Learning about Processes from a Speedpost Delivery

We were expecting an important document through speed post on April 29. When we tracked it on the Indian Post website in the morning, we got the information we were looking for.

This is what I found in the Indian Post’s website.

Detailed Track Events For ET306052945IN 


Time Office Event
29/04/2015 00:30:00 BNPL SP Hub ANNAROAD CHENNAI Item Booked
29/04/2015 02:52:19 BNPL SP Hub ANNAROAD CHENNAI Item bagged for Guindy Industrial Estate S.O
29/04/2015 05:09:02 BNPL SP Hub ANNAROAD CHENNAI Bag Despatched to Guindy Industrial Estate S.O
29/04/2015 08:25:05 Guindy Industrial Estate S.O Bag Received
29/04/2015 08:27:40 Guindy Industrial Estate S.O Bag Opened
29/04/2015 08:27:42 Guindy Industrial Estate S.O Item Received

I was very relieved and happy. Without any fanfare speed post provided the crucial information we were anxiously waiting for. And, it looked so simple. At 5.44 in the evening, the document was delivered at our office address.

Speed Post’s tracking system reminded me about a few important basics of doing business. I first showed it to Mathan and told him of its significance in our business. Then I called our customer service team and showed it to them as well. Finally, when Senthil, the housekeeping manager came to the office in the afternoon, I shared the information flow with him as well.

I know a thing or two about the courier business, having worked in one for more than a decade. Delivering a document alone is not enough. Customers need to be provided information about the movement of consignments when they require them.

A courier company’s success is measured by its ability to be a reliable custodian of every consignment from the time it is picked up till it is delivered. The company has to figure out an effective system to monitor the journey of every single document or parcel as they pass from one hand to another at the origin and at the destination. The tracking system is the predictable, process driven evolving story of the consignment till the climax of its delivery.

So, processes are very important for a courier company. Processes don’t amount to much if they are not monitored and documented. Processes which are monitored and documented are pretty useless if they are not shared – particularly with the biggest stakeholder – the customer.

What leaped out of the narration of our consignment’s journey in Speed Post’s tracking system are much needed lessons for Service Square.

Service with a heart, our tagline and a slogan, makes sense when there is a process to make that happen in every service. In the absence of precise systems and processes, there are good chances customers may skip a heartbeat or two when they avail our services.

Similarly, the values of our company – Quality, Commitment, Value for Money, Honesty and Timely Service – may remain pious words and a pipe-dream if our systems and procedures do not ensure their compliance.

Recently, in a major renovation work Service Square floundered in commitments made to customers. They were not amused at the compromises made by us with regard to time and commitment.  That we meant well and even repaired the damages by reworks were not enough to make good the loss of credibility and trust.

Putting trust in the goodness of our team members is important. It is more important when the trust is cemented by means of processes that withstand the test of time and nature of people. Reworks are of nuisance value to customers and our company. Customers suffer on account of the delay. We bleed on account of the dent in our credibility and loss of precious resources entailed in reworks.

I have a weakness for people who are good by nature – to the extent of even turning a blind eye to blemishes in their work. I end up lowering my and my company’s standards in the process. The compromises I make chip away at my resolve to work my way towards my goals. Drained of the strength of resolve, I hobble and flounder on my way.

What we are is more important than what we do. The mere enunciation of our beliefs and values does not suffice to convince the world of our strengths. What we are will become fleshed only when we live and stand by our beliefs and values.

My goal and that of Service Square is to be excellent in all we do.  Customers will be reassured only by the presence of systems and processes that will lend substance to our goodness. What matters in the end is how good we are at what we do.

Using information gathered through the funnel of our processes and experiences is critical to the growth of Service Square. For instance, in order to forge meaningful relationship with customers it is extremely important to capture information about them through our housekeeping and maintenance staff as they interact with our customers regularly.

When we learn to convert the bits of information into knowledge – that gives us insights on various aspects of our business – we make significant progress.

There is some work to do. To tie some lose ends in our systems and to make every member of our team accountable for excellence in all we do.  Our processes should capture the points of incompetence and excellence alike.

That day, the customer service people along with the housekeeping manager sat down with me to review the existing process involved in serving our customers. Then I wrote it down and shared it with the concerned staff.

I am learning and creating from that space.

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