The case sheds light on the management of a firm looking to improve on their order process by making it more efficient. The firm is fairly large having about five different production facilities which manufacture chemicals used in plastics, fibers, and coatings in the south eastern region of the United States. The case goes in depth into the firm’s order process. When a customer faxes, mails in the order, or calls, his order is taken down by a representative who manually takes down necessary information required for the order on an order pad. The representative accesses the firm’s order entry system and checks the inventory and location for each product the customer orders. After all relevant information regarding the order is gathered, the customer is contacted by the representative who confirms the entire order before proceeding. The representative suggests a delivery date of four to five business days. If the customer would prefer an earlier delivery, the representative checks the order entry system to see the warehouse nearest in location to the customer shipping address. This check appears to be redundant as orders are generally delivered from the nearest location to the customer. Orders which written by hand on an order pad are collected together and put manually into the order entry system. The order entry system rejects orders with missing information. Some orders are not immediately put into the system depending on their delivery date. The system performs a credit check on the customers. Customers are separated and treated differently based on the health of their credit. A report is generated and sent daily to the Credit Department and representatives. The firm also faces a problem due to lack of standards. Different business units use different identification systems for the same products.
The firm appears to be strong and big. It holds fives different production facilities producing a variety of products. This advantage of variety gives them the ability to make complementary and supplementary products so that they can still keep market share and profits even when one product is doing poorly in terms of sales and distribution. The firm has a good management who intend on improving its efficiency. The firm acknowledges that a problem exists in the order process and identification systems and it takes the first step in problem solving: identifying that a problem exists. Since the firm deals in specialty chemicals, it is difficult for new entrants to creep into its niche market. The products which the firm produces are necessary in the production of other vital products which means that the firm’s products will always be in demand. The firm also made it a point of duty to maintain a relationship with their profitable customers by giving credit to the customers who have good financial standing with the firm. The geography of the firm is suitable for its market. The firm is located in the southeastern region of the United States which is known for an abundance of polymers and dyes. The firm has access to available supplies needed for production. Weaknesses
The firm’s order process gives room for a lot of human error and redundancy. The procedures in the order process are mostly handled manually by representatives who have the ability to make mistakes in the case of large batches of orders. The order process is also very slow. The representatives have to check back and confirm an order with the customer which takes up valuable time that can be used to serve other orders. The reports generated during the order process are sent out to the concerned personnel via physical snail mail which can cause clutter. Also, some orders are delayed from being entered into the order entry system due to their delivery date. Valuable information is likely to get lost physically or in translation since the order process requires the representative to rewrite the order on a pad, the pad...