Daily Archives: March 16, 2010

A Quick Reference to Perfect Order Fulfillment in Your Warehouse

I enjoyed the recent white paper from Motorola on Warehouse Management: A Quick Reference Guide To Improving Inventory Accuracy For Perfect Orders because it was short and got straight to the point. Defining the perfect order as an order that is

  • delivered on time and in full,
  • in compliance with a customer’s three-way match (invoice, PO, and receipt), and
  • free of quality issues,

it goes on to say that multiple factors contribute to imperfect orders and that the most important starting point is a value stream map that identifies where the most errors are occurring in your current operations.

It then presents some straight-forward resolutions to common operational challenges that you can use to quickly increase your perfect order accuracy. Examples include:

Operational Challenge Resolution
Manual Order Processing & Improvement automation technology, RFID, barcodes, and mobile printers
Picking Methods hands-free wearable computers, scan verification, and voice recognition
Software Systems central database/ERP, WMS module, continuous training and improvement
Labor include employees in improvement processes, reward workers for achieving goals, communicate regularly, and hold everyone accountable for following the right processes

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Decideware: Agency Performance Management Experts

DecideWare, an Australian Company (with offices in the US and the UK) that dubs itself as a Supplier Performance Expert with a Scorecard Deployment Service, offers a niche Vendor Management Solution that excels in managing certain types of vendors. Specifically, their niche solution, which started out as a niche play in HR Management, is used globally by a number of Fortune 500 Multi-Nationals — which include P&G, Dell, Pfizer, Target, and Wal-Mart — to manage their vendor relationships, and their Agency relationships in particular.

Their uniquely designed solution — which allows for simultaneous 360° degree assessments and self-assessments between buyers, agencies, and vendors (which allow a buyer to rate an agency who can self-assess while it rates the buyer and a third party vendor, such as a print shop, which can rate the agency in turn) — is built on the ultimate application of the KIS(S) (Keep It Simple, Stupid) philosophy. Knowing that their target market are not very technically sophisticated, they opted for the 80% solution, free of bells and whistles, with easy SaaS deployment and an easier-to-follow step-by-step methodology for building vendor capability repositories, scopes of work, vendor assessments, and reports that allow vendor performance to be quickly determined, performance gaps immediately identified, and a vendor’s relative performance graphed against their competitors.

While the base capabilities may not exceed the capabilities of a standard RFX tool with extensive survey creation (which they have), process management (which the tool is built around), and reporting capabilities (which are fairly extensive), the extensive amount of industry knowledge they’ve built in for their niche markets is impressive. They understand that organizations have units, geography, account structures, account types, locations, functions, and accounts; that profiles need criteria, contacts, priorities, questions, and documents; that accounts have definitions, assessors, and reviews; and that business people in non-technical areas of the business like lots of ready-to-use pre-packaged reports and easy-to-use drop down interfaces for drilling into performance data and performing gap analysis. The tool literally walks an administrator through the definition of a vendor capability database, a scope of work, and an assessment step-by-step. (And the tool is even more streamlined for the assessors.)

All of these tools have all of the basic capabilities, and a few advanced ones, that you would expect in a scorecard-based on-demand performance management tool. The vendor capability database, which is a streamlined Supplier Information Management (SIM) tool, allows you to approve supplier (agency) representatives to manage their supplier profiles. The scopes of work (or, for us in North America, statements of work) module allows you to define the services, initiatives, and deliverables that are required, broken down by organizational unit, type, and geography, as well as the details of the quotes required (line items, fees, expenses, etc.), with fees that can be broken down by type and include overhead rate, profit margin, and total hours and benefits for FTE quotes. And the assessment creator, which is part of their Relationship Optimizer, includes all of your standard RFX Survey creation features including configurable variable weight scales, the ability to include quantitative measures, and the ability to define weightings to each section and each component question. The tool contains significant support for comments and detailed explanations for questions as the goal is to take the qualitative and fuzzy and generate numeric scores that are quantitative and precise which can be used to generate actionable intelligence for semi-annual, or quarterly, performance reviews.

In summary, while a number of providers might offer more powerful Supplier Information Management (SIM), RFX, Reporting, or Supplier Performance Management (SPM), the tool is exceptionally well defined for the niche Vendor Management Spaces DecideWare is going after. And their client list, most of whom have rolled out the solution globally, speaks for itself — as will the case studies from Pfizer and Dell that they will be releasing in the near future.

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