Evaluating demand management processes and customer service: a case of Sameer Africa
This study evaluated the role of demand management on customer service level in a tyre manufacturing company. The main objective of the study was to explore the management of demand and supply processes for raw materials and finished goods to meet customer expectations. In Kenya as well as in East Africa, the market for tyres is dominated by various global brands that are distributed by a large number of traders. Thus the market is very competitive and the costumer has a wide choice in terms of outlets and brands. The price-sensitive segment has been gaining market share at the expense of other segments over the past 10 years. Researchers recognize the importance of a systematic and integrated approach to demand and supply processes in creating customer satisfaction, improving firm profitability, and enhancing relationships with customers and suppliers. The study adopted a survey and using a 5-point Likert scale questionnaire collected data from 48 employees of various cadres and from various departments across East Africa. The study was limited to issues relating to demand management and customer service and the role of employees in the demand management process. The study established that the key variables in the demand management processes and customer service include: a customer service culture; product availability and timely delivery; sharing of information on promotional plans; and the use of technology to link demand and supply processes. The study also concluded that a positive change in demand side processes or supply side processes would result in a positive change in customer service level. The findings of the study reveal that the company could enhance customer service and customer satisfaction by adopting a more effective collaboration between marketing, sales and supply chain. This way, the company would be able to differentiate itself not just on product but also on customer service.