Customer business can be a very volatile market and can shift for many reasons or factors such as market forces, economic forces, business mergers and acquisitions, changing consumer buying habits, etc. For these very reasons, it is vital that companies continually seek out new customers and business opportunities through strategic prospecting. Strategic prospecting helps companies to identify the most efficient and effective way to obtain new business. Strategic prospecting also helps identify potential sale opportunities.
For this topic, we will focus on the company CHEP. CHEP Pallet is a leader in the industry with over 300 million pallets in circulation at any moment and moves more customer goods than any other business in existence (www.chep.com). CHEP has a global and diverse network of customers located throughout the US and internationally. CHEP operates on a circular business model that encompasses share and reuse of their pallets which is commonly referred to as pallet pooling.
New customer business not only helps bring in profits for a company, but new customers also help grow a business. One way in which CHEP prospects for new customers is through existing customer referrals. An important value to the company is ‘all things begin with the customer (www.brambles.com). CHEP builds solid relationships with their customers by helping to create and/or improve value stream and efficiency in the customer’s supply chain. Working alongside their customers provides the opportunity to establish trust and lay the foundation for a long term business relationship. Such long-term relationships develop mutually beneficial outcomes and are characterized by trust, open communication, common goals, commitment to mutual gain, and organizational support (Ingram, Laforge, Avila, Schwepker, William 2-1). It is these very same customer relationships that create positive interest and referrals for new business. Existing customer referrals provide CHEP with rich opportunities for potential pipelines of new business. Word of mouth marketing from existing customers provides the company the opportunity to showcase their products and services that could result in new business.
Another way in which the company prospects new customers is by engaging them through strategic leadership forums and industry initiatives. This type of social networking helps them to build new relationships in different industries and opens up gateways for potential new customers and new business. For example, in 2013 CHEP joined the World Economic Forum food waste project as a committee member. This collaboration provided CHEP an opportunity to play a vital role in helping companies to reduce food waste. It also gave the company exposure to customers and industries they may not have ever otherwise encountered directly. CHEP also works with other leading organizations and lists its association partnerships on its website (www.brambles.com).
CHEP conducts a competitive analysis of its competitors to gain useful insight and understanding of their companies. This analysis can help to determine potential sale prospects based on how customers view the company and what value they may or may not have. To help further the topic we will discuss one of CHEP's biggest competitors. Pallet One is the company in the same strategy group as CHEP. Although Pallet One is smaller in size than CHEP, they’re CHEP’s biggest rival. Pallet One is the largest new pallet manufacturer in the nation but they cater to most customers in the industrial industry. The lack of Pallet One's diverse industry applications gives CHEP a competitive advantage and seek out industrial customers for new business.
Sales Dialogues and Presentations
Like many companies, CHEP has traditional brochures and visual presentations and onsite customer presentations. But, they also have some far more powerful! One CHEPs most effective way of presentation is through its state-of-the-art testing facility. The facility is currently the leading developer of protocols of test design and standards which define how unit loads should perform to ensure the protection of their contents during the upper changing hazard distribution global environment (www.chep.com).
The Innovation Center conducts different tests to replicate different customer environments and test the pallet in worst-case type scenarios. CHEP distinguishes its pallets from its competitor by highlighting some of its most important features like the pallet’s durability, sustainability, loading capabilities. By conducting multiple tests, the facility can determine and establish safe loading and shipping.
The facility has two environmental chambers which tempers range from -30 degrees up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The environmental chambers test how the pallet will hold up in different environmental conditions ranging from extremely cold to extremely hot. The facility also has humidity control chambers that go from 5% to 95 % to test the pallet under moisture conditions to determine its specification (www.chep.com).
Precision drop testing where they take pallets and drop them along the face, corners, and edges. This measures how well the pallet holds up if it’s dropped during transport. Incline impact station-doing impact along all four sides of the pallet while loaded with goads. The test is the pullback, so when the carriage is pulled back – the unit load will have a propensity to collapse to shift (www.chep.com). Incline impact station-doing impact along all four sides of the pallet while loaded with goads. The test is more so the pullback, so when the carriage is pulled back the unit load will have a propensity to collapse to shift. The vibration table replicates transportation from point A to point B. One hour at the vibration station is equal to 500 miles of transit. This allows the customer to understand the load capacity of goods during hauling.
The CHEP innovation center allows customers the opportunity to see how the pallet performs when being exposed to conditions ranging from normal to extreme. This presentation provides a clear vision of how CHEP’s pallet would potentially perform in the customer’s environment and therefore enhancing new business opportunities.
- “Pallet One: Our Story.” Retrieved on 02/08/202 Retrieved from https://www.palletone.com/about/our-story/
- “Demand Generation Internship” Retrieved on 02/09/2020 Retrieved from https://www.internships.com/posting/sam_BxDjHSgv-2hzT37aO-kR82YGw9gTaOcq3uSi4qPBT9gZoF70L-vidA
- “Brambles Approach to Customers” Retrieved on 02/09/2020 Retrieved from https://www.brambles.com/Content/cms/pdf/Sustainability/Customer/Customer_management_approach.pdf
- Ingram, Laforge, Avila, Schwepker, William (2015). Customer Relations for Managers https://4ltrpressonline.cengage.com/products/YSVM5QQ5X39B97ZQ0612
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