So, you have a business that sells stock to end-consumers, but there have been complaints recently about how long it's taking to get the product to them after ordering.
What do you do?
Playing the Long Game
For entrepreneurs and business owners, this is a common problem with a complex answer.
It may seem like a quick fix by repeating a process you've always relied on until it finally works, but this is not only inefficient and costly in terms of manpower and resources, it can also lead to misunderstandings with customers.
Here are some ways you can improve your supply chain optimization:
1. Identify Problem Areas
One of the first steps in supply chain optimization is to identify problem areas. To do this, you need to choose a category of complainers and ask them about their experiences.
This can be done by asking questions like, "How many times have you had problems with our order process?” and “If you have had a problem, can we help resolve it?"
You can then take note of their answers so that once your process is set up, you can sort out which parts are most important to improve on.
2. Play to Your Strengths
Once you've identified problem areas, it's time to play to your strengths. Both manual and automated processes can be used to increase efficiency and speed across a range of business pursuits, including inventory optimization and staff workloads.
Automated processes are great for repeatable tasks, such as signing off on a shipment before the driver leaves the facility or automatically reordering supplies.
For repetitive but relatively complicated tasks, humans may currently be able to do it better or faster than computers.
3. Invest in Communication
Great communication involves being able to listen to customers, understand their needs, and respond accordingly.
Businesses that can listen and answer with good communication will have a better time of it when it comes to providing good service.
Customers don't always tell you what they want, though. Good communication involves taking the time to understand what they're getting at and asking open questions. Using common sense is important as well, as you may understand the situation better than your customer does.
4. Outsource Your Supply Chain
Another method of great customer service is having third-party companies manage your supply chain.
This allows you to delegate tasks that would otherwise take up too much of your valuable time to focus on what's most important – what your customers want in terms of a hassle-free experience.
5. Inventory Optimization
Having exactly the right amounts of stock on hand is essential if you want to be able to provide great service to your customers.
No matter how many suppliers you buy from, there will always be times when the incoming shipments arrive before you have time to fulfill all of your orders. Keeping your back-stock levels low reduces the risk of upsetting customers and having to return items.
6. Be Professional at All Times
If you're going to be receiving a lot of calls, emails, or messages from customers, make sure that you keep your tone clear and professional at all times.
Canceling orders, being rude to customers, or simply being unable to answer questions will not only frustrate your customers but can also create a disconnect between you and the rest of your team.
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