Supply chains continue to evolve and driving that evolution has been improving the customer experience. As e-commerce continues to grow and set the bar in customer experience, manufacturers are beginning to see first hand the demands placed on the direct to consumer market. Fulfillment of shipments from plant direct to consumer comes with high expectations due to e-commerce order processes that allow for customer engagement during the ordering process. As e-commerce customers push the enhancement of the customer experience, the customer expectation sits at the core of the customer experience enhancement.
Today, we may order a product online and have our expectation set that our purchase will arrive based on the shipping standard selected at checkout. In many manufacturer supply chains, the internal measurement may be focused on a ship date versus a delivery date. The missing component is the transit time for the mode and carrier selected. The drive to ship on time does not necessarily align to when the customer may receive the product. Multiple factors within the routing decision matrix impact meeting the delivery expectation. Those can include the mode selected, the carrier transit performance in your customer’s lane, the end customer’s receiving processes and customer service routing.
Mode and carrier selection have a big impact on meeting the customer expectation as the final leg in a very complex order process that involves order, schedule, production, packaging, inventory and shipping functions. Companies with a distribution footprint that allows for order fulfillment from various distribution points have the added complexity of identifying inventory levels and adjusting the customer expectation due to perhaps a longer transit time from a distribution point that has inventory but is not the preferred shipping point.