Monday, April 8, 2013

Service Level and Customer Satisfaction

Is servicing your customers by shipping same day while at the same time balancing manufacturing and distribution something your organization wishes they could do better?

My guess, the answer is “Yes”. 

First of all customer service is the only reason to make changes.  You do not need any process improvement for the sake of making improvements.  There are always better ways of doing the things you are already doing.  Some come at the cost of increased complexity.  Some come at a high price.  Some never materialize.  We look for a Return on Investment (ROI) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) when evaluating a new solution.  Does that return include happy customers?

Even if the process improvement is only designed to save costs.  Do the lower operating costs enable you to maintain competitive pricing for your customers (customer satisfaction)?

For example take a look at this company’s success story:


Multiple locations, many customers, same day service, manufacturing work orders, Material Requirements Planning (MRP), distribution, high inventory levels, warehousing, order entry, shipment processing and financials. 

All on a single system, not multiple systems.

A complete package, simple interface that met the company’s culture, key customer support from the vendor (just like they service their customers), and on a very reliable platform.  Six months from contract to full implementation. 

Automation continues to be the key to cost containment, efficiency and profitability.  Immediate order printing, barcode scanning, picking, shipment integration, and invoicing.  All key to maintaining a high business level for this company.

Forecasting future sales based on history and select overrides enables better planning.  Full integration enables production planning to meet demand.  Capacity planning allows management to adjust resources to meet demand.  Shop Floor Control increases labor reporting accuracy. 

·         “Our service level is second to none.” 

·         “Our Customers can count on us.” 

·         “The quality level is right.”

Where does your company struggle the most? 

Would working with a proven leader be a good start?  You will need to evaluate how well they work with organizations like yours.  Are they so big that you never get a chance to deal directly with their management?  Are they so small that you worry about them getting hit by a bus or going out of business?  Do you have concerns about them being bought out and having to reestablish a new relationship with a new firm?

There is no pain free solution. 

It is an uncomfortable transition to a new system, especially one that may be completely foreign to the way you operate now.  It is akin to open heart surgery.  Run you business as usual and plan, train and implement a new solution at the same time.  Not a pleasant thought, but then again neither is going out of business, because you cannot compete in ever changing markets.  Management needs the information and tools to see how their business is operating and make changes as needed.  A multi vendor solution can have difficulties in presenting the information in a timely manner.   A “big” system can do the job, but may be overkill for the job need.  You need the right size fit. 

A gauge of success is the statement six months later that we do not know how we ever managed before. 

If you can say this, then you know you made the right decision.  The challenge is that you do not know this is what you will say when you start.  So you have to go based on like success stories, and most importantly, your gut reaction dealing with the solution provider.  Are the accessible?  Do they listen?  Do they understand your business, not just your challenges?

At Dolvin Consulting we work with your team to learn what your pain points are and what effect they have on your operations.  We work with industry experts like VAI and IBM to deliver proven quality solutions.  Contact us today to see how we can help you look at what you are doing with new eyes. 

We care.

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