Birth of a Business Paradigm – Business Agility

Last month, a friend of mine bought a product after watching one of those telebrand shows on television. He called up the phone number that was provided, placed his order and the shipment arrived in just a few days.

Except that there was a problem.

HE WAS SHIPPED THE WRONG PRODUCT! One that he did not want, though it was a more expensive product than the one he had ordered.

My friend duly called up the helpline, was assured that he would be shipped the correct item and he could also keep the one that he received by mistake. “Not bad”, said my friend, as he didn’t have to pay for the extra item.

Except that the ‘reshipment’ never arrived!

When he remembered about it a few weeks later, he called up the helpline again. They looked up his “reshipment”, and accepted that for some reason it did not ship out. He was given another “reshipment number”, and assured that the product would reach him in “7-12 business days”. Our man waited another month and a half, finally contacted his credit card company and triggered the removal of the credit card charge for the purchase.

A few weeks later, the friend received the confirmation of cancelation of the credit card charge and the reshipment on the same day! Funny as that was, after another couple of weeks, the second reshipment arrived as well!!

This is a tale of two sides. In all fairness, we should take a look at the enterprise side of things as well. The vendor probably had in place a customer focused intelligent process that determined it was cheaper to let the customer keep the first (incorrect) product (because return logistics, restocking, and disposition would cost more than the product value). A well-established process threshold allowed the helpline to confirm the reshipment. However, it might have been the request approval that delayed the reshipment. Every action of the vendor helpline suggests a process geared towards high customer satisfaction bias; nonetheless; the same process being overburdened with huge transaction volumes resulted in inadvertent delay. This in turn, resulted in lost sales, high transaction cost, and a lost customer.

Today’s process oriented enterprises are driven by a relentless focus on achieving efficiency in their business processes. Process management and monitoring are aimed at reducing and removing inefficiencies in the system. However, transaction errors often occur, leading to lost sales, increased cost and more importantly, lost customer satisfaction. This invokes the need for more effective process monitoring, coupled with the ability to identify outliers as and when they occur.

Process exceptions occur in all functions of the enterprise, ranging from procurement to sales, supply chain management to employee management. Organizations need to identify critical and crucial concerns based on their business processes. These pre-defined exceptions require immediate identification and an agile response to avoid order execution delay.

In today’s automated enterprise systems, very often exceptions and outliers to the norm get buried in either the sheer volume of transactional data or in aggregated after-the-fact reporting. Yet, it is these vital ‘outside-the-expected-norm’ events that lead to lost customer satisfaction, lost sales, lost revenue and increased cost. Customer mindshare is earned for the wrong reason- after his telebrand ordering fiasco, my friend would never order from them again. Not because of any inherent problem in the product, but simply owing to the sheer overhead of time and effort that it cost him.

These efficiency and satisfaction leakages are occurring across enterprises, with prospects, customers, suppliers, sales channel intermediaries, and employees. These leakages need to be found and plugged in time- in fact, in real time! Before these escalate into critical issues that can cause potential problems. Hence, the two-step plugging process involves 1) intelligent identification and 2) immediate action.

This approach of Action by Exception is fast becoming imperative in process driven enterprises, as the amount of data to be dealt with is increasing exponentially. Organizations can no longer afford to ignore satisfaction leakages. VSSOD solutions embody this new paradigm of Exceptions First – handling and managing process exceptions, by highlighting actionable real time transactional data to the right person, enabling and orienting him/her for timely, corrective action.

This new paradigm envisages a new method of process management in the enterprise. VSSOD is spearheading this change towards enhanced business agility. This novel approach will transform today’s process oriented enterprises into exception oriented ones. And when problems are resolved first, we will have a lot less people like my friend. And a lot more happy, satisfied customers!