I think another aspect is that with personal contacts, you can correspond between customer and suppplier on a higher level. For example, the integrated management system my company uses can send out automated e-mails to provide a customer with part numbers and quantities that shipped on a given day, along with tracking numbers. But it can't analyze situations where the shipmwent left the facility with a larger or smaller quantity than was expected, and provide a projection regarding when the remainder of the order would be completed.
@Eldredge, You said it. You can put your almost complete trust in human beings and your partial confidence in machines, Trust implies relationship and confidence implies capability. If you have trust for and confidence in the capability of the humans involved, then those capabilities will include overriding a machines limited responses in order to take in a wider scope of considerations. The machine is a subset of the human race. I have yet to see a machine create a human.
That's a typical case of a company thinking always only to serve one type of clients/customers instead of offering something to everyone. Before, the elderly were almost forgotten in that shop. Now, it seems like the ones like you, who prefer self-service were left aside. It would have been much better customer service to have a balance between self-service machines and humans to serve two kinds of customers.
Some managers don't seem to understand that is not necessarily a matter of chosing machines/technology or humans. It's a matter of balancing.
I do prefer self-service, too, most of the time, and also depending on what kind of situation it is.
At the end of the day, it is still the personal contact, and the elements of trust and confidence in a supplier to be able to deliver. That trust and confidence is placed in people, not technology. Perhaps that eventually will; change, but today it seems more prevalent than ever.
I like your assertion. I walked into a store 1 or 2 months back, the store installed Self- Service Machines about 16 in numbers of them and left with 3 or 2 persons at the Tills to provide humanly based services to customers/shoppers. You know what it means --- 16 machines providing services to shoppers, this however would have resulted in job loses at the process.
A visit to the same store 2 weeks ago, to my surprise and of course i was amazed to see that all the 16 machines had disappeared. As usual, i love the Self-Service Machines but unfortunately this time around i couldnt used them as they were no longer there. Asked a staff where are the machines, she responded --- OLDER PEOPLE DONT LIKE THE MACHINES, THEY COMPLAINED AND MANAGEMENT DECISION WAS TO REMOVE THEM ALL.
If machines have to work well --- technologists and designers have to dual -carriage research works of human involvement ( usability and users' attitudes) with that of engineering.
@Prabhakar, good point. Machine involvement in our homes has helped to improve our lives and reduce household activities. Like you said human involvement is still crucial. The question is how far can technology stretch its boundaries?
The other thing we lose in automation is judgment. Machines are not programmed to over-ride something that is outside their specs. There is still a lot of room for judgment in the supply chain, and yes, maybe exception management will eventually be automated. And yes, things can be analyzed and planned. But every day I come up against something that defies logic, programming and requires human intervention.
Just taking the example of our homes. How simple were they , say about 5 decades ago when all the food was home made by our women in the house and at the end of the day when men would return from work they would be greeted by their wives, mothers or sisters and be served a fresh cup of tea/coffee , piping hot soups and what not.
Over the decades the home food supply chain has undergone transformation. It is all those machines that have taken over - The Fridge, the microwave, the toaster , the juicer, the ready to cook dishes and what not. Women are no more at home when men arrive from work. Women sometimes arrive later.
So our home food supply chain is now in the hands of machines and we are not complaining! We now cook just for a change and not as a routine.
So we should also accept the M2M technologies that will make most of the electronic supply chain work tomorrow.
So let us , the people, concentrate more on other creative things , hitting the right buttons only to override some M2M actions, like the pilots do in an emergency landing.
Bolaji, you are right. Certain technologies are making the process little bit cumbersome, especially with top level employees/companies. Instead of doing the things simpler, offices are using technologies for making the process automate and systematic, but intern not in a friendly way to the common man. In similar situations, only personal contacts can help us to get through.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.