Balancing economic demands while maintaining customer satisfaction is no easy feat for service supply chain managers. According to Glyn Dodd, managing director of service supply chain specialists Centrex Services, the biggest hurdles for organizations are legacy communication systems that are siloed and inefficient. “We know the service supply chain model has been working inefficiently, with separate entities running each sector of the network,” Dodd says. “Unsurprisingly, the communication between these areas is often found lacking, as an issue…is simply passed on to the next stage, when in reality it may not have been necessary to do so.” However, there are three important ways that service supply chains can implement better systems to create a more effective service supply model. “By studying the people, processes and data which unite to create the service supply chain, while simultaneously identifying the inefficiencies within these silos, each element can be challenged,” Dodd says. “Ultimately, this will culminate in a far more efficient network.” Here are a few tactics that Dodd recommends:

1. Prevent Silos From Forming

Communication is a vital part of every service organization. Beginning with the initial service call, collaboration between departments — such as triaging calls based on urgency — can make a huge difference when it comes to customer satisfaction. A recent Aberdeen Group study found that over 50 percent of respondents wanted to see improvement in triage diagnosis for initial service calls and that service organizations that practiced triage diagnosis saw a 24 percent increase in their first-time fix rates. “Communication is of paramount importance in all businesses, and this applies to those working in the service supply chain, where we live and die by the level of customer service we are able to offer,” Dodd notes. “It is therefore unacceptable that the communication silos which the majority of businesses seem to rely upon result in a system where cross-silo communication is so poor.”

2. Challenge Inefficient Processes

It’s important to create an environment of open communication, explains Dodd, so that inefficiencies can be reported from the bottom up. Dodd says, “Those decision-makers who strategically alter the function within the service supply chain do not necessarily have the knowledge required to alter the inefficient processes which currently plague the system.” According to global supply chain research from McKinsey, 61 percent of respondents cited reducing operating costs as a top priority over the past 3 years. One key way to achieve this goal is to leave the door open for discussion on processes and systems.

3. Don’t Rely Solely on Big Data

While Big Data and complex data analytics hold promise for creating better business systems, Dodd explains that data alone is not enough to solve today’s service supply chain problems. Dodd explains, “There is a widely held belief that generating ever increasing amounts of data is the answer to all our service supply chain needs, but alone it is irrelevant if not turned into useful information. It’s the business intelligence transforming this into relevant information which is vital for the creation of an efficient, integrated service supply chain, abolishing the silos that plague the current model.” H/T Bdaily