Direct-to-Customer Commerce


Strategic insights into the direct commerce industry, including ecommerce, direct marketing and related fields

Perfecting the Perfect Order

Kate Vitasek and Karl Manrodt wrote, in the May 10 issue of Operations & Fulfillment Advisor, a weekly electronic newsletter under the headline, Perfecting the Perfect Order. Essentially, their article advocates a new customer service measure which attempts to measure fulfillment execution against the customer’s expectations.
I like much of what they say. However, as they point out, most of the applications systems currently used to fill orders don’t allow us capture all of the information necessary to actually calculate this new “perfect order” metric.

There are really two typical shortfalls.

[1] Our systems don’t always capture what the customer wants. For example, do we know when the customer needs or wants delivery? Most consumer-oriented fulfillment systems don’t even allow for future ship-dates, much less future “receive-by” dates. And the most important date is when the customer wants to receive their order.

[2] Most of our systems do not capture actual delivery dates. Certainly, some do. And as Vitasek and Manrodt point out, the data is available from most carriers (even USPS captures this on most parcel shipments). But generally, we don’t get the data and don’t compare it to what the customer wanted, because we don’t even ask the customer what they want, we just assume they’ll be happy with when we ship it and when they get it.

Vitasek and Manrodt also wax philosophical about the definition of a “complete order.” My only disagreement is they make too much out of it; even while pointing out that their own definition is almost impossible to measure.

Overall, they make good points about how to measure real performance of order fulfillment activities. They’ve moved the ball forward.


Filed under: Direct Commerce, Uncategorized, ,

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