Ryan Zimmerman On The Challenges And Rewards Of Customer-Centric Manufacturing

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Ryan Zimmerman

Ryan Zimmerman is the founder and CEO of Arzee, an apparel manufacturing company founded in 2016 that works with national brands, high-end designers, as well as smaller startups, with a focus on quality basics. Initially, Zimmerman started Arzee as a streetwear inspired fashion label, but he struggled to find quality manufacturing that would suit his needs as an aspiring designer. Realizing the need for reliable manufacturing with a customer-centric approach, Zimmerman partnered with a local factory and transformed Arzee into the manufacturing operation it is known as today.

But what does it mean for a company to adopt a consumer-centric business model? Nowadays, it goes beyond a quality product and fast customer service response times. “The world is shifting, or rather has already shifted to a very consumer-centric model. Now, everything is about the customer. As a result, we have seen the demand for laser-fast shipping times, customized products, extremely lenient return policies, and so on,” Zimmerman says.

However, a consumer-centric approach is more challenging in manufacturing compared to other industries. “In a manufacturing business, there’s still much that has to be built from scratch, touched by numerous hands. There is some automation, but quality often requires the human touch. And so, much of this can conflict with the consumer demands, driven by the Amazons of the world. As we move forward, our challenge will be adapting to such demands,” Ryan Zimmerman says.

A consumer-centric way of doing business focuses on providing a positive customer experience before and after the sale to drive repeat business, enhance customer loyalty, and improve business growth. Even though this business model is more challenging than traditional ones, it comes with many benefits.

Adopting a consumer-centric approach is relatively straightforward, according to Zimmerman. He believes that the first step is improving communication with the customers by actually listening to their demands and creating products/services that can solve their problems more efficiently.

“Once you shift all your focus and energy toward your customers, you’ll see a big change in your business,” Zimmerman says. “First, improved communication can help you discover more insights about your audience, such as their needs, wants, and expectations. Then, you’ll be able to pinpoint potential obstacles and difficulties your customers may experience in interaction with your brand. As a result, you’ll be able to meet and—quite possibly—exceed customer expectations.”

Satisfied customers result in long-term relationships, repeat business, new clients, and increased revenue. “Arzee is growing over 100% year over year and retaining more than three-fourths of our customers. This clearly shows that our customer-centric approach is working,” Ryan  Zimmerman says. “Everything Arzee does is best in class, but our brand is not just about doing business. It’s about family and friendship with our clients. Arzee is a communal effort to achieve success for everyone involved.”

All aspiring entrepreneurs who are still unsure which business model to adopt, customer centrism is undoubtedly the way to go. Arzee is a prime example that adopting a consumer-centric business model turns out to be a mutually-rewarding relationship that ensures customer satisfaction as well as continuous growth for the company.

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