Perfect Order Strategy: Managing Your Workforce
Every business, including those in the shipping industry, is constantly repeating the mantra that customer satisfaction and loyalty are the most important goals of the company. To reach this objective, businesses need to doggedly pursue the “perfect order”.
Yet, you cannot begin the chase before defining a perfect order and that is a difficult task. The perfect order is a subjective set of goals and values that varies from industry to industry, business to business and person to person. The perfect order is also continuously evolving, and even if the company feels it has achieved the perfect order for a customer, the question remains whether that is congruent with the perfect order for the business—did the company deliver it while maximizing efficiency and profitability?
The Target is Moving
Customer expectations that are continuously evolving and a drive to profitability that is constantly becoming more difficult are two challenges that make hitting the perfect order feel like you are chasing a moving target.
For instance, a common belief is that delivering the perfect order translates to providing your customer with a perfect experience. The experience a business aims to provide is one in which it exceeds a customer’s expectations, but at the same time, increase visibility and flexibility for the company’s partners and vendors. So, not only are you trying to provide the perfect order for your customers, but you are trying to extend this experience to encompass the business’s partners.
In addition, businesses are facing an increasingly competitive environment where profitability is being squeezed constantly. The increase in margin pressures and operational expenses, along with capacity limitations, requires a more determined focus on attaining greater efficiencies. Businesses are trying to provide value-added services, like kitting, almost-instantaneous deliveries or customized packaging, to differentiate themselves from the competition. However, this increases the cost burden and complexity of providing a simple delivery service.
The ‘Not So’ Secret Weapon: Your Workforce
Unfortunately, companies are so obsessed with finding the right balance between efficiencies, profitability and customer expectations; they often ignore their workforce, an aspect where there is typically room for considerable improvement. Management of your workforce represents an important business opportunity.
The performance of frontline employees has a huge impact on your operations, efficiency and profitability. This is most likely the biggest factor in delivering a perfect order. Your staff is involved at every level of the business process—order taking and entry, shipping, transportation, delivery and customer support. To put it simply, people drive your business.
Managing your workforce can help discover idle capacity and identify cost saving areas. A detailed labor performance data analysis can help discover which functions are performing poorly and make corrective modifications.
Tapping into this additional productivity can provide your company with additional capacity and improve efficiency. These are critical factors if your business wants to provide value-added services or if it wants to sign on more customers.
Discovering time lost on labor activities that are not providing any value to customers can also help refocus your employees towards those activities that provide the best efficiencies or simply reduce labor costs. Additionally, a better knowledge of your costs can improve your bids for new business.
Improving your workforce management can help you reach moving perfect order targets, for your customers as well as your overall profitability.
Chasing the Perfect Order
The perfect order idea in business has certainly changed and your employee management techniques have to evolve to keep pace with the new perfect order. Innovative logistics, transportation and delivery service providers need to increase productivity and control costs to meet the ever-rising customer expectations.