- 2. Take the lessons learned from your experience in step one and integrate people, processes and systems together to start making supply chain planning and management more demand-driven. Get customer-facing processes integrated back to supply chain planning and management. Redefine processes as part of a pilot in this phase, and measure the impact on the specific areas' POI score. This is a great way to see how changing customer-facing processes affects perfect order performance.
- 3. Taking the lessons learned from the pilot, define a plan for integrating all customer-facing processes to supply chain planning and management systems. There are many aspects of this last step, the most challenging being to get people to change how they do their jobs in the demand generation, supply chain planning, management, manufacturing, fulfillment and services areas of the company. You also must look at how to bridge the gap between demand-driven initiatives and strategies, on the one hand, and supply chain planning, management and production, on the other, perhaps with an automated solution.
The perfect order isn't just for supply chains anymore. When one considers the impact it has on customer expectations and its utility as a barometer of how well a company is fulfilling those expectations, it forces the issue of how demand-driven a supply chain really is. As the future of any company depends on meetings its customers' expectations, it's also important to not try to cost reduce operations so that high ROI measures are achieved at the expense of being able to fulfill orders accurately, completely, on time and with no damage. Creating pilot projects to see how becoming demand-driven in just a single area affects perfect order performance is the approach many companies are taking, gradually expanding into all customer-facing channels and processes over time. Even in tough economic times, investing in becoming demand-driven has the potential of bringing in top-line revenue growth and permanently changing a company's ability to compete for new business.
About the Author: Louis Columbus is senior manager, enterprise at Cincom Systems, a developer of software for business operations and customer communications. Previously Columbus held senior management positions with Gateway, Ingram Micro and a software start-up. He also served as a senior analyst at AMR Research. His most recent book is Getting Results From Your Analyst Relations Strategies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.