5 misconceptions about the "perfect order".
For any professional working with supply chains, the ultimate goal is perfect order fulfillment and delivery. This means reaching customers on time and in the most cost-effective way possible. However, there are some misconceptions about how to achieve the perfect order, and many professionals get carried away by what others are doing, or define progress by misleading metrics. Let's demystify these concepts one by one:
1. The order is not "perfect" if the choice is limited to the customer.
Implicit in perfect order fulfillment is one principle: exceptional customer service. If all your company offers is a paid five-week shipment, consistent and on-time delivery will be easy to achieve. But companies can't know what a customer really wants if they only offer rigid, unattractive options.
You must listen to the market and your customers, and give them a real opportunity to express their preferences. This may mean transforming your supply chain to offer more convenient and flexible options such as special packaging and rush orders. Customers appreciate innovation and diversity of choice, so don't be afraid to experiment, and be dynamic in your strategy.
2. The order is not "perfect" if it is not profitable.
Companies often suffer losses when exceptions arise, especially those that are unexpected. This is how many rush to place a full batch of standard-level orders, just to ensure that the order arrives on time. This effort is unnecessary, and detrimental to the company.
In contrast, transportation management systems that are focused on individual orders can separate an exceptional or expedited order from the rest of the shipments. In this way, non-urgent items can continue on their way as scheduled, and companies do not have to sacrifice an urgent order. They simply isolate it and reroute it to a different mode, and a different carrier. Such a technology strategy allows companies to optimize expediting.
With flexibility to adapt flows in a dynamic way to customer service levels and varying constraints, companies can continuously optimize the supply chain for each order. For example, systems such as Omnix's can analyze the chain in real time and thus decide to manage unforeseen events in order to readjust the operation's planning.
3. The "perfect" order does not imply speed.
The perfect order is perfect because it meets the customer's exact specifications, not just because of the speed of delivery. For several years now, there has been a kind of race for faster results. One brand promises free, next-day delivery, thus forcing other companies to offer the same. This approach can have serious financial repercussions, it is not sustainable.
If you do what is ethically right, rather than following the race of others and bowing to the pressure of what is popular, your customers will respect you for it. Consumers are increasingly rethinking the 24-hour delivery paradigm, as the question of ethical working conditions, the increase in accidents on the roads, and the environmental impact settles into the public consciousness.
4. It is not a "perfect" order if it cannot be repeated systematically.
Unforeseen events often affect the perfect delivery of orders. Working in a global business means that the only constant is uncertainty. Delivery success is fairly easy to achieve when everything goes according to plan, and you have a solid and durable technology strategy that is designed for disruptions.
To achieve seamless fulfillment, and make this a staple of your chain operations, it is imperative to invest in technology that provides end-to-end visibility, and is agile and flexible enough to adapt, change course and dynamically readjust order flow and processes. As mentioned above, Omnix is able to change course in this way, and it can do so because it works by providing visibility into the entire operation and data flow in real time, end-to-end.
5. Operations cannot be "as profitable as possible" within a limiting system. Just as an order cannot be perfect if the options for the customer are limited, it cannot be perfect if the options for the business network are limited. The best of the mediocre options available is not enough; there needs to be a continuous improvement strategy that seeks the most favorable partnerships and that monitors growth.
Configurable supply chain orchestration platforms are especially useful for this purpose. This is because they enable quick and easy integration of new customers, flows and products. They also offer dynamic intelligence on who is best to partner with based on current expectations and constraints.