Archive for the ‘Process Improvement’ Category

Online Shipping; The Pain it Shouldn’t Be!

April 26, 2010 1 comment

Last Saturday I was trying to print a simple postage label for a package I wanted to ship.  All I wanted was a shipping label.  I thought it would take me five minutes at, but it turns out a pot-roast cooks in less time that it takes to print a shipping label!  After using their sites, I have come to the conclusion that the United States Postal Service (USPS) and United Parcel Service (UPS) go through very little, if any, user acceptance testing.  FedEx isn’t much better; I did get a label in 10 minutes, but their rates are significantly higher than I was willing to pay.  Here are the pains I felt while navigating though the websites of the three major United States shippers.

Read more…

Reviewing Content Before Publishing

March 4, 2010 Leave a comment

While navigating my way around the Internet, I come across glaring errors all the time; calculation errors, typos, horrible formatting, etcetera.  Errors are more common that I could imagine.  These errors dilute my trust in a company’s brand and make me think twice before doing business with them.  It is so incredibly vital to review everything before publishing content to the Internet; you never know who could be looking at it.  Below are two examples.

Example 1: The Grocery Game

The Grocery Game is a service that informs their customers on how to combine coupons and promotions, at a variety of grocery stores, in order to get the best deal possible.  They distribute updates on a weekly basis to paying customers.  Here is a screen shot from an E-mail they recently sent me encouraging me to sign up.

Since when does $2 divided by 3 equal $0.55?  I would think their E-mail marketing would go through a more vigorous editorial review then their product.  If their marketing is inaccurate, how accurate is their service I would pay for? Or if this is a screen shot of the actual service, I now know that I would be paying for something that was not correct.  After seeing this, I could never trust the company.

Read more…

The Cost of Promotional Sales

February 4, 2010 1 comment

Grocery retailers frequently use promotional sales to lure customers into stores.  Retailers hope customers will purchase higher margin products while they shop for the promoted items.  Chicago grocers Jewel-Osco, subsidiary of SUPERVALU, and Dominick’s, subsidiary of Safeway, both follow use this marketing strategy, changing promotions twice a week.  The promotional sales may increase customer traffic, but they may also lead to the demise of the store.  I suspect, retailers that use promotional sales, on every day products sold year round, increase the cost of doing business and decrease supply chain efficiency.

Used by many grocers, promotional sales are the activities, materials, devices, and techniques used in the advertising and marketing of products.  I separated their cost into two different categories; direct costs and indirect costs.  I see the money spent on the processes and material to implement the promotional sale as direct costs, and the money lost due of the effects of the promotional sales are considered indirect costs.  From my point of view, both of these costs are significantly high, high enough to possibly outweigh any benefit of the promotional sales.  If I were managing a retail grocery operation, these are the items I would consider when deciding whether or not to continue utilizing promotional sales.

Read more…

Norton’s $140 Free Support

January 8, 2010 5 comments

One of my client’s computers recently got infected by several viruses.  She attempted to solve the problem by installing Norton Antivirus 2010.  After the instillation, her computer would not allow her to logon, so she gave me a call.  After doing some research, being unable to solve the problem, which was likely caused by the instillation of Norton Antivirus, I called Norton to receive the “Free Support” that came with the software.   The phone support reminded me of my recent post on foreign call centers; Norton’s support was unbelievable and unacceptable.  Explaining my interactions with Norton’s support team will illustrate how Norton’s “low cost” foreign call centers destroy consumer trust, damage Norton’s brand, and ultimately reduced the company’s profitability.

Before I elaborate on Norton’s phone support, I want to point you to how I solved the problem.  You can see the solution on how to fix a logon logoff loop on a previous post of mine.

Read more…

A Visit to Best Buy

December 8, 2009 Leave a comment

A recent trip to Best Buy encouraged me to Tweet about a slow line and unhappy employee.  After my Tweet, a concerned Best Buy employee responded and asked me to elaborate on the problems I was having.  I decided to write him an e-mail.

Read more…

Foreign Call Center’s Inherently High Cost

September 26, 2009 3 comments
Call Center

© H3C Technologies Co., Limited

Last month, I spent a significant amount of time talking with representatives at two different RCN call centers; one in the Philippines, and one in the United States.  I was trying to get their new invalid URL request hijacking service, also known as PoxFire, removed from my account.  The situation spurred me to analyze why call centers are located in foreign countries.  I also wanted to review the factors that should be considered when making the decision to export a domestic call center.  After coming up with a structure that can be used to determine if a call center could successfully be exported, I applied my theory to RCN’s business model.  Finally, I determined if my interactions with RCN supported my theory.

Read more…