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Understanding the Customer Service Desk - Post- Erp Implementation

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The Customer Service department of Electro Tech has now successfully implemented ERP . As you look around the room, you still see an open area full of cubicles. The most obvious change in the surroundings is that instead of dumb terminals, there are now personal computers at each station. Multi-line telephones are still standard issue, but the constant ring has leveled to a normal work pace. There has also been a noticeable drop in the stacks of paper that fill the room.

As you recall, the Electro Tech Customer Service department is open Monday through Friday 7.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. EST. Looking at a typical day in the Customer Service department, you meet Bob Peters, who has been working at the order desk of Electro Tech for about five years. Bob was a participant in the BPS process to install ERP and understands the capabilities of the new system.

The Players

The following is a list of the employees involved in the Electro Tech customer service example.

Bob Peters - Customer Service Representative

Sam Soot -Customer from Reliable Manufactures

Bryan Luther--Plant Production Scheduler

Frank Brewer--Quality Control Analyst

Laurie Stewart--Warehouse and Ship Dock Manager

The Situation

Before ERP was implemented, CSRs would give a customer a delivery date but often had to add days to the delivery date after the fact. Electro Tech's practice had been to never turn away an order. If a customer asked for a delivery within the established lead times, it was still accepted. When the delivery could not be made, it was delayed and customer satisfaction was on the decline.

Since the ERP go-live date, customers' complaints about delayed orders have slowly declined. The world isn't perfect, so delays still happen. But there has been a decided downward trend. The difference seems to be the use of ERP's availability-checking capabilities. Now when a customer calls in to place an order, an automatic availability check determines if the requested delivery date can be met. If it can, the order is confirmed. If it cannot be met, the CSR is given a delivery proposal that provides options. The total delivery date is determined based on inventory and planned production. Optionally, if a partial delivery can be made, the system will propose two delivery dates: a partial delivery based on the requested delivery date, and a subsequent delivery as production allows.

At first customers were upset by the fact that Electro Tech was refusing to accept orders within advertised lead times. Through the combined effort of the sales force and the CSRs, customers began to accept that Electro Tech's previous practice of over-committing delivery dates only hurt At first customer, were upset by the fact that Electro Tech was refusing to accept orders in the long run. As customers began to accept the delivery proposals, they realized that deliveries became more regular.

The New Approach

It is Monday morning and Bob arrives at his desk about 15 minutes before his shift. Because it's a Midwestern company, the early order desk shift has to cover East Coast time. The second shift is set up to cover orders later in the day arriving from West Coast.

Before ERP, Bob would pull out the latest copy of the plant inventory report and mark it with red, green, and yellow markers based on customer orders and the plant changes. This was necessary because the Order IT system was not integrated with the production scheduling or inventory systems that the manufacturing facilities used. With the integration provided by ERP, this was no longer necessary. In fact, online reports and system integration points allow Bob to work almost completely without printed reports. The data is in the system and accessible.

On this morning, Bob answers his ringing phone and finds himself talking to Sam Soot of Reliable Manufactures. Sam is calling to place an order for 100 units of part A1Z1, a current sensor with relay output. Sam requests a delivery in four days. Bob enters the sold-to customer information and confirms with Sam the proper ship to location. When he enters the item, quantity, and requested delivery date, the system responds with a delivery proposal. Based on the available stock, planned production, pick, pack and ship times, only 37 units can be delivered within four days. The balance of the order can be delivered the end of next week. Based on this information, Bob explains to Sam that he can have the two partial shipments or he can wait until the end of next week and have a single complete shipment.

Sam is concerned but understands that Bob is providing the realistic options. He asks if he can put Bob on hold while he contacts his production manager. After a moment, Sam returns to say that Reliable would prefer to have the



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