Original Date: 07/08/2003
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : On-Line Part Status
In Tolerance implemented an innovative web-based On-Line Part Status system designed solely for its customers to track the progress of their parts from the time the order is placed to delivery, thus improving customer satisfaction and dramatically reducing telephone inquiries and follow-ups.
In Tolerance’s On-Line Part Status system is a web-based tracking system designed solely for its customers to track the progress of their parts from the time the order is placed to delivery. With more than 400 open orders at any time and dozens of customers, responding to inquiries is a required part of doing business. Although In Tolerance had an on-time delivery record of 99%, customers consistently inquired on the status of their orders by calling during the week and even on weekends. Four people responded immediately to every phone call by accessing information directly from the company’s Automated Quotation and Inventory Scheduling System (AQUISS) plant manager database. It was considered an important part of excellent customer service and proved to be well worth the effort.
However, In Tolerance is always looking for innovative ways to improve its customer service and processes. The company decided to give its customers the ability to review their own parts status information, which is compiled in Microsoft Access from the AQUISS plant manager database and can be accessed via the Internet. In 2001, In Tolerance implemented the On-Line Part Status system which allows the customer to log-on to In Tolerance’s Website (www.in-tolerance.com), then click on the Customer Log-in icon. The customer then enters a name and password, which is assigned by In Tolerance. Queries can be performed by part number or purchase order number. The customer can then check on the status of the order and also query inventory quantities of other parts. The compiled data is located on In Tolerance’s host server where information is updated every four hours, seven days a week.
The On-Line Part Status system is easy to use and secure, and customers can access information at any time. Telephone inquiries are still accepted but have been reduced dramatically resulting in a 20- hour per week savings; weekend calls have been completely eliminated. Companies outside of the Iowa area have shown interest in the On- Line Part Status system, which is resulting in new business.
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