Supply Chain and Logistics - Exception Handling

We caught up with Corey Weekes from Whispir to discuss how their larger customers are making use of Whispir to manage supply chain risk.

We were most interested to hear how Supply Chain Managers were dealing with exceptions. Given that most large companies already have outstanding supply chain management and logistics management solutions, what additional value were they getting from the Whispir platform.

During our discussion, I was reminded of sitting in “war rooms” at the turn of the millennium, modelling supply chains using Lean Six Sigma to build the leanest and most efficient supply chains. Relentless focus on ensuring processes flow smoothly, making evidence-based decisions to introduce improvements that reduce waste and deliver the greatest customer value at the least possible cost.

What was difficult though, was to predict and plan for the less common risks that could interrupt the supply chain.

This is where Corey states that Whispir is adding value.

At some point in the process of refining our supply chain, we have to draw a line under risks and accept that the cost to avoid doesn’t marry with the likelihood of it occurring, or the severity of impact should it occur. So, how do we deal with exceptions in our logistics management and supply chain management systems

This is where Whispir are making a difference.

LV Martin famously said, “it’s the putting right that counts”.

Customers get that the supply chain is an open system. They might not say it in those words, but they do understand especially in recent times, that interruptions are going to occur and these external impacts on your supply chain are largely out of your control.

The opportunity though is to take the wise words from LV Martin and turn this exception into a moment of truth that has your customer recommending you to their friends and whanau because of the way you treated them in putting it right.

Corey and the supply chain and logistics management clients Whispir are working with have determined that strong exception management begins with strong communication, and we can’t agree more.

I changed my coffee capsule supplier recently. On my first order, they missed their delivery deadline which is not unusual given the struggle courier companies are having managing their fleet at the moment.

What was unusual, is that on the day of deliver I got an email from my new supplier stating they had noticed my deliver was running behind schedule. They were keeping an eye on it and if it didn’t make it to me on time, they would contact the courier to get it sorted. What great service!

This experience lines up with the benefit Whispir clients are stating they receive from their multi-channel platform (and we don’t believe they’re leveraging full value yet).

Two-way communication

Communicating the occurrence of incidents and exceptions that involve people is reasonably well accounted for from what we’ve seen. Drivers have access to radios and phones and can call in to Dispatch to raise an alert (accident or break down for example). It’s after this that things start to slow down.

The effort required to rally troops to recover from the incident often sits “outside the plan”, is a manual and time-consuming process that is rarely factored into resourcing requirements and puts enormous stress on your people. Internal and external communications take a heavy toll, along with the pressure to report up regarding how the event is being handled.

Getting better information in a digital format at the outset, can make everything that follows so much easier on your team, and significantly reduce the gap between response and recovery.

Two-way communication sequences built into your processes can ensure that within an instant of an exception occurring, all parties that need to be notified are.

Dispatch/Incident Controllers get notification immediately and can choose to invoke processes to commence response activities that inform and gather acknowledgement from those who need to jump in.

Customers, suppliers, managers, and other stakeholders that need to be advised of what’s happened and how/when things will be resolved are.

The reliance on voice communication and risks associated with that are mitigated – everyone is on the same page, and Dispatchers/Controllers have visibility of the status of each action and communication relating to the event.

Automated triggers based on events

Not all exceptions need to wait for a human to notice and notify. Organisations with good supply chain tools can integrate with the Whispir platform and have data-based events trigger processes. 

I have no doubt that my new coffee capsule supply mentioned above has a trigger built into their communications platform to determine the likelihood of my parcel being delivered based on the status with the courier and my delivery time. Do I care this is a machine generated message? Not at all, although I do hope that their process continues to escalate automatically should the delivery remain “stuck”. 

The opportunities for automated triggers are only limited by your imagination, as are the ways you can respond. Triggers warning of a likely delivery delay can be automated end to end, even to the point where replacement product is dispatched.

Triggers indicating more serious incidents (collision detection, public health alerts from product tracing, etc) might instigate a process that has your crisis management team notified and pulled into a conference call.

Automation doesn’t end with notification though. No-code workflows within the Whispir Platform can trigger further communication and events based on response or non-response from recipients.

A response from your customer letting you know delivery has arrived (poor courier data perhaps), could automatically prevent you from wasting further effort and frustrating suppliers and customers. Or perhaps a message requesting a driver from your casual driver pool has been accepted by someone, this can automatically trigger a “stand down” message to those who have not yet responded.

Real-time updates

Regardless of the severity of the incident, accurate and real-time updates are critical to protecting your people, revenues, assets, and brand.

The challenge these days is that people aren’t often sitting at their desks waiting for your email. We are more mobile, and SMS is by far the most effective method for connecting when time is of the essence.

People look at their phones on average every 3 minutes, and more than 98% of SMS get opened compared to an open rate of just 20% with emails.

If you want people to respond quickly, you need to start the communication with an SMS.

Then you need to have pre-templated messages that can quickly be edited and sent to dynamic lists. One place to edit your message for every channel, and the ability to provide a link to more detailed information readable on any device, with the ability for the recipient to acknowledge and even instigate further steps in your process.

Even then you’re only halfway there. It’s all well and good sending messages out, but if you can’t determine who has received, read, and acknowledged the role they need to play, you’re flying in the dark. 

One of the key benefits of the Whispir platform is the ability to ensure the messages you send out are consistent, on-brand, and end up in the hands of the right people. Whether you’re sending via SMS, email, social, even via Apps, all formats can be edited and previewed side by side along with the web page providing the additional information and response conditions.

You can even send it in the preferred language of the recipient.

Who are Whispir?

Whispir is a multi-channel platform that makes it easy for you to create streamlined, automated, and engaging communications. Whispir have worked with several supply chain and logistics companies throughout Australasia and the world and know the unique challenges that come with this level of organisation and coordination.

We’d love to introduce you to the team at Whispir and understand more about the challenges the world is throwing at your supply chain.

we are Fill The Gap

With the best processes and tools to enable your journey to Digital Enablement. Our Adaptive Portfolio Management system will ensure you get the value you expect from change projects. Our best-in-class Australasian built software will help you locate, understand and leverage the data that drives your business.

we are Fill The Gap

With the best processes and tools to enable your journey to Digital Enablement. Our Adaptive Portfolio Management system will ensure you get the value you expect from change projects. Our best-in-class Australasian built software will help you locate, understand and leverage the data that drives your business.

Our software partners

We don’t sell, we partner with our clients to identify opportunities to accelerate their Digital Enablement journey. Often that results in one of our world-class solutions adding value, other times it provides our clients with better content to source solutions elsewhere. We’re happy either way.