1) What Is Continuous Improvement?
Continuous or continual improvement is implemented by organizations keen on bettering its online and offline operations. It is executed when there is a possibility of achieving more desirable outcomes through streamlined workflows.
An ongoing activity, continuous improvement facilitates efficient processing of operations while saving money, resources and time. eCommerce businesses implement this long-term approach in order to improve a product, service, or process.
In order to embed the culture of continuous improvement in your workplace, it is crucial to adopt strategies that suit your eCommerce business. The entire organization- all employees and major stakeholders in your business, must be involved in executing this methodology.
2) How To Fix Your Product Returns Problem With Continuous Improvement?
It would help if you utilized every team member's strength in implementing continuous improvement modifications. With rote repetition of processing techniques, the wheels of continuous improvement are greased and move smoothly.
In time, adapting to the new changes becomes second nature. And the mindset of continuous improvement becomes embedded in your organization.
2.1) Objective - Ground Work
Inspect the various elements of your current eCommerce returns operations. Begin by identifying any wasted opportunities you would like to seize, concerns, and issues you can correct. Choose and enable a team to oversee the areas that require improvements.
Generate a chart with up-to-date performance data for your team's reference. Draw up a new process map outlining the stages and details necessary to set the corrective measures in motion.
2.2) Choose - Ideate
Study your list of shippers, solutions providers, and vendors involved in your product returns management operations. Identify what the eCommerce returns process is missing and what it needs in order to achieve an ideal outcome. Study where most of the waste is generated in terms of material, time, and cost.
This will help you map out modifications and corrective measures to improve your eCommerce returns process. By designing several alternatives or adjustments to the workflow, you will have generated a list of possible options.
2.3) Establish - Elaborate
Study the list of potential modifications to your current workflow. Deliberate solutions to any loose ends or consider if anything can be improved. Decide what performance goals in your returns process is a priority.
By allowing the selected criteria to take the lead, choose a workflow that will yield the expected outcome. Work on the technical details of implementing the desired modifications in your operations.
2.4) Develop - Implement
Map an action plan to actualize the selected modifications to your organization's eCommerce returns management operations. Create and document metrics charts that will allow you to gauge the efficacy of your design.
Run a test of the modifications in your product returns process. Ensure to document all generated data in order to analyze the changes. With your action plan as a guide, enforce the corrective measures across the entirety of your returns operations.
2.5) Measure - Analyze
Collect and study all numbers related to your eCommerce returns operations. Consider whether the progress from the revamped operations aligns with the predicted data recorded in the action plan. Check if the results measure up to the level of perfection you desired to witness in your returns workflow.
Discuss and determine if any modifications are required to address or solve any issues. Continue to repeat this cycle to identify and correct problems and discover new opportunities for betterment.
3) How Do eCommerce Returns Operations Benefit From Continuous Improvement?
Continuous improvement has limitless possibilities for businesses that strive for perfection in their returns operations. Optimizing your product returns workflow helps it function better and yield more desirable results.
This methodology is often sought when businesses seek better efficacy and cost improvements in their operations. However, its impact can also be seen in customer loyalty and satisfaction levels.
No matter the area of implementation, continuous improvement has an array of benefits.
3.1) Less Waste
By enforcing continuous improvement, you can save time, money, and resource by eliminating wasteful or waste-generating processes.
3.2) Enhanced Efficiency
Choosing the best possible solutions will enable you to achieve high standards in your eCommerce returns operations and witness increased efficiency.
3.3) Improved Customer Happiness
Implementing an optimized eCommerce returns workflow helps you speed up your processing and response time leading to happy customers.
3.4) Decreased Expenses
Since improvement of product returns processing also impacts inventory and stock, you will have to cut down on expenses related to surplus purchases.
3.5) Organizational Learning
A continuous improvement is a holistic approach with the involvement of all departments, which opens the door to sharing of knowledge.
3.6) Better Service
Enhancing your returns workflow will reflect in premium service quality and product curation.
3.7) Avoid Customer Churn
Using the continuous improvement in your eCommerce returns will create better time to value and reduce customer loss.
3.8) Improved Engagement
This strategy is proven to improve workplace culture and environment as well as actively increase employee engagement.
4) Key Challenges When Implementing Continuous Improvement In Your Product Returns
The steps for establishing this methodology as a part of your returns operations are pretty straightforward. However, there are challenges associated with implementing continuous improvements.
4.1) Absent Resources And Commitment
Maybe it's the fact that tiny little seeds can yield bountiful harvests, but businesses often get excited when it comes to continuous improvement. Leaders are bound to gather their workforce and ask everyone for their suggestions. After all, there is no such thing as a small idea, only bad execution.
But once everyone is reared up and ready to go, it might dawn on them that these ideas involve a lot of work. Maybe they don't have the resources to realize them.
Unless these suggestions or ideas are put into action, there will be no change in the operations. And in order to execute continuous improvement, it is imperative that the entire organization is involved and committed. This includes the management.
Double check and ensure that all necessary resources are available to set the wheels in motion. Whether it is just your eCommerce returns operations or various processes in your organization, the principles for application remain the same.
4.2) Unclear Responsibilities
When the roles of the workforce are unclear, it is hard to actualize the modifications. Situations may often arise due to improper allocation of duties. This is when the staff involved may not be aware of their own responsibilities.
This lack of accountability will lead to the dissipation of ideas and enthusiasm. With no change in how things are run, employees can often become frustrated by the lack of improvement.
Begin this journey with a clear understanding of the initiative and allocation of responsibilities. There may be various ideas and strategies involved. But ensure that an individual spearheads an aspect of each task.
An apparent division in roles should also be accompanied by open communication. A team or individual could also manage this small community to ensure everyone is sticking to their lanes.
4.3) Slow Cycle
In many organizations, the cycle from suggestion to implementation can be prolonged. This could result from several factors, including bureaucratic delays and red tapes. And only once the first set of changes have been implemented can they be improved upon.
In an ideal situation, several types of modifications may be parallelly executed, observed, and improved in small test batches. By engaging various teams to oversee these tasks, you can quickly decide the best possible choice from the recorded outcomes.
It is also important to remember that modifications can be analyzed only after they have been operating for a relatively significant duration. Analysis of data derived from these modified workflows can show where the processes have been optimized and areas that can be improved.
This scenario is possible only if the time from ideation to execution is quick. Any delay in implementation and correction speed when using continuous improvement can lead to unsatisfactory results. Unless bottlenecks can be quickly addressed, any issue that may crop up can cripple your eCommerce returns operations.
4.4) Not Including All Employees In The Process
The best idea for revamping your returns operations through continuous improvement may come from anywhere in your organization. You may decide to hold a closed-door meeting with the top dogs. This will cause you to lose out on that one idea that may help you save a ton of time and money.
Employees with the best ideas are often involved in the process or at the frontlines of your business. Especially considering that they interact every day with the customer or are an integral part of your eCommerce returns operations.
With all the ease modern technologies offer us, there is no reason to exclude anyone from this meeting. You also communicate your respect for their expertise and valuable insight by engaging all employees. This will help you nurture better employee engagement and a proactive culture in the workplace.
5) How Can ClickPost Help Your Business With Continuous Improvement
Several tools are available to use when implementing continuous improvement in your returns. Automation is an excellent example of how you can apply modern technology to speed up workflows hindered by manual processing.
ClickPost is a great tool that will allow you to reduce the wasted time, resources and money spent in your returns operations. This ai-driven software does this by reducing the need for a manual workforce and mitigating human errors.
ClickPost is a returns management software utilized by leaders of the automotive, cosmetic, edtech, electronic, home & fashion, banking, food and beverage, health, and pharma industry. It alleviates several pain points of managing returns and contributes to better customer satisfaction through the use of automation.
ClickPost follows rule-based processing of macro and micro-operations. For example, it uses this methodology to run through the entire returns workflow as well as any selection criteria within a particular stage in the returns operations.
ClickPost is renowned for removing the hassle of returns. Its automated allocation of shipping partners based on available data and previous experience is a time-saver. It also auto solves any hurdles during pick up or delivery of shipments and is perfect for guaranteeing successful milestones through the entirety of transit operations.
Continuous improvement helps you save on time, money, and resource. However, it also demands time, money and resource to implement and perfect. Consider all the key challenges that are often faced by organizations and lead to implementation failure before you begin.
Once you embark on this journey, you are on your way to removing one of the biggest hurdles any business faces- product returns. Product returns impact all aspects of your business and is one area that will benefit from the use of continuous improvement.
1) What is a continuous improvement plan?
It is a set of steps with details describing the usage of tools and techniques to bring about improvement. Continuous improvement plans can be applied to a product, process, or service. This strategy is constantly improved through analyzing data, deliberating modifications, and enforcing corrective courses of action.
2) Who is responsible for continuous improvement?
Every single employee of the organization is responsible for continuous improvement.
3) What is the goal of continuous improvement?
Through the use of this methodology, businesses hope to cut down on waste by streamlining workflows. Waste in this instance refers to unproductive or misused time, money and resources. By achieving optimized workflows, businesses can better the quality of service or products.