A reader wrote to me, asking about getting configurable customer orders right:

“My company has configurable products and we are having problems getting the right parts delivered to support installation of the customers’ orders. What ideas do you have to resolve this?”
 

The first question I would ask is, were you ever getting configurable customer orders right? Did the process for shipping custom, configurable orders ever work well?
 

Did you answer “yes?” Then you need to ask yourself “what changed?” Did you answer “no?” Then it would be clear you never had a working process, and that is your starting point.

  • If something in the process changed, you need to take action to bring the process back into compliance so it works properly and is repeatable.
     
  • If nothing changed, you need to create and follow a process that ensures you are shipping the right parts to complete the order.
     

If your response is, “it’s too hard to do it right,” you need to learn new information about mass customization.

I encourage you to look at the problem through the eyes of your customers, suppliers, team, and/or dealers. If you, your suppliers and/or dealers are experiencing challenges satisfying the customer the first time, that negatively impacts your brand reputation.

 

When order execution goes poorly, people talk about it. Just look at Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, or Amazon to see how brand reputations become tarnished and sometimes, destroyed. Companies delivering poor customer experience aren’t long for this world.

 

Finally, you may need to innovate your current process to meet the needs of your business, if variety and complexity have gone beyond the capabilities of your current systems and processes. This is how you delight your customers and remove your frustrations.

 

Thought for the week:

“81: The % of US consumers that say that it is important that brands make my life easier.” – #DigitalDopamine from @razorfish

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What do you think? I welcome your comments! Dave Gardner
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Read more articles about configurable products and services

Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner is a management consultant, speaker, author, and blogger based in Silicon Valley. He's been in the front row for the birth and evolution of Silicon Valley, the innovation capital of the world. Since 1992, Dave Gardner focuses on making the complex simple around people, process and technology. Dave is the author of Mass Customization: An Enterprise-Wide Business Strategy - How Build to Order, Assemble to Order, Configure to Order, Make to Order, and Engineer to Order Manufacturers Increase Profits and Better Satisfy Customers.

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