Customer confidence is highly related to the way you translate delivery issues and the story behind.
Whenever you are required to explain late deliveries, specially at true escalation situations, don’t look for an escape but calmly and factually understand the root cause(s).
At times … the supplier can be the root cause because of unforeseen events. In other occasions, like market upturns or a significant increase of market (share), delivery issues may be fully related to significant demand increases that can not reasonably be fulfilled.
So keep a few of these things in mind and when analysing things, look at the following :
- So the delivery was late … but late to what ? To the customer desired date … to the supplier committed date ?
- What is the lead-time and max quantities understood by both parties ?
- When did the customer order ?
- What were the requested delivery dates and quantities ?
- Were these in line with agreed lead-time and max quantities ?
- Fully independent of the above, what have we confirmed ?
- What were the committed dates and quantities looking at ALL orders for the product in question ?
- Have we fulfilled those as promised … did we fail or go above the committments.
- The total picture must be analysed and presented … late delivery may occur on a specific line(s) but a better than committed overall picture may be the real situation.
- Even if you may not be at fault, the ultimate satisfaction is when customer and supplier agree on that happened and align expectations to whatever is feasible.
- Early warning to customers is a key element … always make sure to perform a weekly confirmation of supply outlook and get customer confirm understanding !
Bottom line … NEVER surprise a customer with late delivery without a timely heads-up
An absolute minimum is 2 weeks before going late !