3 Tips for Managing Distributed Operations, Employees, Suppliers and Customers
With Cyber Monday around the corner, a growing number of consumers are opting to stay out of the stores after Thanksgiving in the U.S. and do their holiday shopping from the comfort of the couch.
It’s not just Amazon fulfilling people’s remote wish lists anymore either; more and more companies are extending their presence with e-commerce platforms and, as a result, increasing the demand for warehouses across the country—particularly in smaller counties close to interstate highways and railroads to achieve the speedy delivery that customers expect.
Although fulfillment centers have seen an uptick in robotics and automation to pick and transport goods within the facility, there’s still very much a need for full-time human employees to pack and prepare orders for shipment, aid and operate machinery, and supervise staff. In fact, the human side of the industry is growing; according to a recent New York Times article, warehouses have been adding employees at four times the rate of overall job growth since 2010.
And with the biggest fulfillment centers for companies like Amazon and other e-commerce giants employing upwards of 2,000 people, it takes a truly unified system to manage daily operations, keep lines of communication open with their many stakeholders, and ensure a lean supply chain across locations. In industries where seasonality, inclement weather, and customer satisfaction can have a direct impact on success, it’s especially critical to ensure a seamless experience in every aspect of the business, from internal employees to end customers.
But you don’t have to as big as Amazon—or even in the retail industry—to leverage some of their expertise with regard to managing distributed operations and a distributed customer base.
1. Customer service is a priority—From the shopping experience to using the product (or any of their services) Amazon knows their customers’ satisfaction comes first. It’s no surprise that this strategy has helped them not merely retain but grow their Prime customer base to over 65 million. How would customers rank your service? How does this affect return business?
2. Communication is king—Whether you’re contacting a company through chat, email, within the app, or over the phone, the speed and ability to respond and resolve is what keeps customers coming back. In order to pull this off, a business needs to have a truly unified communications system that can handle the peaks of seasonality, be it Back to School or the Christmas rush.
3. Don’t forget about security—With so much credit card information being passed back and forth online during the holiday season, you’ll need to be sure that your customers are not only satisfied with their purchases, but also protected from data theft throughout the transaction. Businesses should be mindful of “return and refund” fraud phone schemes, and take precautions such as PCI compliance to ensure end-to-end encryption on their sites.
Does your business depend on a network of warehouses or distribution centers? Learn how to coordinate across locations and optimize your supply chain and at the new speed of employee, supplier and customer expectations with a truly unified communications system. Check out the webinar, 5 Signs Your Business Needs a Communications Upgrade, for more information.