Monday, April 19, 2010

Kindle for your Chaos Contest

Kinaxis, providers of on-demand supply chain analytics, released a contest recently called Kindle for your Chaos! through their online community and blog called Kinaxis Supply Chain Experts Community.

Congratulations to our own Clorisee Canada [web bio | Facebook | LinkedIn] for her submission and story which one her a brand new Kindle.  Great job, Clorisee! Here is the story that she submitted:

In a previous job, I met with customers who were considering switching their business from one shipping carrier to another.  My role was to evaluate the customers supply chain process and help sales win the business by presenting technology solutions that would help improve the process.  The challenges that I faced were many, but gaining the customers trust by being honest with them about capabilities was a great way to help win business. 
I remember going to Michigan to meet with a company that shipped lots of international packages.  They had 3 systems setup and 35 people to do a 2 person process. You see, their systems were all setup to do a small piece of the shipping process due to limitations in their systems.  So the staff walked from one system to another to complete the shipping process on one shipment.  When I first walked into the warehouse and they showed me their shipping process I looked around the room to see if I was on “Candid Camera” because in this century with all of the technology available no one should have a very manual process for creating a carrier shipping label and documents needed for international shipping.  Once I determined I was not on candid camera I asked a lot of questions and proposed a GREAT solution to pull all of their manual processes together to make it easy and more efficient to ship.   
I am sure by now you are wondering how I knew my solution was a great one. Well here is what happened next.  The Carrier I worked for did not win this business because of pricing.  The Carrier that won the business did not present a solution to help streamline the shipping process but their rates came back so low which allowed the customer to still save money.  Once the customer announced the carrier that was chosen they called me to ask if I could present my proposed solution to the winning carrier because they could not explain it and the winning carrier could not think of anything.  This was wrong on so many levels.  I of course turned them down for so many reasons but this validated that my solution was really good. 
Without going into a lot of details enhanced automation of information would have solved their issue but getting to that required out of the box thinking because this customer had network connectivity limitations. Orders were sent to the warehouse via email because the warehouse was down the road from the customer service office and the internal systems were not connected via a network.  To make all of this happen the carrier needed to build a bridge using a server with a make shift network connection so that communication could happen from system to system. Once this internal fake network was setup we could solve their other issues and eliminate a lot of their manual processing that they did. 

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