Transforming operations and a supply chain is a difficult task that demands comprehensive organizational changes and strategies that can continue to deliver value. One common mistake that organizations incur onto, is biting off more than they can chew when it comes to transformation. Companies rush into the process without proper planning and without balancing it with other priorities, usually to the detriment of overall customer experience and employee engagement.
As always, we have some kind of a project going on at the house, and I ordered some materials from one of the well-known home improvement stores. Their website experience wasn’t the best, but honestly, it was OK. One of the odd things was that I had to select which store it would come from, and make sure they had inventory. So let’s just say that after verifying their stock, I settled for store “A”, which I also happened to visit prior and SEEN THE STUFF. I could have lived with that if they would have just delivered what I ordered, which would have also saved me a trip there. But this where it all broke down.
Someone made a mistake in the warehouse and from the three items I ordered, one of them was switched, and another one was delivered in the wrong color. The basic result was that I ended up being short from two of the items, and with a bunch of some other thing that I never ordered.
Here comes the fun: I called the number on the order. It looks like that’s their online orders department. They asked me what I needed and after explaining everything, they told me I had to call the store it was delivered from, which by the way, wasn’t store “A”. So first question: Why did they changed the store? Second question: If they were going to send me there anyway, Why wasn’t the store’s number on the order, instead of their online ordering department? Third question: Why didn’t they do that right away, instead of asking me all kinds of questions about my order?
Ok. So I call the store, and after I had to explain everything again, and made it clear that they made a mistake, I am met with with this question: “What would you like to do?” I mean, please fix the mistake, Right? Transfer again.
Now this time I finally find someone willing to help. And she tells me -wait for it- that she will have to call their online ordering department to try to fix it! I am really grateful that she was going to do it.
A day passes. No follow up. No notification. Nothing. I call them again. Someone new tells me they are shipping -again- the wrong quantity. This time, frustrated, I talk to their supervisor. She clarifies that it is not a delivery, but a pickup for the stuff that I didn’t order. Well, not terrible. But still bad, because there is no plan yet to get me what I was short of.
Their e-Commerce platform is basically some plaster (appropriate word for a home improvement store) over their existing operation. That would be fine, but they cannot manage an integrated view of all their warehouses in the backend, and well, their personnel still doesn’t understand how the ordering process works.
Their challenge for most companies is to leverage the new technology and digital channels while making the transition without alienating customers or abandoning their current business practices. Modern enterprises must leverage modern technologies to provide a great customer experience while sticking to the best business practices to deliver great services.
Finally and in the context of transformation, it will not always be possible to plainly reduce personnel, as more talented, trained, motivated, and empowered people will be needed if ramping up a new sort of business.
I am not saying who the company was, but I am still waiting for an orange truck.