What do customers look for on their order acknowledgement? If they are going to pay what they expected for the product and if the product will be delivered when they need it. Even though the promised date is one of the most important fields on an order acknowledgement, many industrial distributors let the ERP systems populate this date for them based on the required date.
The required date is the date the customer is looking for the item, but this date can be difficult, if not impossible to meet, based on unrealistic expectations or a slow supply chain. Unfortunately the supply chain has been greatly affected this past year and recovery is slower than we would all like to see.
The Importance of the Promise Date
It is important to set the promised date to the date your customer can actually expect the order, instead of the date they think the order will be ready, for two main reasons. One, this date drives analytics for how well you are meeting the customers expectations. If your actual delivery date is 2 weeks past the expected date, you will always show as late, even if it’s the date you expected to ship it.
The second reason, and more important reason, is that the date is making a promise to the customer. We all have our mission statements that promise XYZ to the customer, but your order confirmation is making a new promise every time you send it to a customer. And these are the promises your customer pays attention to - let’s face it, not many customers know our mission statements.
By not updating the promised date, you are in effect not being honest with the customer on what you can deliver. Not meeting their required date can be frustrating to a customer, but having to constantly follow-up on delivery or not trusting the delivery date can be deal breakers for customers. More and more customers are using supplier scorecards and delivery metrics, which give them an easy excuse to go to your competitor and never look back.
Line Date vs. Order Date
With TrulinX by Tribute, you have the ability to offer your customer full visibility to the delivery date of each line item. The main quote screen provides a date for the entire order and will automatically fill in the values on each line. But not all parts are equal and some come with long lead times. This allows you to show your customer that some items can be shipped as a partial order so they start receiving parts before the order promised date arrives.
Line promise dates are also great for quoting purposes. A customer will likely not know that one item is in stock, but another item 8 weeks out. By updating the line delivery dates, they may want to place multiple orders or accept partial shipments.
The popular saying “garbage in, garbage out” applies well to reporting and analytics. If you input bad data, it is impossible to get accurate data out. Many companies have made the mistake of not changing how they use promise dates and instead find other factors to “fix” in order to meet customer expectations. These fixes can be time consuming and sometimes meaningless to the customer. Management then continues to get frustrated when they run on-time delivery reports or view analytic dashboards.
Make your metrics more meaningful and accurate by properly utilizing the promise date and required date on both the order and line level. You’ll be more trustworthy with your customers and have better metrics to back up your delivery success rates with the customer.
This guest post was provided by Taryn Stoeger, Sales & Marketing Manager of Rubber Tree Systems. Taryn grew up in the world of fluid power and was a TrulinX user for 10 years at K.R. West Company in Wisconsin. Taryn's interest in technology and experience working with the team brought her to Tribute best in class partner, Rubber Tree Systems, in January 2021.
About Rubber Tree Systems
Rubber Tree Systems offers software to mobilize TrulinX and Tribute ERP systems to get the most out of your data. Often referred to as TrulinX Mobile, our MobileSales and management dashboards display your TrulinX or Tribute data on any device with an internet connection. Our dashboards help you stay up to date on a vast number of metrics including on-time delivery. To learn how Rubber Tree can help your company, visit the Rubber Tree Website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.