Balancing Demand and Capacity to Meet Customer Expectations
Consumers expect fast service—at their favorite restaurants, in retail shops, and especially from the service department of their car dealership. The expectation for quick turnaround on service and repairs is what makes Will Black’s job both rewarding and challenging.
When he graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management, Black found the job offer from Mercedes Benz attractive from a number of perspectives. “It is exciting to work with a brand that is recognized globally and to serve in a role that is critical to customer satisfaction,” he said. “Customers don’t want to wait for weeks at a time for a part to arrive at the dealership, so I am constantly evaluating and re-evaluating global inventory levels to identify which parts are needed and then conveying the priority to suppliers.” Maintaining steady inventory in locations across the world enables quick delivery to dealerships, reduces repair times and increases customer satisfaction, he added. “We also have to consider the seasonality of parts. For example, brake disks are most often needed in summer or winter seasons, so the inventory might be increased in some locations to prepare for heightened demand.”
Parts that are supplied to overseas locations require careful planning to avoid air freight charges for single parts, pointed out Black. “We want to ship full pallets of parts to avoid multiple freight charges, and then have our consolidation centers distribute the inventory accordingly…