It has been well over three weeks since I finished blog 2 in the series. A bout of flu, excess work and some plain old writer’s block are to blame for this.
Today let us explore CEBT through the lens of a business process flow.
We have over 200 use cases in our repository but I picked a transaction that is simple but effective.
The process flow under consideration is an inventory management flow. Many manufacturers work closely with large retailers such as Home Depot, Walmart etc. who are their trade partners. The relationship between the manufacturers and these partners are largely symbiotic.
Now let us run through the baseline state of this process flow (prior to CEBT). The trade partner electronically transfers stock balance and demand data to the manufacturer. The partner representative at the manufacturer notices the receipt of this data. Then he or she manually schedules a meeting or calls the production coordinator to analyze this data. The connection with the production coordinator may be made after one or many manual tries. Finally they discuss the production schedule and production complete date. Next the representative will have to manually connect with the shipment coordinator. Again the actual human connection is made after one or many manual tries. He may need to escalate or delegate which may take longer. Finally the human connection is established and the shipment schedule and delivery date discussed. The delivery date is then electronically communicated to the trade partner who prepares for goods receipt.
The baseline state as you can see is very manual in its human connection. The outcome of this manual connection could be
- Delay in connecting with the production coordinator resulting in delayed production of goods
- Delay in connecting with the shipment coordinator resulting in delayed delivery of goods.
Both these outcomes are not very conducive for the manufacturer and the relationship with the trade partner. Hence most manufacturers in order to provide some buffer for these delays will hold a little more than necessary finished goods inventory which comes with its own associated cost tag of higher warehouse costs, more in-process inventory, etc. Further they typically will also have other expedited delivery costs budgeted such as expedited shipment.
Now let us see how we can overcome these issues with a CEBT flow
A collaboratively transformed process flow will look as above.
Now since the sharing of the stock balance and demand data is mostly a periodic event or an event triggered by stock balance alerts, when such an event occurs, a voice notification is placed to the coordinator of the trade partner. A message is played asking if he or she wants a conference to be placed with the manufacturer. If the coordinator responds saying yes (using DTMF based response set) then a notification is sent to the manufacturer’s coordinator informing him/her of the stock balance conference. Then the two coordinators are brought together in an audio conference where the bridge dials out and connects the two individuals. Once they share the stock balance data, the manufacturer’s coordinator uses a portal to schedule an internal telepresence. Again the production team and the shipment team is notified. Any escalations and delegations are automatically managed. The telepresence or video conference helps to collaboratively determine the production schedule, shipment schedule and delivery date to the trade partner. Once the video conference is completed, the partner coordinator on the manufacturer’s side inputs the decision through the portal that automates a notification and a conference between the manufacturer’s coordinator and the trade partner’s coordinator. In all these the right people or the organizational expert is identified in an automated way, then using the user preferences and Presence and Availability, the right device for the user is identified and the communication session is placed to them.
Thus using a collaborative process where the connection elements are automated
- the process completes with less variance – the escalations, delegations and team identification is made as automatic as possible
- the delay in finding and assembling the right people is reduced by automating the human connection, reducing the delay by automating the user and device identification and then actually connecting to the human user
- The collaborative process further reduces or eliminates the serial bottlenecks further optimizing the process
- Persistence in the notifications maintains the team updated in a manner only achievable through automation
Due to the reduction in delays and process variance, the manufacturer also has a huge economic impact as they can reduce the buffer of finished goods inventory, all the associated cost line items and the expedited shipment costs.
In this blog we have seen how CEBT really drives tangible business value to a customer using the lens of a process flow.
I wanted to end this blog with a reminder – Please do remember to attend the webcast
“Reinventing the Way You Collaborate and Communicate
Improving Business Operations with Telepresence”
When: July 14, 2009
Time: 8 a.m. Pacific Time/11 a.m. Eastern Time
Register now to attend this webcast. Telepresence is a very effective collaboration tool that can help transform your business process and business environment.