May 09, 2021
Michael D. Wilson
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Fulfillment processes help you fulfill a promise or an obligation to your customers. Use these seven process management tips to improve your fulfillment processes and delight your customers.
Fulfillment processes fill the gap between the promise you make to your customers and the delivery of the promise to your customers. Every step, procedure, or activity involved during this period is a part of your fulfillment processes.
Fulfillment processes are directly related to customer satisfaction and experience, making them a priority for every business. Hence, to state the obvious, fulfillment processes are critical to the growth and sustainability of a business.
Process management can help you make sure that your fulfillment processes run efficiently and effectively.
Business process management is a business practice that uses various tools and methods to discover, map, analyze, improve, optimize, and automate business processes. A study by a 2018 Gartner report observed that implementing Business Process Management (BPM) increases the success rate of your projects by 70%.
Managing your fulfillment processes using BPM practices helps you streamline the operations of your business deliveries, making them more efficient and effective.
The well-defined practices of BPM help you discover and outline your existing fulfillment processes. Once these processes are outlined in their as-is state, you can map and streamline them to identify and fix gaps, and redefine them most productively. It will not only save costs and resources but also increase the productivity of your processes.
Here are seven process management tips that can enhance your fulfillment processes:
An important part of the fulfillment process is to set clear expectations with the customer. There should be a fair understanding between you and the customer about the outcome and delivery of your processes. This ensures clarity and accountability on behalf of both parties.
For example, a software development company has promised to deliver the first version of the product on a certain date to its customer. The software company needs to list down what entails the first version of the product. This must include but not limited to:
When these detailed expectations are clear between both parties, there is accountability on the part of the company to deliver on their promises. Similarly, the customer knows what to expect on the delivery date and is prepared for the fulfillment accordingly.
When you finally place the order on Amazon for the air fryer after planning for weeks, do you feel a stab of excitement? I know I do. Once the order is placed, you get an estimated delivery date. Nevertheless, you keep checking for updates on whether your order is dispatched, shipped, or out for delivery. Oh, don't forget the thrill of knowing that it will arrive at your doorstep anytime now!
But imagine not getting any updates on your order - you can't see whether it is dispatched, shipped, or postponed. Wouldn't that be disappointing?
Think of the same situation when it comes to your fulfillment processes. the customer is waiting and excited about the delivery of your product or service. This makes you obligated to share updates with your customers on the status of the fulfillment process.
It is also important to notify your customers about delays and other changes in the estimated fulfillment deliveries. Keeping the customer updated on the status of the fulfillment process elevates the customer experience. It creates a sense of trust and responsibility for your brand - both important catalysts for business growth and sustainability.
Process automation is an important part of business process management - using technology to automate complex, redundant, and clerical processes. Fulfillment processes also include certain procedures that can function with minimal to no human interference. For example, order placements, process updates, internal communication, and data entries.
Process automation helps increase the efficiency of your process operations by eliminating human errors and dependency on tedious and repetitive tasks.
The use of technology to automate tasks also increases the effectiveness of your processes by helping your employees focus on more important and resourceful tasks.
Your fulfillment process has many steps and procedures that include but do not limit to - logistics, manufacturing, project management, consultations, data processing, shipping, etc. The process can vary from customer to customer based on individual requirements, but the basic workflow of the process remains the same.
To make the process more effective and efficient, you can tap into the practice of business process management (BPM). These practices entail:
Your fulfillment processes are executed by your team - which is why you must train them to execute processes efficiently. For this to happen, it is important for them to understand the importance and details of the process and how it affects everything in the bigger picture.
For example, a bakery is to deliver a certain amount of bagels by 7:00 in the morning to fulfill its obligation to the customer. In this case, the employees of the bakery not only need to be trained on baking the tastiest bagels but also to:
The team should also be trained to understand the impact of not following the process in terms of waste of resources, bad customer experience, loss of business, and loss of revenue.
Systems help you keep your processes in check, and sometimes even help you execute them. From communication tools to organization software, businesses use a variety of systems to support their operational processes.
Your fulfillment processes also need systems to keep the operations in check. But you have to ensure that the system you choose fits the needs of your fulfillment process and you do not have to alter your processes to fit the system. It is an important consideration before investing in a system.
Never limited your efficiency, effectiveness, and growth because a system is not compatible with your needs.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics that help you analyze the performance of any process, individual, team, or department. Establishing process KPIs can help you assess the ongoing performance of your processes.
Good KPIs indicate that your processes are performing smoothly, whereas poor KPIs indicate that your processes need assessment and improvement.
Some common KPI metrics used to measure the health of CORE processes are:
The value of these metrics is calculated using various formulas and measurements. Enhance your fulfillment operations by measuring and analyzing your fulfillment processes with process performance indicators.
Successful fulfillment processes are the key to building long-lasting relationships with your customers and keeping unnecessary cost low. Use business process management as a tool to improve and enhance your fulfillment operations.
You may be thinking that all of what you just read sounds great. However, you might not know how or where to start. You can schedule a discovery call with our team to see if we can help your fulfillment process operate better, faster, and cheaper here.
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