I’m fascinated by supply chains of all types. I’ve written before on the iPhone Supply Chain, Order Pipeline of Events, the Pizza Supply Chain, Ecommerce Supply Chain, the Domino’s Pizza Supply Chain, the BMW Supply Chain, the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain, and even the Supply Chain of the White Truffle Mushroom. You can also view all 40+ articles on Queueing Theory.
Today, I want to highlight how a company meets a basic need of knowing “Where’s my Stuff?”.
I recently purchased an iPhone 4S. My carrier is AT&T and I was finally able to upgrade from my dinosaur of a phone – the original iPhone 3G, which I’ve had for 4 years. My iPhone 3G has a battery life of about 2 minutes, but I’ve endured and I don’t let it bother me. But, I’m thankful that I can finally upgrade.
So, in my anticipation for my new iPhone 4S, I’ve been checking the Fedex Tracker. As of this morning, my iPhone 4S is in Memphis Tennessee.
The Fedex Shipment Tracker isn’t just a novel tool, but I see it as a basic feature that companies need to have in order to be competitive. It’s basic because it answers the basic human need to know where his or her stuff is – and providing an answer to the customer alleviates any pain of waiting, for we know that known waits feel shorter than unknown waits – which is a basic tenet in the psychology of queueing.
So, whenever you can, let your customer know their anticipated wait time. Don’t worry if it’s long. They are adults and they can handle it. The important lesson is that, as a company, you are being transparent and honest. For most companies, that’s a big win in itself.