Tag Archive: strongest link

Are You Investing in Service?

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Unanimously, since the recession, our clients have seen an increase in customer expectations. Excellent customer service has become expected. Instead, we must stand out from the crowd to keep the business. What must we do to maintain our preferential position in our customers’ eyes? A few questions to think about include the following: 1. Are you investing in customer service like you invest in people, systems and programs? How much do you put aside for this critical endeavor? 2. Who is responsible for customer service? Is it a Customer Service or Sales Manager? Why isn’t it a part of each person’s performance? Does the CEO consider himself/herself…
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Are You Ready for a Surprise Inspection of Your Service?

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In almost every client, trade association and trusted advisor meeting I attend, service emerges as a hot topic. In today’s Amazon-impacted world, our expectations are high. Although we might not complain, good service is no longer sufficient. If you don’t meet and frequently exceed expectations, you will lose customers. There are countless options available and loyalty runs only so deep. Thus, it makes sense to put aside time to think over key questions with your team: Who is responsible for customer care in your organization? Are they able to impact service? How do you measure servicing success? And how does it align…
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Case Study In Increasing On Time Delivery Performance

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Situation: Our client struggled with low customer service levels since they cut back with inventory on the ‘wrong’ items during a time of tight cash flow. Of course to add fuel to the fire, the customer also wanted product to be delivered at least 20% earlier, ideally 50% earlier. If our client didn’t find a way to respond quickly, they would risk losing key customers. Path Forward: Upon looking at the order fulfillment flow, there were countless areas of opportunity. However, simultaneously working on these solutions would tax already-maxed out resources (who also were frustrated by angry customers) and accomplish…
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Obsession with Your Customer

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One of our clients has a healthy obsession for the customer! It might drive some of his employees a little mad but it is effective. Adopting a bit of healthy obsession for your customers can go a long way! In this case, our client was particular with every customer-facing document, interaction, piece of information and the like. This owner would keep track of who ordered what throughout each day, kept a pulse on what was going on vs. prior years, like years and would ask his employees who interacted with customers for customer feedback and the pulse of customers multiple…
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Will Your Supply Chain Risk Surprise You?

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Supply chain risks abound! Just look at the recent bankruptcy of Hanjin. It created havoc in the global supply chain. Ships were virtually stranded on the water. No one knew how they’d get paid. Customers still needed the product. And so the results were scary. Have you thought about these types of risks within your supply chain? At our APICS Inland Empire executive panel and networking symposium, we had a panel of experts on navigating the global supply chain. A renowned international business attorney brought up a significant topic — what if a conflict brews in the South China sea?…
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Hot Topics in Supply Chain Management?

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One of the reasons we attend the APICS International Conference is to understand what is trending in supply chain today. Which topics are “hot”? Logistics – APICS’ new certification, CLTD (certified in logistics, transportation and distribution) is the hottest ticket in town. Not only were there many educational sessions about these topics, the APICS Inland Empire chapter gets inquiries every week about it. In today’s Amazon-impacted world, logistics is cornerstone to success – how else will you deliver exceptional customer service rapidly and cost-effectively? SIOP (Sales & Operations Planning) – this is near and dear to my heart as a…
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Cross-Functional Success

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Although working cross-functionally is a basic tenet in every organization we’ve ever seen, it remains elusive to many. Certainly the topic arises frequently no matter what product or service is offered as coordination is required to conduct business. For example, we are working with a company to prepare for go-live, and the most challenging aspect lately has been to get every functional area to work in concert with each other within the order fulfillment process. Unfortunately, it requires more than simple coordination, although that alone would be a start in many organizations. In our case, as errors arise (which is…
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Why Customer Service Trumps All

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Although we work on many topics impacting manufacturers and distributors, we have found that the most popular — and vital — is customer service. Prior to the recession, most companies called for our inventory management expertise and how to understand and manage costs (and therefore strategically price); however, since the recession, almost everyone that calls has some element of the customer in their conversation. As our passion surrounds customer service which must start with your customers (your employees), we love this development. From a financial point-of-view, the customer has a profound impact on business performance. Clients call for every one…
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Who Cares about Process Disciplines?

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Who cares about process disciplines? All executives say they care but few are willing to focus the efforts on instilling process disciplines. It seems like a less important topic than creating a new product, expanding into new markets or increasing margins; however, it is at the crux of success! No improvements can be made in inventory, service, efficiencies and the like without starting here. When we see a client with excellent process disciplines, we typically see the following: Clear understanding of roles and responsibilities Clear understanding of the process steps and related system transactions that support the business. Clear understanding…
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I Can’t Find What I Need in My Warehouse!

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How many times have we heard this? Or, perhaps your inventory resource will keep looking until he/she finds it; however, it took them 3 times as long to pick product to ship or materials to supply the line? Perhaps the line shuts down…..not good! Unfortunately, in my experience with manufacturing and distribution companies over the last 25+ years, it happens every day. Logistics managers are constantly struggling to keep their inventory intact. The problem is that inventory accuracy is dependent on several factors spread across multiple functions: Transaction timing – it is not good enough to eventually (perhaps the end…
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