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Unit 1 : Introduction to Customer Service and the Supply Chain

 Unit 1  Introduction to the Programme and an overview of the business.  
Key Objectives of this unit  Detailed content of the Unit  Process
 Introduction session with an overview of the programme outlining what will be covered; ensure that candidates identify their personal objectives and expectations.

Conduct an exercise to examine how customers interact with the organisation.

 To identify some of the drivers for change, external and internally

Explore some of the things that are driving change within the Business by examining the external and internal factors that influence the business.

What is competitive advantage?

  • What are the strategies, skills, and resources etc that differentiate your business from its competitors?
  • How do you provide goods and services in a way which customers value more than, and choose in preference to, those of competitors?
  • What gives you an edge or lead over competitors?
  • How do you develop new products and services?


Customer relationship management (CRM)

We examine why Customer Management is so important in today’s business environment.

We try to gain insight into customer behaviour and needs in order to modify the operations to improve our ability to serve.

 This initial unit involves the team analysing their business environment in the following sequence :

  • Developing a PESTLE analysis of the Market drivers: identifying the external influences affecting the business.
  • Using Porter’s 5 Forces model as a tool for assessing what particular factors influence our part of the industry.
  • Assessing how our products and services match these requirements: analyzing the product portfolio.
  • What are the USP’s of the business? Undertake a SWOT analysis of the critical factors.
  • Develop a Boston Matrix analysis of the product portfolio supplied by the company.
  • Introduction to the Ansoff Matrix.
  • Where do your external customers come from?
  • Why do they stay and why and where do they go?
  • The role of Customer service in all this.


  • Why do we need Customer management systems?
  • Why is customer related information so important?
  • Why is consistency so important?
  • Who handles what?
 Unit 2  Introduction to Customer Service and the Supply Chain.   
 Defining what is meant by Customer Service and how it differs from historic approaches. Using Empirical methods to identify key process factors, rather than uncritically accepting pre-existing ideas.  The emphasis during this session is to get the team to conceptualise the whole supply chain, not just the role of their function.  A failure in any link of the chain is a failure for the whole chain : whether they are responsible or not!

Amongst the things we cover are…

  1. What is the customer looking for from our organisation in terms of service?
  • Attributes of a successful Customer Service function.                     
  • Understanding Customers Wants and Needs.


  1. The supply chain : what are the links in the chain?
  2. What happens at the linkages in the chain : how do stakeholders interact?


Followed by a Lean Simulation exercise (Stickle Brick game) where a lot of the concepts explored later in the course will be exposed!

 Amongst things we introduce in this session are:

  • Mapping the customer network :


    1. The ‘end’ customer – who receives the product (or  service)
    2. Who you provide ‘output’ for within your organisation
    3. Who is reliant on what you do to be able to complete their part
    4. Who are you a customer of ?


  • “Value” as defined as any action or process that a customer would be willing to pay for.


  • Lean,” from the perspective of the customer who consumes a product or service.


  • Discuss various approaches to Lean thinking in the context of the management of all types of operational and administrative activities.