13 April 2006

Logistics Management System at Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong

B2B versus B2C
Swire Coca Cola Hong Kong (SCCHK) has a business unit which provides door-to-door delivery to home and office segments. The delivery is always very complicated because it involves B2C consumers. B2C consumers always have higher expectations than B2B customers. They are very impatient, and that's why we have the concept of ECR, or Efficient Consumer Response.
Before 2003, the performance of delivery services was not based on the number of successful delivered orders. In fact, there was no measurement of success, no Key Performance Indicators (KPI), and no Critical Success Factors (CSF) to help run the operations. Nobody had any concerns on the delivery performance. It was attributable to the strong sales performance.
Business Cycle?
It is always like this. When the business looks good, and there are no major business problems, then everything seems alright and nobody, not even the big boss, would have any question about anything. Life is easy, and everyone in the company is living to work instead of working to live. Peace!
However, when the upward trend reverses, everyone gets nervous, and every day everyone fights to survive in the war. The big boss gets in, and asks questions that have never been asked before. Even a very minor problem can suddenly become a very serious and major problem.
We call this "business cycle".
War and Peace
The delivery function of this business unit had been a problem for a long time, but since it's peace time, nobody really cared about it. Although the problem was pretty transparent, it's invisible.
Good things won't last. In 2003, when the market slowed down, the attention turned to this delivery function. I was then the newly recruited Sales Manager of that department. Alas! I joined SCCHK on 06 January 2003.
I developed a simple system with the help of my right-hand man, Calvin Chow, to manage something which I had no prior knowledge. I'd been engaging in sales and marketing activities for 8 years before I re-joined SCCHK. Logistics? What's that?
"When there is a will, there is a way."
The whole exercise was exciting. Several managers from different teams were being invited to join the project team. As quoted by Peter Drucker, "results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not solving problems." All discussions were focused on identifying ways to encourage both the outsourced logistics partners and in-house delivery teams to perform better, instead of punishing them when things would go wrong, which was then the usual practice.
I am a strong advocate of "what gets measured gets managed", and always believe in numbers. Coding system was used to identify problem areas. Three areas could go wrong in the case of unsuccessful delivery - outsourced delivery agents (XD), consumers (XC), and Swire itself (XS). From these 3 major codes, we further developed the sub-coding system to make sure that the reaons of failure were included in the system.
Before the introduction of the Logistics Management System (LMS), the successful delivery rate was low, the morale was poor, and the working atmosphere was about who to blame when things had gone wrong.
In less than 3 months, the successful delivery rate has improved from 93% to 97%, not to mention the morale and working atmoshphere.
To Be or Not To Be
I quit SCCHK on 06 December 2005. This blog is written on 13 April 2006. Four months later, SCCHK is still using the system.
I've always wanted to be a 100% sales and marketing professional... but since my graduation in 1995, I never really had the opportunity to work as a sales and marketing person. And now... I'm in training and development field.
Sales? Marketing? Logistics? Training? Human Resources?
Where should my final destination be...?

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