“Once the client and design firm realized we could provide everything they needed to keep the design in tact down to the very last details and do it all with one family of brands instead of 50, saving them time and money, their decision was clear,” says Ken Beaver, president and CEO, McCoy-Rockford.
Because it all would come from Steelcase, everything would ship together. It would arrive at the same time, be color coded by floor and go directly from the truck to where it would live. The calculated savings in time and money rang in at about $1 million.
“We know choice is key in creating inspiring, informal spaces where people want to work,” says Shapland. “But, that shouldn’t mean you have to pay more or spend more time tracking down details and logistics.”
Behind-the-Scenes of Simple
What sounds simple has taken years of work behind-the-scenes.
“It starts with an infrastructure that allows our dealers to order and schedule partner products just like they do Steelcase products,” says Brad Vernier, vice president, Steelcase global order fulfillment. “Before launching a new partner, teams are busy working with the partner to collect product data so that order entry functions correctly, dealers receive their order acknowledgments and everything else that they expect.”
Before any orders are entered, there needs to be a way to capture key data from all of the partners and their products. They need packaging information, dimensions and weight in addition to pick-up and delivery information. They also need site information like is there a loading dock and equipment available? Each piece of data is crucial.
“Every single partner has a project manager that’s asking the right questions to find any gaps that might exist in the logistics and fill them. It’s those small gaps that keep us up at night.”
JILL BOUNDS | Steelcase Lean-Quality Manager
The operations team has daily meetings before launch. Then, weekly check-ins and monthly reviews. They address anything they didn’t anticipate and continue to monitor and learn throughout the early phases of ordering.
“We learn and test with small shipments to our facilities before launching to all our customers, so we know we’re ready to deliver,” said Bounds.
Following order entry, scheduling and data collection, there’s logistics planning. More than a century of experience allows operations teams to track weather, traffic, webcams, social media and news events to identify, predict and solve problems before they happen. Regional distribution centers allow teams to adjust so customers don’t have to. They manage 3,000 customer deliveries weekly and 150,000 products daily to 78,000 customers around the world. They do it with a near-perfect complete shipment rate of 99.93 percent.
Once the customer has what they need, the team isn’t done. They coordinate any warranty or after sale claims. Different partners have different agreements. But, the Steelcase team makes sure it’s easy to know who to call and how to resolve any questions.
Creating something simple is not easy. But, when the goal is to help people have a better day at work, it’s essential because design and delivery go hand-in-hand.