Federal Express used this tagline on its advertising a few years ago to make the point that its delivery service is fast and reliable. The word that follows is overnight—FedEx was promoting its next-day deliveries.
In the window coverings industry, everyone needs his order as soon
as possible, but regardless of what a dealer, decorator or homeowner
really wants, it’s rare that a finished product needs to be
delivered the very next day. That is unless it was promised to you
weeks ago and you added 10 days to that promise to cover your butt
then told the client it will be ready for installation on a certain
date and that happens to be tomorrow and it still hasn’t shown
up . . . but that’s rare, too. Isn’t it?
There are many ways to handle product delivery. From the supplier
to the dealer those ways most often include third-party carriers
(such as FedEx, UPS and others). A few fabricators operate their
own truck fleets. Dealers, workrooms and decorators usually carry
finished products in their own trucks or mini-vans (with the company
name, logo and other graphics on the sides so everyone can see!).
During this process any number of things can go wrong and the horror
stories are plenty. The “getting there” part can be
hazardous, too. What happens if on the way to an install there is
a minor accident, but the treatments you’re carrying are damaged?
In most cases a great number of things go right. Some suppliers
have become expert and innovative when it comes to packing and shipping,
and many workrooms and dealers take special care so that not only
do the treatments get to the customer’s home undamaged, but
make an impressive entry as well.
The point is, products have to get there—from Point A to Point
B to Point C and sometimes Point D—in one piece and with all
the parts. Those whose responsibility it is to do that take the
job seriously. There’s a lot at stake: a satisfied customer
who can just as easily take his business somewhere else.
This month’s cover story takes a look at the topic of product
delivery (see page 26), with an added look at what happens to all
the packaging once the products are safely delivered. What we find,
in essence, is that in this business every delivery is a special