SRM781 - Strategic Advice on Supplier Management

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Question

Supplier Management

Range out the problems that FunPrints faced ranging from delivery issues, vendor management problems to bad customer service. What kind of effects it had to the operation of FunPrints.
Also, talk about the change in the communication channel that created a lot of problems. Discuss in brief about the problems that starting emerging with the vendors which led to the customers being unhappy.

Solution

Introduction

Problems at FunPrints

The initial few years were marked with a few challenges into supplier management; however, they seemed to have taken off pretty well. In the very first year, they fulfilled close to 1500 orders in and around the HQs. Though the first few orders were made by their acquaintances, slowly the word spread and they came to be known as the one-stop destination for designing and printing T-Shirts. Usually, it was the customers who called up and booked an appointment, representatives used to visit the client premises, get the T-Shirt designs, order specifications, a small amount of token payment as an advance. In many cases, the clients were clueless about how to go about designing their T-Shirts, wherein the designers stepped in, understood the concept, designed a few samples for the client, all for a nominal fee. When the client chose a design it was then sent in for printing.
As time passed, the popularity of FunPrints grew manifold. The number of orders increased phenomenally to 15,000 as of 2013. FunPrints had to hire a lot more designers and staff, for carrying out smooth operations. However, soon after that problem started emerging, ranging from delivery issues, vendor management problems to bad customer service. The representatives usually got the orders via phone, and designs via emails.

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Use of Digital Technology to enhance Supply Chain

The methods to eliminate the problems currently plaguing FunPrints can be summarised in the below-mentioned steps:

Client Communication Interface: The very first and foremost problem faced by FunPrints is the process of order taking. One of the best ways to eliminate such an issue would be to develop a client communication interface, which would act as the primary medium for communication besides the use of telephone and emails. This interface will have the capabilities of ordering, providing detailed information regarding the cloth varieties available (colour, type, texture, design) etc (Donnell, 2012, p. 906-919). In situations wherein, the choices are unavailable on the site, the customer could upload his/her designs, and preferences. If the customer requires a customised design to be made by FunPrints, he/she could specify the same on the site, after which company representatives could get in touch with them.
The aim here is proper order finalisation process, and this can be implemented by formalisation at the very basic level, the customer, if he/she wants, may get to seek samples, for his/her satisfaction. Once the order is locked (finalised), no changes would be allowed, and the final delivery date would be given after the order is finalised.

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