Like any B2B business, the water heater and refrigeration business is always on a short fuse. When equipment begins to malfunction, organizations become impatient as any malfunction has a deep impact on their operations and customer satisfaction. For a leading US-based manufacturer of commercial heating and refrigeration products, this posed a peculiar problem. Their equipment is used by large retail stores for dairy, poultry, medicines and other perishables. When new stores are being set up, things can go wrong: A compressor starts malfunctioning, a condenser or an evaporator doesn’t display the characteristics it is supposed to, pressure within systems fluctuates, steam, hydrocarbon oils and glycols could leak out of pipes…anything could go wrong. Large retailers with their high-priority projects do not have the luxury of time and need these glitches fixed within a few hours. An anomaly could be detected in the evening and the fix must be applied by morning. The short response times can create chaos in spare part acquisition, planning and logistics. And with many such requests – popularly called “hot orders” -- coming from across geos, the manual paperwork can quickly pile up. Orders can get lost or misplaced and, in unfortunate situations, even forgotten. The manufacturer needed to ensure they had a system that could flawlessly take care of hot orders, without a single one falling through the cracks.
Wipro leveraged “Lean” principles and implemented a simple but highly visible solution to mitigate the problem: a large electronic dashboard showing all hot orders, visible to everyone in the shipping area of the plant. All orders are entered into the system (instead of a sheet of paper) and they show up on the dashboard. The dashboard shows critical pieces of information like the quantity of a piece of equipment or component, inventory availability and the urgency of the request. The relevant team knows what actions are to be taken and updates the progress on the system, enabling other teams to know exactly what they need to do. Any obstacles are quickly highlighted thus triggering mitigation steps in minimum time.
The dynamic hot order tracker has replaced the traditional paper-based system and teams have now stopped pushing paper “over the wall” from one department to another. Customer requests are not lost, teams can plan better, shipping can be ready for each subsequent event and customer service representatives can provide highly accurate (and immediate) information to customers. They don’t need to depend on paperwork to acquire a picture of the status of hot orders—it is clearly visible to them.
Wipro has implemented this dynamic hot order dashboard for a leading manufacturer in the US. Mexico and Canada operations are in the pipeline for implementation.