Why Logistics Matters

Embracing automation and digital supply chain technology ensures better customer experiences. How? By enhancing the agility, visibility, and transparency of your operations.

In the reverse, a lack of tech and innovation investment can contribute to poor customer outcomes, lost efficiency gains, and a big hit to your ability to compete. On top of that, one negative customer experience can now be amplified on social media, resulting in a damaged reputation and lost business on an escalated level. That’s why logistics matters.

As your customers’ personal experience with your brand, your customer experience is the result of your bottom line ability to perform. That means meeting and exceeding the expectations of your customers by delivering on quality, price, speed, and accuracy – EVERY – SINGLE – TIME. That can be a tall order, but without supply chain visibility and resiliency, it is becoming increasingly impossible. The risk that these dissatisfied customers will take their orders and dollars elsewhere is very high.

To illustrate, here’s a customer experience example with a well-known retailer. As a repeat customer, I had positive experiences with this retailer in the past so I ordered a relatively large area rug from them in early October 2022 with an anticipated early November delivery date. November came and went with no change to my online order status — in transit to the distribution center. In early December, I was told my order was ready for delivery, and I scheduled the delivery for a few days before Christmas. That morning, I received an email and text that my rug was delivering that day. When I clicked the status, I was told my order was canceled. WHAT?

At this point, I am pretty frustrated, and I am forced I get on the customer service train. You know the drill:

—I call customer service. After waiting for 20 minutes, I get a person — a person who has no idea what happened or where my rug is.

—I am told that the systems that send emails and texts and the delivery website don’t communicate with each other. WHAT?

—I am told I will receive a notification when the rug is ready for delivery again.

—The holidays come and go with no word. The web status of my rug is back to — in transit to the distribution center. So, 

—I called customer service again in January. After waiting 20 minutes, I get a person. Again, a person who has no idea where the rug is or when it could possibly be delivered. I am told the order status online is never accurate. WHAT?

—I am also told how large the distribution center is and how difficult it is to know where a specific product is. HUH? 

—The retailer ordered a new rug saying that would be the best way to make sure I actually received said rug.

FINALLY, I received the rug in early March – nearly five months after ordering. I still have no idea what happened to the first rug.

At this point, I checked out reviews of this retailer online. I wished I’d done this sooner — so many complaints about product deliveries, terrible logistics for at-home deliveries, and calls for the head of logistics to be fired! Needless to say, I requested to be removed from their customer lists and will be taking my dollars elsewhere in the future even though I do love the rug.

Bottom Line
If you are treating your customers this way – you will lose business. But I wonder if this retailer even understands how they are treating their customers or their employees for that matter. Likely, they have as much visibility into that as have into their supply chain.

These days, consumers have many choices and options for purchasing products. Competing on price can be difficult. However, speed, accuracy and service is an area where automation and supply chain tech investments that empower resilience and quick decision-making can provide a real and tangible competitive advantage. An advantage that will be table stakes in the very near future.

Additionally, supply chain visibility arms your team members with the ability to provide the best possible customer service so they never have to explain how big your distribution center is in comparison to an area rug.

Why ProMat Matters
I would love to tell this story to the head of supply chain at this retailer, but sadly they are not currently registered for ProMat. But you know who is? A number of their direct competitors. I wonder who will win the future.

To find out how you can touch the future and win it, make plans now to attend ProMat – it will be the biggest week in 2023 for supply chain tech and innovation. You will not only see the solutions of over 1,000 of the leading providers in-person, in-action, but you will also learn from industry experts in over 150 sessions and connect with your manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain peers. Admission is free. Don’t miss it!