Customers count speed of service as a key reason why they do business with certain companies. They hate delays and waiting for service and look for companies that serve them faster. This is evident from the success of drive-through oil changes, drive-through fast food and other quick turnaround businesses. We can also look at new trends in online car purchasing and home financing.
Therefore, in order to succeed, companies must reduce the processing time between search, selection, order entry and order fulfillment. Delays at any step of the process are unacceptable.
Why do delays occur?
Often they are due to excessive handoffs. Consider the case of a stainless steel producer that wanted to improve its on-time delivery record. The company identified unnecessary handoffs as delaying the production process. For example, each order was entered into the system three times during Customer Service, Operations and Production Control. This repetition caused significant delays and errors.
To solve the handoff problem, companies are investing billions of dollars in integrated systems, which is exactly what the stainless steel producer did. They decided that one possible solution was an integrated system for most of its business operations: accepting orders, triggering receivables, sending orders to production, sending requisitions to the warehouse, updating inventory, updating accounting and replenishing stock with suppliers.
What does this trend mean for e-business?
e-Business applications must cut the time customers wait for service. Customers now penalize companies that infringe on their time through delays, mistakes, or inconveniences. If companies don’t expedite processes, customers will go to someone who does it faster.
It is very important that managers understand and diagnose the cause behind service delays. They need to analyze if an integrated system can speedup service. If so, they need to strategize, design and implement such systems as soon as possible.