In Supply Chain, a perfect order needs to fulfill the following:
- Delivered complete
- Delivered on time
- Delivered at the right location
- Delivered in perfect condition
- Delivered with complete and accurate documentation
When all 5 are done correctly, it will increase customer satisfaction.
Regardless of what we resell, gift cards or products that we send to Amazon to be fulfilled by Amazon, we have no control over the first 4, but we all do our best in the 5th. It is completely frustrating that multimillion or multibillion dollar companies can’t get their ish together. Even if we can do all 5 99% accurate each time, then the probability for a perfect order would be .99*.99*.99*.99*.99 = 95.1% of the time.
99.9% Quality Statistics
One of the things about Six Sigma is that out of 1 million tries, you are looking at 3.4 defects. That is a really low number. As a percentage it is 99.99966%. So when you compare Six Sigma to 99.9% you could expect:
- Unsafe drinking water once per week
- No electricity for nearly one hour per month
- 500 wrong surgical procedures per week
- 2 short or long landings at most airports each week
- 20,000 wrong drug prescriptions per year
- 2,000 lost articles of mail per hour
Can you imagine any of that? No electricity for almost an hour a month? 500 wrong surgical procedures every week? When we sell, we have to make sure we keep the defects low because if it is wrong, then in the downstream it will affect the process negatively.
My Beef With Amazon
Amazon loses our packages, mislabel our products, or anything in between. As resellers, we are Amazon’s customer. However, Amazon’s end customer friendly policy is where they take a stand and hurts reseller. Their screw up, where my product was supposed to be gray was mislabeled as silver. It has caused a nightmare for me. My metrics as a seller has been dinged because the end customer wanted the silver, but received a gray. When the item was returned, it was labeled as unfulfillable product because the customer opened the box. My time trying to resolve before it became an issue has been wasted. All because someone in Amazon’s fulfillment center did not take the time to verify on the invoice what was submitted to what was received.
All the money that Amazon collects from us who use Fulfillment by Amazon on both sides of the supply chain, as a supplier and as the end customer can be amazed with these facts. Amazon cash conversion cycle is second to none. It is incredibly fascinating to see that Amazon receives cash from customers before they are required to pay their suppliers and the article on Bloomberg is a must read. Another interesting read about the cash conversion cycle can be found on Harvard Business Review. My current employer over the summer recently shifted to 60 days payable and anything shorter is on an exception basis.
If they are taking our money and holding it for a week or two, the very least they could do is get their act together at the fulfillment centers so we, Amazon team members in the FC and sellers, don’t have to chase around an endless and often brutal cycle of wasted time. With mess ups, it’s costing their bottom line due to the staffing.
My Beef With CardCash
This is going to sound like one giant rant, I am still chasing after CardCash to pay me from their screw up. Every time I work with them it has to be over a phone call, and despite repeated attempts, I can never get a solid email confirmation of what we discussed over the phone. After this holiday season and their promo, I am seriously reconsidering doing business with them when I sell cards. I still can’t believe some how they are the largest gift card exchange with Guggenheim providing some venture capital. The CardCash platform to sell cards is absolutely atrocious. I have been trying to use their system and play by their rules to upload electronic gift cards, but it will never let me. So I have to “upload” them as a physical card, then email the codes to my account manager. How secure is that? The infrastructure is completely bogus. Maybe we should all tweet to the CardCash board member Douglas Atkin and drum up some support to shake up the leadership or at least wake them up to fix the user experience. According to his LinkedIn profile, he sounds like a stand up guy who knows how to run a reliable business. In fact, I went through most of the leadership team and cross checked on LinkedIn what they posted and they sound like a good team, but the end product that they expect us to use is so crappy.
Buying cards with them is not a walk in the park. I’ve seen so many coupon promotions that have happened and I do not even bother with it. I wanted to, but the first couple of times were not worth it that I stopped participated. The Black Friday deal and various other 4% extra site wide deals I have stayed far away. There’s no point in trying because the coupons do not apply a percentage off, you can’t checkout with the coupon, or other reasons. What’s the point? I for one will not buy the gift card to email them to retroactively apply the discount. I have a pretty good idea of how they operate after selling all these cards with them, it will not be easy. For a regular sale, I will buy gift cards, but anything outside of that window I will give it a pass.
Here’s some homework for you the next time you are on the CardCash site. Observe with a Lean methodology mindset and look at these 8 things:
- Idle Time
- Over Production
- Over Processing
I already explained my annoyance in my review on all the clicks I need to do, that is over processing. Having too much inventory is not part of being lean, like having 250 Hyatt cards in stock (at the time of writing). You can count bad gift cards as defects because that adds extra work on you as a customer and on them when they have to refund you. I haven’t tried this yet, but I am sure they would do this as a waste on the transportation. You order 10 cards in one order and 10 cards in another transaction minutes from each other, they will mail you two packages. Instead, they could have combined into one order, but their IT systems likely couldn’t support it. After you observations and experiences, I’d love to know what you think.
If They Delivered
Without a doubt, if both companies delivered on the customer expectation, customer success will follow. Both have favorable end customer policies, but they don’t seem to see that if you don’t have a successful and happy supply chain, then the end customer will also have a bad experience.
I can totally understand Amazon making mistakes because of the sheer volume. Even with Six Sigma I could be one of the “lucky” ones that is part of the 3.4 defects per million. However, with CardCash it’s nearly impossible to be that “lucky.” I’d have better chances of winning the PowerBall.
I can deal with Amazon because the products that I sell literally fly off the shelves. Many of the things I mail in are already out the door after they are added into the system. CardCash leaves much to be desired.