Mining Customer Service Feedback for Process Improvement Opportunities
This post is part 5 in a series of 10 different approaches to addressing the common challenges faced by distribution centers (DCs) across a broad range of industries without investing in automation.
The fourth blog in this 10-part series exploring ways to enhance operational efficiency without investing in automation examined the impact of changing order patterns and approaches to mitigate their effect on productivity and throughput. In today’s installment, we’ll look at how to utilize input from front-line customer service associates and suppliers to discover areas for improved picking accuracy and efficiency.
Step 5: Improve Customer Service
Who takes the brunt of customer frustration when a received order is incorrect, lacks an item, or doesn’t arrive on time? Your operation’s customer service team. On the front lines and tasked with making things right, customer service representatives are also experts in identifying and quantifying what went wrong. That’s why they can be a tremendous resource for process improvement ideas that might not be otherwise obvious in the DC.
For example, customer service reps might know that mis-picked items are causing a huge issue with customer satisfaction. Armed with that information, a DC manager or supervisor can evaluate the metrics to determine which item(s) are most often picked erroneously and investigate. After a closer look, the item in question might be packaged in a three-pack, but a pick order of “one” might be causing confusion. Does that mean one of the three in the package, or one package of three? Simply by adding a picture at the pick face of what the pick should look like can eliminate that mistake.
The ability to further analyze errors and improve processes is the reason it’s critical to document the “why” about mis-picks or returned items from customers. Likewise, exchanging receiving information — such as overage, late, wrong pack, wrong ship, not in system, shortage and more — with suppliers can reduce errors and improve customer satisfaction. Consider walking through the truck unloading process on-site with a vendor to identify and solve issues before they result in chargebacks.
To learn more about the other nine steps, download the latest Honeywell Intelligrated white paper, “10 Steps to Improve Operational Efficiency: Addressing Common Order Fulfillment Challenges Without Investing in Automation.” The sixth step in this series, “Remove the Barriers to Success,” is up next.