Five Fulfillment Fundamentals
In well-run operations, technology alone is not viewed as a panacea. Rather, technology's effectiveness depends on the strength of underlying processes. As a result, management is committed to process improvement. Managers implicitly believe that tasks always can be performed better. They continually look for problems to solve. For them, process improvement isn't an initiative, it's a mind-set. Following are some operating processes commonly found in these companies.
• Job standardization: Workers involved in similar tasks perform them in an almost identical and efficient manner. They have one way to pack an order, and every packer follows that method. Moreover, they have one, carefully crafted way to respond to customers' e-mails, and every rep responds accordingly.
• Proper equipment: In well-run catalog operations, individual workstations are equipped with all the proper tools and supplies that employees need to do their jobs well. Each element has an established position in the work station, and the arrangement has been designed to make it easy and pleasant for the worker to perform the required tasks.
• Controlled workflow: Work and supplies, where feasible, are delivered to the workstation, and the completed work is taken away by either a conveyor system or a service person. For example, in the warehouse, fixed transport systems, such as conveyors, are used to maintain a uniform and regulated workflow. Similarly in the contact center, customers' e-mails automatically are presented to the rep when phones are idle.
5. Focused Management
Eventually it all comes down to execution. Work measurement is the key component to successful performance management. The following basic work-measurement techniques almost always are found in high-performing operations.
• Superior performance is instituted as a company goal with management committed to providing adequate financial and human resources.
• Basic cost, service and productivity standards are established for all activities, with actual performance being measured against those standards.