In 1994, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos read a statistic that the Internet had been growing at 2300 percent annually. He fashioned that changing tide into a business plan that has been breaking barriers across supply chain and e-commerce that has left an indelible mark.
Beginning with booksellers, the e-commerce giant has expedited the closure of many retailers and threatens to redefine the standards of shopping in a digital world. Retailers are forced to lower prices, optimize their systems and processes, and reduce profit margins in favor of competition; meanwhile, Amazon continues its trek toward dominance.
“Omnichannel” is certainly the prevalent phrase in the E-Commerce arena. The expectation in an Omnichannel world is that a customer can order what they want, when they want, on whatever device they want, and have it delivered how they want.
The physical delivery part of the Omnichannel expectation can be very elusive. Many companies claim that they are Omnichannel service providers. But are they really?
How many E-Commerce Fulfillment options are there? And how many do you provide in your company?
Even though modern coffee machines offer an attractive variety of caffeinated drinks like cappuccino or latte macchiato, for me it is a simple cup of black coffee that helps kick-start my productivity when the clock strikes 8 am.
This “kick-start”, or boost aspect of coffee was randomly discovered between the sixth and the ninth century. A widespread tale sets the scene in the kingdom of Kaffa, in Abyssinia – which today is Ethiopia – where a shepherd one day observed that his sheep were unusually cheerful after eating white blossoms and red cherries from a previously unknown plant. Further, it is said that the shepherd told monks from the nearby monastery about his new discovery, but they tagged the beans as “Devil´s work” and hurled them into a fire. The delicious smell that rose from the pit of the fire brought on the idea of roasting the beans.
The company I had just joined was nearing the finish line on the implementation of a new WMS system. They had been working on the system change for a few years. Now implementation was only a few months away.
As the implementation date drew closer one of the key Warehouse management leaders, heading the project from the beginning, left the company. We forged ahead and implemented the system on April 1st. That’s right, April 1st!
“The receiving docks are backed up. We have trucks in the parking lot waiting to unload their goods. There are even more containers on their way. And we have no empty space left in the warehouse racking.”
That was the actual conversation I had with the head of the Distribution Centre (DC). We had a big problem on our hands to say the least.
As the marketplace for physical products continues to transition online, the customer experiences far less interaction with the actual company. These lost opportunities for a business to impress through exemplary service will need to be compensated for in other ways. According to Small Biz Trends, the probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60 and 70 percent, while the probability of selling to a new customer is between 5 and 20 percent.
In today’s eCommerce landscape, the majority of customers interact with you only two times, once when they make a purchase on your website and then again when the product is delivered. Improving your website’s conversion rate is very important and gains a lot of attention in the eCommerce industry, while the unboxing experience is too often overlooked.
We had completed value stream mapping the current state processes across some very significant business processes in the company. It took a fair amount of time even though we had the active involvement of subject matter experts and leaders from every functional organization.
When all was said and done the current state involved hundreds of process steps, almost 200 pain points, and dozens of iterative, repetitive loops. The company was just being introduced to Lean process improvement techniques. And as challenging as it was to reach a common understanding of what the current processes were the difficult part was about to start.
How were we going to define and map the Future State process?