Improving Customer Communication
APICS Pikes Peak serves Colorado Springs and Southern Colorado’s supply chain and operations management professionals with programs providing:
- Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
- Certified Supply Chain Profession (CSCP)
- Training in supply chain & operations management
- Leadership development for volunteers
- Professional development events, such as plant tours, speakers, and networking opportunities
“The new process makes the creation of shared documents such as newsletters and event notices much more efficient. We can review and modify documents between the group and know that everyone is looking at the latest revision since it resides on a shared repository.” – Gary Gammell, Director of APICS Programs
- The process of communicating with customers was not clearly defined and highly variable in time, format, and information provided. This communication included newsletters, professional development meeting (PDM) announcements, and educational opportunity notices.
- There was minimal coordination between functions. The newsletter and the educational notifications used two separate email lists. Customers who wished to be added to the mailing lists or to opt-out had to notify both functions.
- There was waste throughout the process, including overproduction, waiting, rework, and defects.
- The Board of Directors recognized the issues and the need for effective and efficient processes. President Don Simpson accepted the challenge to improve this process and enrolled in the Certified Lean Master program to apply lean concepts and best practices to improve this value stream.
Leveraging the Certified Lean Master course to structure the improvement project, Don created a current state value stream map and identified opportunities for improvement. After studying the best practices of similar organizations, Don discovered Constant Contact, a website to help effectively manage and combine each mailing list.
Don then created a future state value stream map and a gap analysis to identify the opportunities for improvement. The Board of Directors approved the improvement plan of Constant Contact and provided executive leadership to support the project in terms of time and expenses.
A key factor in the process was full support and engagement of the Board of Directors.
The new communication process standardizes communication methods by using a popular technical solution, Constant Contact. This e-mail marketing solution provides a single database of contact information with built-in tools to manage new contacts and opt-out options. Additionally, this program offers easy management of all social media outlets.
Board Members were trained and now all use the same tools, eliminating the wasted time and rework of separate mailing lists. The flow of information is more concise and well-defined, resulting in more effective use of the limited time of the volunteers while simultaneously improving customer service.