Supply Fulfillment Standard Operating Procedures, an Outline
As suggested in Supply Fulfillment SOP – Prelude, there is much to consider when developing Supply Fulfillment Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs):
- Management must commit to and develop a plan; gathering input from a variety of sources, assigning tasks, and then following up with all involved.
- Executive, Financial, Service, Quality Control teams should be prepared to describe how the supply program will be administered. Management should define the impact to inventory control, dispatch and service teams and set the financial benchmarks to be achieved.
- Supply fulfillment should be an integral part of company culture; get everyone involved to enhance customer service thereby ensuring program success.
- And while the plan is being developed – DO NOT ABANDON WHAT IS WORKING TODAY!
What follows is a group of ideas for each management member to consider as the SOP outline takes shape. The list covers a wide array of topics, some to include in the business’ supply fulfillment program and others that may not be needed. Be sure to include additional aspects that in your experience have proven to work.
The buck stops here.Harry S. Truman
It is up to the executive / executive committee to take responsibility and develop a supply fulfillment plan that expands and grows the business with an eye on customer satisfaction. If the plan causes difficulty for the staff, service will suffer. Building the plan can be accomplished by defining a series of smaller tasks:
- Be specific – Define the company vision of or mission for supply fulfillment
- Seek input from
- Industry peers
- Parts providers
- MPS software developers
- Select parts providers that can help meet the vision
- Create a rough draft of ideas to achieve a successful supply fulfillment program
- Describe how the supply program will be administered
- Set measurable benchmarks for all departments involved
- Review profits from supply sales
- Review feedback from customers and follow up as needed
- Prepare to make mid-course corrections
Each task above will have its own set of guidelines. Some will be small “HOW TO” or “TO INCLUDE” lists and may be part of the greater Supply Fulfillment SOP. Outlined programs that follow guidelines make for less stressful situations. Successful programs will have the added benefit of a happy staff.
Your net worth … is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.Benjamin Franklin
Enterprise financial well being depends on constant checks and balances. When policies are not defined or followed the bottom line will be impacted. Management staff responsible for financial control should have a hand in the outlining of supply fulfillment tasks:
- Define good accounting practices
- Identify and set financial benchmarks to be achieved
- Monitor revenue accounts for pricing, profitability, and potential losses
- Track inventory and reporting
- Supervise supply inventory in the warehouse
- Examine supply inventory on service trucks
- Watch supply inventory in transit from supplier to customer
- Check supply inventory in transit from warehouse to customer
- Keep an eye on supply inventory at customer location (safety stock)
- Monitor Thumb drives used for software deployment
- Control inventory supplies purchased for internal use
- Define expected impact of inventory control for dispatch and service teams
- Implement ‘Best Practice’ controls that include constant checks and balances
- Provide ongoing and continuous training for the receiving and shipping team
Good fiscal responsibility for supply fulfillment may be measured in increasing revenue from supply sales. Defined practices allow people to excel in their positions. People who excel are good for the business and they tend to provide exemplary customer service. Outlining programs will lead to happier staff members.
The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.Theodore Roosevelt
Customer service is driven by management. Service efficiency and service quality can be exemplified by how management treats and works with its staff. Leaders that define practices then follow up with their people tend to have fewer challenges, and when problems do occur, resolution foundations are already in place.
Service management typically oversees activity of the largest group in the organization. Staff oversight responsibilities include those for IT, receiving and shipping, helpdesk technicians and field support. Service departments are called upon to deploy software and therefore operational oversight is essential.
Key components for the success of the supply fulfillment program may include:
- The hiring and placement of qualified and dedicated service and supply staff
- Ongoing training for IT, service, helpdesk, supply, receiving and shipping teams
- Defining practices for knowledgeable phone support
- Setting up of practices for the efficient routing and dispatch of field support
- Outlining policies for the quick resolution of calls
- Describing installation and deployment practices and policies including:
- Software deployment
- Device discovery and verification
- Device reporting accuracy/capability
- Enabling SNMP when device reporting is required
- Updating of device firmware and drivers to allow maximum reporting efficiency
- Software configuration to send status alerts to specific dealership email address in-boxes
- Definition of protocols for local device monitoring and management
- Making certain software installations are properly managed and maintained include practices for:
- Keeping software installed to provide continuous reporting
- Alert management
- Supply fulfillment
- Service tracking and invoice processing
- Provide access to MPS manuals and documents
Businesses that encourage service excellence get more out of their people than those that don’t. As with Finance, defined practices allow people to provide exemplary customer service and promote job satisfaction.
Statistics suggest … when customers complain, business owners … ought to get excited about it. The complaining customer represents a huge opportunity for more business.Zig Ziglar
Defined business practices make for happier customers and service excellence is a product of employee involvement. Customers expect quality service, and when they don’t get it, they’ll voice their opinions either to other people or by staying away from the “checkout” counter.
Why not gather feedback from the people and businesses being served in effort to maintain high standards? Simple customer surveys can measure customer service and satisfaction levels in the following areas:
- Supply fulfillment
Management can then review customer comment results on a regular basis. A survey process will help the business implement correction plans when needed and identify training opportunities. Quality control may be measured by an increasing number of happy clients that help promote business practices with referrals.
… In summary
Supply fulfillment SOPs include many subjects. To put them in place, all areas and duties should be defined so people can refer to practice and policy outlines and access helpful support documentation. Supply Fulfillment SOPs should be dynamic guides that allow for advances in process improvement.
Dealers should review the entire enterprise operations when setting up policies as many people are involved:
- IT staff
- Help Desk
Once practices are defined, laid out and being followed, customers should be surveyed periodically to make certain the services and products offered remain acceptable. Constant staff training and continuous corrective action plans need to be in place to ensure program success. Defining businesses practices and then following them just makes good sense.