Careful data management is becoming increasingly important in terms of a company’s opportunities for success on the market.
The data must be available, accessible and most importantly validated, in order to gain value for your business and improve customer service.
The level of customer service is heavily influenced by good coordination between the departments of your company, from front to back office, with cross-sector processes which ensure that customers’ data is correctly exchanged between departments, and vice versa.
The basis of any good organisation is the evolved use of internal and external data. This is what we try to achieve in our business as well.
Evolved data usage means you can match your offer of products and services to your customers’ requirements, in order to improve their purchasing experience.
For structured data management to be able to guide your company’s operations effectively, you need technologies which are designed to process the data you collect. But you also need processes which can utilise the data correctly within your organisation.
To achieve an evolved management of data, it’s essential to understand the results you want to obtain, and select the right data set to analyse, paying particular attention to where the source of the data comes from, how it was gathered, and what it means exactly.
This information is the key to validating the reliability of your data, so you can shape the process of improving customer service accordingly.
The order management process
A strategic part of managing data in customer relations is the order management process.
This has to be regularly monitored in terms of two key indicators, which are:
- meeting the agreed delivery date;
- non-conformity percentages;
Customer satisfaction performance data is essential. It involves all the above indicators.
These indicators need to be carefully analysed to understand the causes of any non-conformities or delays.
In our experience, the most important way of preventing complaints is to properly define a set of technical specifications that define a sales order.
This set of specifications has to define, very carefully, at least the following data:
The correct designation of the material, with particular attention paid to defining the requested quality grade (including the chemical/mechanical characteristics if necessary), the zinc coating, coated materials, the exact surface aspect requested by the customer, and the protective treatment (passivation or oiling, and so on).
It’s very important that the customer’s item code is linked unequivocally to the designation of the material according to UNI EN, in order to define the ordered material according to the accepted standard.
This designation should be identified together with the customer, by investigating the uses the material will be subjected to, and checking whether the following processes will be involved:
- hot dip galvanisation or painting;
- moulding or profiling;
- other processes that could affect the suitability of the material.
The geometric and dimensional tolerances must also be clarified very carefully.
You also need to check whether any control documents or documents of preferential origin are required, whether you need to comply with specific standards or directives (such as the RoHS directive for items used in the electrical or electronics industries), or whether there are dedicated supply specifications. In this last case, the analysis needs to be done before the order is issued.
Finally, any restrictions on logistics should be defined:
- the type of packaging, which depends on the type of transport and storage conditions;
- the maximum or minimum weights of the batches and boxes;
- specifically for reels, the maximum and minimum batch diameters;
- any requirements for the loading of vehicles (for example the minimum distance between consecutive boxes, unloading method etc).
It’s worth remembering that whatever the expected characteristics not expressly stated in the order, these characteristics will follow the rules and limits defined by the applicable product standard, and there is a risk of creating supply conditions that do not conform to expectations.
This means it’s very important to devote the necessary attention to scrupulously managing the data relating to an order for steel strips, plates or sheets.
Precision and accuracy when sharing data
The delivery dates need to be reliable. This means they need to be defined on the basis of the verified workload on the cutting lines, and the available production capacity. This is essential if you want to achieve a prompt punctuality record.
The successful management of an order requires that the set of collected data can be correctly transferred to the various departments involved: planning, production and logistics, and the progress of the order needs to be monitored constantly, so the customer can be kept informed at all times.
Essential factors in the proper management of an order include accurately gathering the data needed to precisely, unequivocally define the position of a sales order, managing the data set to be transferred to trained personnel who will each manage the data within their area of expertise, and the way in which all the details are shared with a customer.
For all these reasons, data management should be dealt with very carefully (as regards its acquisition, logging and distribution within the organisation. To manage an order correctly, the analysis of the specific requirements should be brought forward, before the order is placed, particularly when new articles or new requirements have been introduced.
At the end of the day this will save time and limit the possibility of error, and so it lays the foundations for obtaining and consolidating adequate customer satisfaction.
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SANGOI s.p.a. pays particular attention to all aspects of managing the details of an order, and this forms the basis of good customer service.
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