Auto Parts: Get in the Home
Shopping malls continue to close their doors as we order more of everything with free Prime two-day shipping. Fifteen years ago, when conducting any level of car maintenance, you could pop over to the closest auto parts retailer for advice, buy the part, and often get free assistance from a very helpful staff member. Today, out of sheer convenience, you can pop on YouTube to learn anything about cars, order parts online, and go about your business without leaving your driveway.
This company, as a leader in the auto parts market, decided not to wait until they had one foot in the retail grave to give customers faster access to car parts, instead deciding to offer free next-day delivery.
The next-day delivery solution tracks and leverages local store inventories: addressing a growing convenience demand without cannibalizing store sales. The project, piloted in over thirty locations around the U.S., also provides the organization with market visibility. They can determine what items are best suited for delivery within individual markets, equipping them with a more refined inventory management system.
Next-Day Delivery & FedEx System Integration
The key to next-day delivery is localization. The auto parts retailer required information from FedEx systems to determine which FedEx ramps could deliver next-day packages to which US zip codes. That information would be stored within the auto part retailer’s databases and help them determine how to manage local inventories based on customer demand.
The project involved inventory management planning, IT development, and, of course, major system integrations.
AgileThought, as a long-time IT partner, was trusted with integrating the customer point of sale (POS) system with FedEx. The team developed Talend integrations which were responsible for transferring information from a FedEx FTP server to the auto parts retailer’s tables in real time.
Why Vendor Experience & Adaptability Matter
This company had to divert a large portion of internal resources to another project. They needed an experienced vendor team who could take on multiple project fronts; most notably for project management, and system integration.
AgileThought was the go-to-choice as the vendor that had knowledge of their systems and could figure out how to progress with minimal oversight. The customer IT manager and PM already had experience working with AgileThought, and new system areas were confidently handed over. They knew that whoever was put on the project would quickly get up to speed and provide the deliverables within the scope and timeline required.
The AgileThought team learned new system components and analyzed the new code within one week. The new application shared architecture with past projects the team had built.
The team knew how the code was structured, how it was architected, and where to insert new code.
Transparency, Transparency, Transparency
You might not address every project detail when drafting the SOW. With AgileThought, it’s never a case of “we’ll do the work and bill you later.” In many cases, AgileThought will amend the SOW (instead of just nodding along) because a customer might not include QA, UAT support, or go-live support.
AgileThought had multiple meetings with the client and were following a SCRUM methodology. The team, at one point, saw that there were additional JIRA tickets outside the project scope, and immediately notified the customer PM of the situation, who extended the SOW.
The auto parts retail customer was happy to include such changes. Other transparency measures included weekly status updates and zero overages.
Does Your IT Vendor Support Core Lines of Business (Or Are They Just Another Body Shop)?
It’s common practice for AgileThought teams as they work on a project with a new customer to learn the business, systems, tools, and company culture so that – when they need to step in at another area – they can do so without delay. The team, already familiar with this customer’s line of business, did not require additional training or certifications that would otherwise increase project lag time.
While the auto parts retailer prefers their most knowledgeable vendors (in terms of experience with their specific systems) to lead projects, the sentiment is not unique. More CIOs are looking for problem-solvers to fill gaps as opposed to a “heads-on-sticks” approach, where a vendor throws resources at a project.
Delays and overages occur more when outsourced teams require hand-holding.
Vendor support will only grow as digital business lines continue to gain momentum. According to the 2018 “State of the CIO” Report by CIO.com.
The report also indicates that, while the most important role for IT in an organization involves IT-LOB alignment and navigating transformation, there is a clear divide when holding vendors to the same level of accountability. Only 6% of CIOs feel that vetting technology vendors is equally as important.
Get to Know Your Vendor Before Committing
It’s difficult, if not impossible to manage vendor culture, which is why vetting is so important. AgileThought tackles projects from a wider contextual approach, training teams to adapt to a customer’s culture and learn their business model.