Daily Archives: January 13, 2012

SAMBC? WTH? Can’t They Just Say Only Customer Service Matters?

Or at least a better acronym? This one is a Seriously Impractical Customer Orientation. In fact, SICO is a better acronym — Success Is Customer Oriented! Anyway, we are referring to Service As Measured By the Customer (SAMBC), the metric that is replacing “perfect order” at P&G, as described in this recent SCB article on how The Perfect Order Isn’t So Perfect.

According to P&G, the perfect order metric doesn’t get the job done because it causes your service to become very internally focussed. And as we indicated in yesterday’s post, you can’t just focus inward. First of all, as we indicated yesterday, you will fail your customer if your supplier fails you. Secondly, you will fail your customer if you don’t insure that they get what they need, when they need it — and this is often more than just delivering a product on a specified date. As noted by Deidre White, Associate Director of Customer Service, an undue focus on the perfect order results in the loss of opportunity to create value for our customers and ourselves.

As Dale S. Rogers, Professor of Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Rutgers notes, while the perfect order might offer the advantage of simplicity, it’s ill-equipped to deal with the complexities of most global supply chains today. Furthermore, the trend toward outsourcing has created a network of independent partners, each of whom plays a critical role in getting a shipment to its destination. By limiting its performance assessment to what goes on within its own plant or distribution center, a company like P&G fails to get the big picture. What looks like a smooth-running operation could easily be considered a failure by the end customer.

The lack of joint scoring on the traditional perfect order metric is what causes it to fail. For example, consider the example of a 100-case shipment that is five cases short because of space constraints. A supplier who puts the missing cases on the next shipment considers the order filled. The customer thinks otherwise. And it’s the customer’s opinion that counts. An unhappy customer can result in lost sales down the road.

So how do you implement SAMBC? That’s a good question. According to the article, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution in a SAMBC process as each customer has its unique set of metrics and priorities. The article notes that the suplier must adjust its own to meet them. And that the SAMBC metric is the percentage of measured customers at which we are at or better than expected service targets, where the targets are established by and with each customer. That’s a scorecard. And SAMBC can be implemented the same way — with a “balanced” scorecard that measures the customer goals. Specifically, a scorecard that takes into account the customer measures of success and weights each measure according to the priority placed on it by the customer. It will have many of the same metrics — on time delivery, quality, etc. — as a “perfect order” scorecard, but it will be completed by the customer and each measure will be weighted differently by each customer. That’s likely all there is too it.