ad blitz of all time. Neither Dan nor Dave won gold in Barcelona, but Reebok’s ubiquitous ads connected with the public. Dan and Dave became iconic sports celebrities and the decathlon became a must-see event. And, Reebok boosted sales of its new Pump Graphlite cross trainer as well as its credibility as a high-end sports apparel company.

Reebok’s bet on two relatively unknown decathletes to break Nike’s stranglehold on the track-and-field market was a bold move. You must be equally as bold as you design your supply chain to connect with customers. Delivering unbeatable customer value is a great start, but it isn’t enough. To turn customers into fans, you also need to create remarkable experiences. Dan and Dave’s story is your guide to developing critical capabilities needed to win in the world’s toughest arena—the heart and mind of the customer. Let’s take a closer look at how training for the decathlon can help you earn customer gold ( see Figure 1).

Training Tip #1. Approach: Understand how customers allocate points If you want to win Olympic decathlon gold—or a lifetime stream of customer profits—you need to know how points are allocated. Ironically, a failure to grasp the decathlon’s rules is what made Dan and Dave cultural icons.

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