Dealing with today’s supply chain issues calls for hybrid solutions and true business partners
Remember when you could place an order for 50 chairs or a dozen workstations and be reasonably confident they would all show up on time and in a single shipment?
We didn’t know back then just how lucky we were!
A combination of factors … certainly the pandemic but also shortages of various raw materials, transportation problems, labor shortfalls, shifting market demand and more … have made partial shipments and unexpected delays increasingly common.
Finding a manufacturer to ship product in the time frame you need has become more and more challenging. Lead times are in flux and making a deadline of any kind is a whole lot harder than it used to be.
These problems are also making life in the back office more challenging. Partial shipments impact the acknowledgement process and once a ship date is received that turns out to be unacceptable, you face a decision whether or not to accept the delay or find another source and then communicate all that to your customer.
You also end up requesting earlier shipping dates than necessary to try and anticipate any delays, and that exposes you to the risk of having to pay for the furniture early, creating additional pressure on cash flow and warehousing or storage costs.
And then of course, partial shipments lead to partial invoicing, additional accounts receivables challenges and unhappy customers wondering why you aren’t providing the same level of service they have known for years.
The bottom line: The process of buying and selling office furniture and fulfilling those orders, which was already far more complicated than it needed to be, has become even more complicated!
So what can you do about it?
The obvious, most predictable answer is to automate wherever possible, right? Unfortunately, though, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Automation is not a silver bullet. It can do some amazing things for your business but it can’t eliminate the need for people, particularly when it comes to managing exceptions such as partial shipments, partial acknowledgements or delivery delays.
Ultimately you need a hybrid solution that automates as much as possible but that also makes it as easy and as uncomplicated as possible for human intervention to deal with the growing volume of exceptions.
And if you’re trying to build a solution because your current system doesn’t allow you to deal effectively with all these additional complications, the last thing you need is for the owner of your business system to call you up and tell you he will not give you access to your data!
If you think that’s not happening in our industry today, I envy you your innocence!
Withholding access to the data that you own is inappropriate, it’s illegal in some instances and it’s one of the big reasons why the industry is the way it is today. And it has to stop.
Dealing with all the compIications that have hit our industry over the past eighteen months is hard enough without having one hand tied behind your back.
Those problems demand a hybrid solution that combines technology, business process improvement and people and the foundation of that solution has to be unfettered access to the data in your dealership that will be managed by that solution.
If your current system provider won’t give you that access, it’s time to move on and find a true technology partner who will.
If you’re looking for a better solution to address all the new problems and complications you’re facing in your dealership today, we can help. To learn more, contact Avanto’s Matt Danyliw (PH: 860-400-6030; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s get started!
We work with many different industries, helping them navigate the digital transformation process. Reach out to us and see how Avanto can save your company time and money.