How to delivery excellence service, from massage to consulting

I love massage in Thailand. After seating long hours before the computer screen to put everything in good hands before my holiday and several hours’ flight, I just cannot wait to book a spa package the very evening I arrive. Since I enjoy it so much, I never ask myself why I like it, question its authenticity; or even link it to my job.

The iconic Spa normally would be located in peaceful place with gentle music, nice young female masseuses wearing traditional Thai skirt. Price difference normally comes from location rather than skill of masseuses. We can use Traditional Thai Massage as baseline price in Chiang Mai.

Slide1

In my trip to ChiangMai last month, we were thrilled to find one report located in fantastic mountain area charging only 400 THB for 2 hour traditional Thai massage. We managed to get the booking, even though the receptionist spoke little English.

The message turned out to give me some surprises.

Slide2

  • Pure massage. It’s 100% pure massage in an old-fashioned cottage room without music, dessert, and tea.
  • Authentic Thai massage (or closer to authentic Thai massage). The masseuses actually treat our body very “serious”, using their whole body to do restorative yoga, which help me start to understand my previous Thai massage experience in decent Spa location is all “tourist-spa-with-a-little-bit-taste-for-what-is-traditional-Thai-Spa”.
  • We got charged for the room half day; because the receptionist thought we would stay one night, which simply is a communication issue.

It’s not bad experience actually, but both my husband and I agreed that we would not come again, even it’s pure, authentic, cheap Thai Massages. I start to realize:

Good spa is not just about how good the massage itself is, but more about the holistic feeling the customers would have.

Compared to my job in consulting service or any other job in service industry which is about dealing with people and solving people’s problem, excellent service does not just come from knowledgeable and intelligent experts, those “soft” elements always play a very important part in delivering service – how to give customer the feeling that they are being served and how to help them feel great in the end?

Slide3

Quality of the solution

  • Thai Massage: profession skillsets of masseuses are important, but it’s not the only element to help customers relax from a spa; authenticity may not be acceptable by everyone。
  • Consulting Service: a well-designed solution may not be fit-for-purpose; knowledgeable consultants cannot guarantee customer’s satisfaction.

Quality of the communication

  • Thai Massage: understand what customers want and scope the package.
  • Consulting Service: align the scope and service requirement at the very beginning.

Customer experience of being served

  • Thai Massage: tea, desert, nice music and smell give the customers feeling of being served.
  • Consulting Service: handle the emotional needs (e.g. urgency, anger, frustrated, worries) and manage the relationship with the customers.

Easiness to access the service:

  • Thai Massage: close to hotel, resort or downtown; providing picking up service.
  • Consulting Service: customers can easily get support when they need it.

It’s difficult to give black-and-white weight to different aspect to massages; somehow customers would still calculate unconsciously and make an easy choice, like me and my husband.

For consulting service, customers do not have such luxury to make an easy choice to decide which vendors to choose, but I believe everyone would have his or her own scale to rank the service and it would matter for long-term.

Hope it’s not too late it realize it just now.

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Process Mindset 05 Caution! Pitfall ahead!

As I shared, process mapping is just one approach of many and process mindset is one perspective to view the world; miss-use or over-use would eventually lead to inefficiency or kill the innovation.  Here are some pitfalls that either I have witnessed, experienced, or unfortunately, fallen into.

Pitfall

I do think there is no way to be mistake-free; but we need the right focus and ensure the most important thing is on the right track. Sometimes, whatever that makes it work may just screw it up, when going to extreme. On one hand, process mindset requires us to focus black-and-white rules, responsibilities and discipline; on the other hand, unfortunately, being too strict with it would not help solve the challenges coming from the volatile and diversified nature of our world.

Therefore, it may sound like cliché; but the solution would simply be to

  • Be situational
  • Be flexible
  • Be open-minded

It’s only about processes

Mapping the process is just one way to break down complex puzzles. Focusing too much on processes may lead to a situation where the main element in the process like people, is just ignored. For example, mapping all the processes in which customer service team is involved may not help to create a useful tool for the team to manage their operational tasks from order to billing; because designing such a tool needs us to observe what kind of tasks the team is doing on daily basis to reach their performance goal. Another example, implementing SAP WMS may help the inventory management, but the fundamental question would be – is the team ready to follow the discipline required by WMS.

Solution: think end-to-end for processes, but also bear in mind the final goal and leave some space for people element – help them link the dots. People, process, technology – that is the general prioritization guideline.

Everything should be mapped into processes

Mapping everything is as suffering as in chaos without processes at all. Study the detailed processes which may only happen once a year without much value-wise or quantity-wise impact is not only waste of time, but also not trusting our basic human judgement.

Solution: solve the issue that really matters; 80/20 can be a simple threshold.

Everything should be mapped at the same level of details

Granularity to define the process is a situational judgement as I shared in what is business process; therefore, it’s difficult to set restrict rules for which level of details we have to capture. Adding new scenario of raising invoice with the same processes and system functions may not even require a new process map; however, to automate the billing tasks and minimize human intervention would require us to check in details how to find the billing-due list, how to update price, which text to be populated and printed, and to whom the printed PDF system needs to be sent.

Solution: more details with brand-new things; do not underestimate complexity of new system and automation.

If it can be mapped into black-and-white paper, everyone can understand it

A common challenge for introducing new processes is that our clients and users are happy all the time till the day they actually use it hands-on. It’s simply not the case that process swim-lane can explain everything.  “What is the tangible and direct impact for me and how my actual work will be changed”?

When we introducing new processes, it’s pretty much like the story of blind men and an elephant. Nobody can actually foresee the whole picture with the same decent details before they actually see it. What we can do is to analyze, discuss and communicate from different perspectives, so as to minimize the gap of the imagination and truth.

Way-out: communicate the processes with client-centric approach; not only share with them the forest, but also try to give them the tangible impact from the change and engage them to test the processes as earlier as possible.

All happens in system

Yes, processes and systems are not the same thing. Ideally, we should talk about processes first and how to build system functionalities second. When majority of the transactions being done in different kinds of information system nowadays, boundary of processes and systems is not so black and white. When we talk about detailed processes, we cannot totally by-pass systems because everyone would ask how to get it done in system and having or not having system support means different management style and control. The new challenges would be:

  • Those off-line tasks (outside of system or manual)may not be paid much attention and only the on-line tasks are well addressed;
  • We try to put everything into system; but doing everything in system may not be good answer for everything (the most powerful and flexible resources are human!).

Way-out: accept the facts that we cannot totally by-pass system when talking about processes; only build system functions for such processes with clear, stable and structured rules; manage and measure those off-line processes as if they were on-line.

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Process Mindset 04 Where to use it

Process mindset is basically an approach to solve puzzles; it’s talking about flow, which is similar to other methodologies like Theory of Constraints and Value stream mapping from Lean. When you have puzzles similar to below categories, you may ask yourself questions about processes.

To build standardization

It is chaos when no one knows who to talk to for what; build standardized processes can remove the effort to re-invent the wheel and drive the whole team working toward the same direction. What is more important, it allows people to do more value-adding things.

To introduce changes

No matter it is new business model, out-sourcing, new IT system or continuous improvement, a common approach is to understand as-is processes and design to-be. The art here is to what extent we need to map the detailed as-is; because anyway, there will be new things. For new business model or system implementation, to design to-be processes with good understanding of pains and challenges from as-is and then have a fit-gap would be an easier approach to push for big-scale transformation; however, when we are not clear what exactly what kind issues we are having now or what kind of solution can help to solve them, focusing on as-is processes and understand the exact issues – people, process, technology – would be more beneficial to give us direction for the to-be.

To manage the progress of any task or initiative, especially when significant amount of effort and man-hours are concerned

In value stain mapping for manufacturing, process can help us to understand every single step so as to identify opportunities to eliminate waste.  However, process is not limited to manufacturing and operation; it can also be used by other domain as well, like R&D.

For R&D in pharmaceutical, the pipeline research can take 8-10 years to reach to the market. To manage the ROI of the whole portfolio, we can divide the pipeline research into different stages, and then govern the gate and manage the success rate for different stages so as to improve the whole yield rate. Another example, for Agriculture industry, we have limited resources for Lab Test and Field Trial; at the same time, we may have continuous incoming flow of test and trial request; how to balance the demand and supply, allocate resources, and monitor progresses can be managed by leverage on processes.

Slide4

 

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Process Mindset 03 Here comes the comlexity

In the previous post, I share some basic definition for business process and one simple example. However, we can hardly have standardized look of business process, based on my experience.

Step back a little bit; business process itself is nothing but boxes and arrows. There is no point to map business process only for business process itself. When we talk about business process, there is always a basic question to ask, WHY WE ARE DOING THIS. Then it will be much easier and clearer for the process discussion and even the process mapping itself will be much more helpful. For example, to discuss about business processes to manage the inventory level and to control the inventory accuracy in one factory will definitely have different focuses; the former requires us to look at the whole supply network to understand demand, supply and time-delay; the latter needs us to concentrate on transnational step-by-step tasks within the factory.

After understand why, business process definition still differs based on your business context, scope, complexity and goals, even for the same collection of activities. Here are some areas you may consider:

Slide3

Scenario

Business process is defined in certain context which is called scenario. Scenario differs, variant changes; and therefore, processes may be different. With the example for on-line fulfillment in previous post, if the customer is located in oversea countries, custom clearing may become a separate important step.

Granularity

How to define the granularity of process activity? Should we define the on-line payment as a sub-process or single activity? The answer is, it depends.

  • It depends on actors.

Normally, an activity is defined as the same actor (or actor group) processing the same input to produce the same output. For example, placing order is conducted by external 3rd party customer and shipping order is done by internal shipping clerk independently; therefore, they are naturally separate steps. However, receiving package is an activity involving cooperation between deliveryman and customer; therefore, it is just one single step in the process with 2 actors. But, it’s recommended to have a clear owner of every step.

  • It depends on how complex the issue is.

Ship order with 2 piece of skirt may not be so difficult, out from the garage of family business. However, shipping electronic components or automobile spare parts out from a warehouse with 5000 SKU, 100 + orders per day and one order would have 20 items worth $50,000 USD, we may need to divide the shipping activities into more detailed steps, picking, packing, loading, final shipping and clearly track status in between all the steps.

  • It depends on how much you want to monitor

For one step – order placement, if you need to monitor conversation rate [1] of selected item to order and order to payment so as to improve the on-line purchasing experience of customers, then this step may be considered as a sub-process and divided further.

Performance measure

A business process is to serve particular business goals. The final output of the process can be measured against the goal, so as to every activity in the process. It may sounds like old cliché; still, the KPI is coming from business strategy and goal. If you do not know what to measure; generally, you do not know what to do.

Take the above example; the business goal of online fulfillment is to deliver all the items at the right location with the right quantity as per the customer requirement. Therefore, for the process overall, we may take OTIF (on-time delivery in full in logistics term) as the process measure. For step2 specifically, the measure could be that the order shipping activity is started within 1 day after order placement.

However, not everything can be quantified; therefore, numbers can only tell you part of the truth.

Reference

[1] The conversion rate is the percentage of users who take a desired action. The archetypical example of conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who buy something on the site.

 

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Process Mindset 02 What is business process

Simple version: definition from wiki (link)

A business process is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks that produce a specific service or product (serve a particular goal) for a particular customer or customers. 

Detailed version[1]

”a structured, measured set of activities designed to produce a specific output for a particular customer or market. It implies a strong emphasis on how work is done within an organization, in contrast to a product focus’s emphasis on what. A process is thus a specific ordering of work activities across time and space, with a beginning and an end, and clearly defined inputs and outputs: a structure for action. … Taking a process approach implies adopting the customer’s point of view. Processes are the structure by which an organization does what is necessary to produce value for its customers.”

Generally, business process has below basic characteristics:

  • A business process has clear boundaries, time and space
  • A business process contains different steps (or activities) or sub-processes
  • Every step in the process should have input to trigger the action, output from the action, actors to do the action
  • All the tasks of the process are serving particular goals

Take a simple example for on-line purchase, e.g., shirt and skirt.  The goal here is to deliver the right cloth at the right time and location as per customer requirement. The process can be defined as below steps.

Slide1

  • Step 1 is done by customer; its output is paid order with information of customer name, item (skirt or shirt), quantity, address and date of delivery, customer mobile number, etc.
  • Step 2 is done by shipping clerk; its input is the output from step1. The shipping clerk will pick the items; pack them into one bag or box; find a carrier and arrange the shipping. The output of the step is that orders are shipped out with specific delivering address.
  • Step 3 involves customer and deliveryman. Deliveryman delivers the package to the shipping address as per the instruction from step2; customer receives and verifies the package; hence, the order is closed.

 

Reference

[1]Process Innovation: Re-engineering work through information technology from Thomas Davenport

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Process Mindset 01 Why we talk about processes again

My original plan is to write a short blog high-levelly summarizing my working experience with business processes these years. However, challenge from my husband after his first reading is that it’s so concise that even someone as intelligent as him cannot grasp what the point here; therefore, it definitely needs more meat, more detailed explanation, and more examples.  My first reaction is “I am not going to write to layman”; well, having a second thought, backing to the basics and getting it right may not be a bad idea.  So, it turns out to be a series.

business-process-reengineering

I used to joke (link) that as a self-marketing strategy, everyone can be bold enough to call themselves end-to-end business process experts. It’s more like self-deprecating; by no means, I do not see the value from such roles. However, it’s just easier said than done, to have or to be process experts.

Why we talk about processes for corporate? On one hand, there is no need for us to re-invent wheel every day;  if the same things repeatedly happens, it’s more efficient and effective to set up standards so that everyone knows what to do and who to talk to. On the other hand, companies are structured by functions and hierarchy so that the communication and performance can be managed properly; therefore, we really need someone to look at cross-functional and cross-level cooperation and communication.

Based on my experience, if you ask someone from corporate operation functions what you are doing? Properly, you will get an answer that he or she is working for business processes; which means 3 things in my view

  • It’s important
  • It does not work so well so that it takes everyone’s attention
  • There are different perspectives to look at it

For me, process is more like a mindset. It’s a powerful approach to understand and analyze things so as to help you solve puzzle. It’s the natural “output” of effective and efficient economic activates. Using it effectively can help us understand the big picture as well as the details:

  • What are the goods, information, and financial flow to serve the common goal
  • How different functions and different parties are involved and how they depend on each other to achieve the common goal

However, it’s just one approach of many and one perspective to view the world; it needs to be adapted with the economic development level; miss-use or over-use would lead to inefficiency as well and maybe kill the innovation.

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Do you hate to queue in food court?

Opportunity assessment for an APP product used in food courts. It’s to solve the puzzle to queue.

Q

  • Background
    • Singapore has hundreds of food courts in many shopping centers, housing and commercial estates that serve inexpensive cooked food, drinks and desserts, with an array of standalone food stalls.
    • For certain dishes(Chinese or Korea cuisines), it needs sometime (5-20min) to cook; some food stalls use queue machine so that their customers can seat or do something else while waiting but they need to pay special attention to the mini-screen to know they food is ready.
    • The APP built in iOS aims to replace traditional queue machine by sending customers pop-up messages.
  • My understanding for value proposition of the existing product
    • It helps food-stall owners reduce cost of investing queue machine.
    • It provides service to food-court customers by informing them when the food is ready and allowing them to do something else while waiting for food.
  • What kind of basic assumption the existing product is based on in my view
    • There are sufficient food-stalls that require relative longer time to prepare food after ordering.
    • The food-stall owners really need to invest machine queue because it would help them figure out who-to-serve-what. The APP will charge less compared to traditional queue machine.
    • The customers are really willing to do something else rather than standing and waiting near the food-stall.
    • It’s more suitable for one order with multiple items from which any item would need at least 5min to serve, simply thinking about the time customers walking back-and-forth in the food-court.
  • How is the market look like in my view
    • Business Pattern. Food-court here has very clear peak-time which is lunch time. Normally it is 1 hour from 12PM to 1PM and there is always long-queue for hot stalls.
    • Where the time is spending when waiting? Majority of the food-stalls need less than 3min from ordering to serving. And majority of the end-to-end waiting time for the customer (from stepping into the food court till getting the food) is to queue to start order itself, which actually comes from the unbalanced demand and supply.  We have bottleneck from limited “food production rate” during peak-time; but it’s not justifiable ROI for food-stall owners to invest even more resource.
  • Is it really an valid opportunity with the existing product
    • If we assume who needs the APP the most and benefits from it the most would pay for the APP, I assume, it would be food-stall owners.
    • At maximal, only in 1 stall of few food-courts would fall into such category. If we assume Singapore has 500 food-courts and 1 out of 10 has such food-stall; the APP charges 100 SGD (let us assume the traditional queue machine charges 500 SGD), the total revenue is only 50000 SGD over at least 2-3 years. It can hardly bring profit thinking about the effort of development, test and marketing.
  • Is there any other opportunity for the product
    • Food courts
      • Since it’s not easy to solve supply and demand dilemma here, there is still space to smooth the order and payment procedure, e.g. to erase the suffering to get too much coin exchange by introducing Digital Wallets.
      • The point here is focus on saving the first-time facility investment for food-stall owners and ensuring the scalability for small business.
    • Queue
      • The product is based on the problem for queuing – to allow customers to enjoy life in better way rather than waiting, if and only if customers care about “the better way”. In Singapore, shopping malls are full of restaurants which always have long queue; we may be happier for shopping when waiting for the table from the restaurants. There are so many neighborhood clinics, we could feel better resting at home while waiting for the doctor; one neighborhood clinic I visited is actually asking me back home and SMS when there is only 2 left in front of me.
      • Queue problem is everywhere; but system is only good at solving problem with black-and-white business rules and it would still rely on human brain when the problem is complex enough and require quick judgement, e.g can the customers accept smaller table or we ask them to share the tables with others.
    • Booking and ordering
      • To look at it even further, only for small business, queuing problem is just part of booking and ordering problems. For different domains, the booking and ordering problems would have different preconditions, constrains and challenges.  Therefore, there is no common approach.  It needs further assessment to find opportunities.
      • The dentists would like to link the booking to last visit of the patients to judge how much time the next visit may require, as well as to have the possibility easily take note for every visit in the same tool.
      • For yoga and dancing class booking, it may be helpful for customers to view how many slots are available; and such history information can help the coach to arrange the class and do marketing in better way.

Opportunities exit all around us; which one is worth our effort is the first question we need to answer.

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Rethink your channel strategy and leverage on emarket booming

In no way the online market can or should replace traditional ways of trading. However, the rapid emergence of eCommerce is not only reshaping marketing and sales model, but also bringing the service standard to a new high (e.g. Amazon one-day delivery).The questions I want ask would be

  • What are the new rules?
  • What opportunities bring to different players?

E-commerce is by no means limited to consumer products

Industry sales can dig out its own benefits. In 2002 Dow Corning realized that many customers were asking for an easier and more affordable way to buy the standard silicones they need; so they launched new business model called Xiameter, comprising an online-managed and low-cost sales channel for its commodity silicones, offering competitive pricing to customers willing to buy in bulk, without research or technical support[1][2].

What is the basic change with e-commerce model?

Picture1

With traditional channel sales or direct sales models, we segregate customer into fixed groups, find the suitable channel, build robust processes and leverage on service as well as scalability for profit.

E-commerce is not fundamental game changer. But it crushes down the barriers in trading to enable many talking-to-many; therefore, it can better support customized needs and free people to do more value adding things. “People” here means anyone in the value chain, from shopping convenience cause consumers can buy whatever and whenever they what, to supplying convenience cause seller can focus on design with customer self-service.

How to position the e-commerce channel in the big picture?

It’s still started from customer and working backward. The basic questions remain the same with the new channel.

  • Who is the target customer?
  • What is the demand pattern?
  • What kind of local customization customer may require?
  • What kind of support the sales needs?
  • What the decision makers would be for getting sales done?
  • How to design the touch point?
  • How to deploy salesforce?

Dell deploys customized high-end PCs on-line and Dow Corning offers customers specialties silicones backed up by technical support and R&D off line.

How to run the channel?

Before we answer the question, we need to look at the end-to-end processes and who are the game players in the value chain.

Picture2

We have:

  • E-commence companies like Amazon and Lazada
  • Traditional retailers like Walmart and Courts
  • Independent sellers like Apple and Jcrew

However, in the battlefield of e-market, all the boundaries become blur, anyone can do anything.  Amazon recruits sellers around the world and provide fulfillment service to seller leveraging on its supply network, technologies and traffic flow.  Singapore Post goes for another track, it not only serves as a middleman for consumers to ship the oversea online shopped goods to Singapore, but also partners with brands to launch and manage their online stores across Asia-Pacific. I call them e-commerce enablers, who provide service to ecommerce business.

All the players in the game should think end-to-end as well as their own strength. Sellers need to choose partners smartly by asking questions like:

  • What is your core business?
  • Which area you are weak? How to close the gap?
  • How do you want to manage consumer experience?
  • What is your supply chain strategy in terms of responsiveness, service and cost?

For e-commence enablers, yes, there are a lot of opportunities; but you need to really solve pain in the ass and find out who is your service target.

Singbada, an interesting case study and a B2B e-commerce enabler for fashion

China has very mature garment production industry; however it’s more suitable for large orders and long lead-time. Raw material and intermedium products are processed in big batches from step to step.  It’s talking about thousands of pieces per order and weeks as planning unit.

Singbada [3] provides a solution for small-order rapid production requirement coming from e-commerce. It changes the production approach from batch into piece; manage production plant as modules to get agility; therefore it can support 50-piece production per order and deliver within 7 days.

I have similar idea 2 years ago because I really enjoy shopping online from those independent designers but the long lead-time always let me drop the orders. Well, idea means nothing and actions deliver results.

Conclusion

While there are new rules with eCommerce and challenges from running multi-channels online offline, the basic remain the same: rethink the channel strategy and build the new supply chain capabilities to survive in the information age.

 

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Brands change anywhere

My impression for duty-free cosmetics is always fixed. Same brands, big names, similar arrangement, limited choices. They are changing of course; but it’s always like 5 years behind Sephora (anyway, we do not expect them to be the same). However, Last year-end the cosmetics duty-free shop at Changi Airport terminal 2 totally surprised me. At least, they are trying to catch up.

Brands

On one hand, we have new brands and more choices, not only we have renowned brands like Fresh and Nars, but also staring product like grape water from Caudalie and sunscreen from Lancaster. High-end to low end.

On the other hand, smaller shelf size for big names; those traditionally famous brands like Dior, Chanel, Estee Lauder, Lancôme, SK-II, Clinique, L’occitane had huge cut for shelf size, and hence, less choices.

Thanks to Wed 2.0, it’s much easier for seller to reach to their target market as well as for buyer to get the information; as a consumer, we simply want to try different brands and can have more brands coming to the show.

A long product tail can always be questioned. At places where renting fees are very expensive and majority of the people just rush to wipe their credit cards, we just need sufficient stock of staring products, like ANR from Estee Lauder, rather than the whole product lines.

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IT Service 4PL

What is 4PL? You may take reference here.

In my view, difference of 4PL and 3PL/LLSP is including (but not limited to) below areas

  • 4PL run the budget. 4PL can do sourcing for 3PL and execute vendor management responsibility on behalf of its client.
  • 4PL coordinators end-to-end. 4PL orchestrates all 3PL’s activities for end-to-end supply chain, from warehousing, shipping arrangement, to custom clearance.
  • 4PL shares the pain and gain with its clients. 4PL monitors and analyzes service and supply chain performance for its client; and to find opportunities for improvement.

When I think about 4PL in logistics last week, one thought came to my mind that “we can have IT 4PL because one company can have many IT supplier – service, hardware and software and there is need for coordinating”. However, after thoroughly thinking, I realized that it may not be as simple as such.

Coordinators are needed by anywhere; but why we need forth party service providers for logistics?

4PL

  • We have a very large number of different parties involved in the game including suppliers, customers, and logistics service providers. It’s really pain in the ass for manufacturing or selling companies to manage all of them so as to move toward the same direction.
    • Logistics service providers have very specialized expertise – warehousing, shipping-line, air-line, freight forwarder, custom agency. Besides, we have geographic and country diversity. We can easily talk about 50 different carriers for overland shipping in EU, or even 100 different carriers in just one state of India.
    • For international manufacturing companies, we can easily talk about 1000 suppliers for raw materials and 100-5000 customers per country.
  • Overall coordinating is must-have and end-to-end view can improve business. But they are normally not the core capabilities of manufacturing or selling companies.
    • For example, for international logistics, to deliver on time on budge require coordinating among all parties from the exporting countries to importing countries.
    • Look at the other side, loading and shipping optimization solution is basics for a specialized carrier.
  • We have large scale of spending so that we have potential for improvement. Logistics spending (including transportation, duties, warehousing) can reach to 5%-10% of total sales revenue.

But when we look at the IT from the same perspective, its complexity is far less than logistics, at least right now.

  • We have limited number of IT related suppliers –hardware, software, service; compared to logistics area.
  • Coordinating is necessary but the scale and urgency is not comparable to logistics.
  • Spending is limited and I believe we do have space for improvement; but, it’s not a convincing business case.

However, like every other area of our business world, IT is becoming more and more complex. For example, ERP is acting more and more like single-source-of-truth system with all the basic transactions; and companies start to reply on other software or SaaS solution for advanced-level business management, like salesforce.com for managing sale activities, Llamasoft for supply chain network planning, Concur for expense, etc. Potentially, one day, we may need an IT 4PL.

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