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Ecommerce Supply Chain Advice For Reduced Click-To-Delivery Time And Costs

Wow! Imagine this for your ecommerce supply chain operation. You eye last week’s stats on your operations dashboard and see that every delivery was on-time, no stock-outs, and the warehouse picked all orders correctly. On top of this, no customer had to call your contact center asking “Where’s my stuff?”. Want to get an edge? Here are 5 tips to help you improve your eCommerce supply chain operations and ensure your customers have a great delivery experience.

1st Tip: Optimize Your Ecommerce Supply Chain To Get The Order Information Right Every Time.

This Is the Topmost Goal For Your Customer Order Processing!

W. Edwards Deming, Father of TQM

eCommerce supply chain TQM
W. Edwards Deming, Father of TQM

In the age of ecommerce, customers will enter their own orders into your order entry system. Specifically, your customer will enter their order information using your third-party shopping cart software or your in-house order management system.

Of course, the hardest thing to get right is the shipping address. So the bottom line is that you need to do everything possible to help your customers create their order information correctly, every time. This includes the recipient’s address. Hence, recommend you use auto address correction software to guarantee accuracy, or you can use USPS’s website to validate delivery addresses.

“The transformation can only be accomplished by man, not by hardware (computers, gadgets, automation, new machinery). A company can not buy its way into quality.”

W. Edwards Deming

2nd Tip: Aim For A Perfect Order Every Time.

This Is Your Topmost Goal For Order Fulfillment!

It is critical that your outbound logistics warehouse and distribution centers be customer focused. In particular, the key functions are order picking and pack / ship. This is because these functions are time-sensitive and need to be flawless. For example, you promise your customer a 2-day delivery and your delivery carrier promises a 2-day delivery. So to meet your promise date, your order fulfillment center needs to get the package into the carrier’s hands the same day the order is placed. Also, do not sell products that are out of stock. And if you do, do not charge the customer as a minimum until it ships. 

Additionally if your expertise is not with order fulfillment and shipping, consider a third-party logistics (3PL) company. This is because they have expertise in these types of operations, they have economies of scale, and they have the technology. Indeed, whoever runs your order fulfillment center, proactive management is needed to continually evaluate labor, optimize processes, manage inventory and a lot more.

For more ideas and information on managing your order fulfillment center, see Brian Barry’s Supply Chain Strategies For eCommerce Businesses and BigCommerce’s Finding Success with Ecommerce Supply Chain Management.

“No one can measure the loss of business that may arise from a defective item that goes out to a customer.”

W. Edwards Deming

3rd Tip: Work With Your Transportation Carriers To Assure They Meet Their Service Commitments Every Time.

This Is Your Topmost Goal For Last Mile Delivery!

Obviously, hold your delivery carriers accountable. Specifically for ecommerce, work in partnership with parcel carriers such as UPS, FedEx, and USPS to minimize shipping delays and errors. For example, if you are paying for a two-day service, you should be getting a high 90% on-time rate. Also, parcel carriers in some cases offer service guarantee refunds if the package is late. Ideally, this should result in a higher level of service. However, do not jump for joy when you get your guaranteed service refund. This is because you have an unhappy customer who did not get their package on-time. Overall, your last-mile delivery operation should be meeting service commitment in an cost-effective manner.

4th Tip: Have A Proactive Ecommerce Supply Chain Contact Center That Has The Information To Resolve Exceptions The First Time, Every Time.

This Is Your Topmost Goal For Customer Service!

Your goal should be that none of your customers have to call you about the delivery status of their package. Here are three questions you should ask yourself:

  • Do you have a plan to minimize placing your customers on hold?
  • Do your first-line customer service agents have access to real-time post-purchase information?
  • Does your customer service have the processes in place to handle delivery exceptions and returns as well as purchase order changes?

For more information on improving your customer contact center, see my article, More Excellent Customer Service Results From Your eCommerce Contact Center.

“a dissatisfied customer does not complain: he just switches.”

W. Edwards Deming

5th Tip: Implement A Click-To-Delivery Key Performance Indicators (KPI) For Continuous Improvement Of Your Eommerce Supply Chain Operation.

KPIs Are Critical For Managing Your Ecommerce Operation!

So to make sure that your click-to-delivery process is efficient and cost effective, it is important to implement key performance indicators (KPIs). Undeniably, you need to have measurements in place to manage any operations. Otherwise how do you know what your ecommerce supply chain operation is doing right and what it is doing wrong. Specifically. KPIs can include measuring order processing time, order fulfillment time, last mile delivery time, and customer service response time. By measuring these KPIs, it is possible to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in the supply chain and take steps to eliminate them. Below are some KPIs focused specifically on ecommerce delivery operations.

“It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”

W. Edwards Deming
Ecommerce KPIs
  • On-Time Delivery KPI.
  • Order (Click)-To-Delivery KPI
  • Delivery Promise Accuracy KPI:
  • Order Fill Rate KPI
  • WISMO (Where Is My Stuff?) Calls / Returns KPIs

For a detailed discussion on these Click-To-Delivery Key Performance Indicators (KPI), see my article, The Best On-Time Delivery KPIs To Make Your Customers Delighted.

The Best On-Time Delivery KPIs. So what are the best KPIs that focus on on-time delivery? What are the KPIs that can help your eCommerce operations focus on reducing bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and shipping exceptions when it comes to on-time delivery? Click here to explore the different types of on-time delivery KPIs that you can use to improve your customers’ delivery experience.

For more ideas and information on improving your ecommerce supply chain, see Shipium’s Complete eCommerce Supply Chain Guide and Purolator’s What To Know About eCommerce Supply Chain Management.

For more articles from Supply Chain Tech Insights, see the latest topics on Supply Chains and Shipping.

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