Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 45 seconds

Cecil's Backroads

A couple weeks ago, I was cruising through a section of Central California on my way to a client's offices. Since I had a couple days on my hands, I took a route that bypassed the main highways. On my way, I stopped in for lunch at a local restaurant that I had been to before.

On my last visit, I had been particularly impressed by the owners and their desire to cater to their guests. However, at the same time, I was disappointed in the meat they used in their chili. It was tough and rubbery, but the seasonings almost made up for it. 

I mentioned my opinion to the owners, expecting to get some snide comment from them. After all, they knew I wasn't a regular, and that they were unlikely to see me, or even hear from me again. So what difference did my unsolicited opinion make to their lives? To their credit, they listened to me without becoming too offended, and I was not trying to berate them either.

As I recognized the place, I decided I would stop in and see if anything had changed... partly out of curiosity, but mostly because I was hungry.

I sat down at a table and ordered the house specialty, chili, from the waitress. A couple minutes later she brought it out to me and I eyed it carefully before taking my first mouthful. It looked different, and my taste confirmed that indeed, the spices were the same but the meat was a wonderful texture, and possibly worthy of another bowl. As I looked up toward the kitchen, I saw the owners peering around the door, smiling at me.

They walked over and asked if their changes had made any difference in my meal. Needless to say, I was caught off guard. It had been at least two years since I had been there last. Not only had they taken my suggestions to heart, but they remembered my face. Now THAT's customer service.

And it brings to mind something I noticed in the professional side of my life. Over the last several months, my cohort, Marlow has commented on the varying ways that retailers are sending orders for cross-docking. His last comments on this subject, as I recall, mentioned that Anna’s Linens was one of the companies set up so that the PO’s indicated the store Ship-To, however, the orders are really to be cross-docked through a consolidation point.

That means that in reality, the Ship-To on the ASN is not the store address as stated on the 850, and the orders are not to be shipped directly to these stores.

I agree that suppliers are confused by this method. What I learned recently was that Anna's Linens is in the process of “normalizing” this method. From what I heard, I understand that these changes are in the works, and are to be implemented some time over the next 6 months. It's good to see that someone is considering the industry's “Best Practices”.

So, I have two congratulations / thank you messages this week. Way to go Anna’s Linens. And thanks to my new favorite chili spot. Now if we could get Bon Ton and Federated to follow Anna's lead, we’d really have some progress.

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