Together, we concentrated the CVX engagement on four major North American workwear market customers across three potential segments: large industrial laundries, traditional retail and smaller high growth customers.
Understand & Measure
To help Milliken develop a perspective of its most valuable customer deliverables, the Luminas team conducted surveys and working sessions with cross-functional customer support representatives. This process produced a cross-segment hypothesis of the differential value that Milliken was currently delivering to each customer across the segments.
Comparing Milliken’s products and services to the customer-provided next best alternatives, the internal team agreed that Milliken delivered differential value through supply chain, innovation, product quality and product differentiation.
Luminas obtained internal perspective consensus and facilitated five (5) validation interviews with four Milliken customers, representing five distinct customer brands. The outcomes revealed that while three customer relationships were mutually beneficial and held significant prospects for partnership-level growth, two were delivering far less value than Milliken estimated and potentially at risk of not delivering anticipated growth. See two validation examples in Figure 1.
Milliken gained beneficial insights from the validation exercise related to the customer-reported product and service attributes that deliver differential value. Milliken’s supply chain differential value was greater than estimated, primarily due to its on-time delivery performance, which allowed customers to realize additional sale potential and necessary production-scaling abilities. Compared to a key competitor, Milliken’s distinct product quality contributed to the customer’s ability to reduce manufacturing costs.
Milliken also obtained a deeper understanding of its true competition based on customer feedback and became aware of “blind spots” that posed potential business risks.
“Before CVX, we had a very limited view of our value proposition – and in some cases a misplaced view,” said Charles Crowell, Director of Corporate Strategy, Milliken and Company. “In one case we were completely wrong about what our customer valued and who they believed our competition to be. It was a real wake-up call.”
Luminas compared Milliken’s internal perspective of its provided differential value to each customer with the customer-validated calculations. This evaluation helped identify key insights and actions that would play a crucial role in developing a customized, mutually beneficial growth strategy.
The customers shared a detailed and prioritized list of future growth opportunities and invited Milliken to consider new products, services and capabilities to support growth priorities. Similarly, Milliken offered ideas for customer consideration to assist in evaluating customer-driven growth opportunities based on the potential contribution each partner could make to foster growth and profitability.
The account teams discovered their customers shared a list of prioritized future opportunities that could contribute to Milliken delivering more customer value:
- Faster product innovation
- Cost reduction on current products
- Supply chain improvements to support global footprint and growth
- Cost-effective use of new global product technologies
- Quicker scale-up to production capabilities
Results and Recommendations
Based on the CVX findings, Luminas provided Milliken with a unique set of recommendations for each customer that included key observations, suggested actions and the expected impact.
Next, Milliken gained internal alignment on the following key decisions as the most important areas to act:
Luminas reviewed the validation exercise and related insights and facilitated a planning workshop with each of Milliken’s customer account teams. They agreed upon a list of eight (8) key action items specific to Milliken’s business that could be implemented with confidence across all five customer brands to create and capture additional customer value.
“The Customer Value Xcelerator process showed our customers that we want to understand what is important to their business,” said Crowell. “The customers, overall, found value in doing the deep dive and discovering that we really care.”
Validated customer insights help organizations make more confident decisions to capture customer value. Luminas leveraged the detailed information provided by Milliken’s customers to help the company recognize the benefit of enhanced customer collaboration and taking an outside-in approach to customer relationships. This method captured a more accurate perspective of the competitive landscape and gained a prioritized list of investment opportunities.
“The whole team took part in the CVX process and now they’re involved and engaged in strategic customer planning, which is something they’ve never done before,” said Jeff Morris, Senior Vice President, Milliken & Company. “We’d always been an internally-focused culture; now we’re actively taking an interest in our customers’ businesses and spending time to understand how we can win and grow together.”