Friday, February 10, 2012

What Does a Perfect Order Mean in Logistics?

A perfect order is what is “perfect” for end customers since they ultimately provide profit to the company.  A more technical definition is perfect orders mean delivering the desired assortment and quantity of products to the right location on time, damage-free, and correctly invoiced.  Thus, the goal of the supply chain is to find a perfect balance between efficiency and responsiveness in order to make the most profit.

Information is now traveling at a very fast speed thanks to advancements in technology such as computers, the Internet, and smart phones.  Because of these advancements, global competition among firms is increasing so firms must rely on their supply chains to provide competitive advantages. 

While the goal in logistics is to have everything in the supply chain go according to plan, it rarely happens.  Humans are imperfect by nature and, according to Murphy’s Law, “If anything can go wrong, it will” (  For example, an order might have the wrong quantity or the wrong items, arrive late or too early, go to the wrong destination, or contain damaged items.  Unfortunately, the speed of information makes these mistakes visible quickly, and customers can easily develop a negative perception of a firm’s service.

It is possible to change customers’ negative perceptions, though.  While a picture is worth a thousand words, actions speak volumes.  A firm must overcome a negative perception by working to improve it, and the first step is admitting its shortcomings.  In the 1960’s, Hertz was the number one rental car service in America, and Avis was a distant second.  However, that did not intimidate ad agency executive Bill Bernbach who said, “We knew our ad campaign, which stated ‘Avis is only number 2.  We try harder.’ would work because if there is one thing America loves, it's the story of an underdog finding a way to win.”  Sure enough, customers responded by using Avis’ services, and the company gained a larger market share because of this approach!

The next step in improving a company’s image is to set goals and then work towards reaching them.  As Hall of Fame Football Coach Vince Lombardi once stated, “Perfection is not attainable but, if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence” (  We are what we repeatedly do.  A firm has to take action and make corrections to their mistakes.  Then, they must strive to do better each and every day.  The last steps include making sure customers are aware of the firm’s responsiveness and ability to solve problems through the use of advertising and public relations.  Once this tactic has been implemented, it is up to the company’s Sales and Marketing Department to ask for the customers’ business!

Copyright 2012 JamesL. Alyea. All Rights Reserved.