Process Management in PLM

PLM and business process management…

Business process management is a topic too large for a single blog.  I would like to point out 2 key areas of process management that should receive special attention.

Touch point with your customer

  • Nordstrom

In my last blog, I mentioned Nordstrom’s customer service.  They have determined the best way to interact [touch] with their customer base is a no questions return policy.  They have had this policy for years so the public is well aware.  They sell higher end products [they cost more] and their customer base is willing to pay it.  Their return policy contributes to that attitude.

  • Amazon

Since Amazon is not a ‘brick and mortar’ store, their interaction with their customer base is through their website.  A website is all about the user interface.  They make it easy to find and purchase merchandise.  They make returns easy.

Their approach to book purchases has literally put other book stores out of business.

I haven’t seen any numbers on Amazon Prime, but what a concept – free 2 day shipping.  I need to buy for people out of state and this couldn’t be easier.  If I need something for myself, why go to the store when I can have it delivered in 2 days?

  • Netflix

Their intent from the beginning was to distribute content through the internet, hence the name Netflix.  Their starting position, providing DVD’s by mail, was so successful that it put Blockbuster out of business.  They have come to realize that they are in the content business competing with Amazon Prime, Hulu, Apple TV, all of the TV networks and others – this is their current challenge.

  • Tesla

Tesla wishes to control their interactions [touch point] with their customer base directly as opposed through dealers.  This should provide a more intimate relationship with their customers.  It is too early to draw any conclusions as to whether this is a great idea.

These companies realize the importance of their interactions with their customers.  If you want your company to be successful, you should look to establish easy [great] ways for your customers to interact with your company.

The next key area of process management is ‘the handoff’.

Touch point when passing from one step to the next

Within any multistep process, when one person completes their task they will pass off the process and the information gathered to the next person.  This needs to happen in a timely fashion; the information needs to be complete; the information needs to be accurate; etc.

Efficiency is the underlying goal.

Manage Expectations

What I have described so far is a bunch of expectations.  Your customers are expecting your company to interact with them as you always have.  Your internal employees expect processes to be followed in a timely, accurate manner.

Your company must manage these expectations.

If a customer interaction is flawed [or has failed], you must address it early and satisfactorily.  The United Airlines debacle is a good example of a flawed and failed customer interaction.

If an internal process fails, it too must be addressed early and satisfactorily.

Fortunately, today’s PLM software has the necessary functionality to easily manage these processes and any others you might have.  It will save you money while making your company more efficient.

Contact me if you would like some help…


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