The customer is always right

A new study by Intermec on mobile technologies in logistics has a lesson for those of us inside the DC

By ·

The customer is always right. We’ve all heard that saying hundreds if not thousands of times. When it comes to order fulfillment, it turns out, the saying is true.

That’s one of the takeaways from a survey of 375 companies representing 6 key countries released this week by Intermec. The surveyed looked at the potential savings from the deployment of mobile technologies across the supply chain and to what extent companies had re-engineered their processes to reap those benefits. You can read the key findings here

This particular survey focused on activities outside the four walls of the factory and distribution center. Intermec wanted to get a picture of how companies were using mobile technologies in their transportation and logistics, field service and direct-to-store delivery processes. What the survey discovered is that while many companies have deployed these technologies, far fewer have re-engineered their processes to take full advantage of their use. Location awareness technologies – what you and I would think of as GPS – is an example of one of the areas explored in the survey. “About 90% of the respondents said they were using GPS or some other location awareness technology,” says Jeff Sibio, industry director for transportation and logistics. “But, when we dug deeper, we found they don’t recognize the value beyond track and trace or navigation. For instance, they’re not using the technology to proactively let a customer know that based on their location, they’ll arrive at the facility in half an hour so that they customer can get ready to receive the delivery.”

What I was most struck by, however, is a comment from Sibio that relates to what we do inside the four walls of the DC and plant. “There has been a shift in power,” he says. “So much of the supply chain has shifted to e-commerce that the end customer is controlling order fulfillment processes and not the retailer.”

Sibio points out that five day shipping is now two day shipping with an increase on one day and same day shipments. “You have to ask if the technologies you’re using are up to speed to handle those rapid turnaround times,” he says. “The result of our survey was that companies that have done their homework and implemented technologies to work at the speed of business today are excelling.”

The corollary is that companies that aren’t willing to take a hard look at their processes are lagging behind. Because the customer is always right.


About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
The View from the New “Single Window”
The single window, officially known as the "International Trade Data System," operates via the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency's Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) platform, and serves as a single point of contact for all trade filings.
Download Today!
From the March 2017 Issue
WMS vendors are stepping up to the plate and developing functionalities and solutions that meet the complex needs of today’s companies. Our top analysts take a peek into these developments and discuss the DC of the future and the software that will support it.
5 Supply Chain Trends Happening Now
2017 Warehouse/DC Equipment Survey: Investment up as service pressures rise
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2017 Trucking Regulations & Infrastructure Update
In this session our panel brings shippers up to date on the state of transportation regulations. Discussion will revolve around regulatory reform, aspects of the federal highway bill and what the transportation landscape looks like in the early days of the Trump administration.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
LM Exclusive: Major Modes Join E-commerce Mix
While last mile carriers receive much of the attention, the traditional modal heavyweights are in...
ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...

2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...
Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...