I’ve just received my monthly water delivery. I drink a lot of water, and have installed those quaint water coolers in the office and in my apartment.
The water is delivered by an irrepressible guy called Tony. He’s always polite, always smiling, cleanly dressed, and he works like crazy delivering 19 litre jugs of water in 37 degree heat in Limassol.
This guy is a total asset to the company that supplies the water. One of the best service professionals in Cyprus.
So why am I so unhappy with the service?
It’s not Tony’s fault.
The company still works with an old-style dispatcher. To order water, you have to call between 08:00 – 13:00 and hope someone answers the phone.
I sidetracked this by sending a message on Facebook. It takes about 2 days to get a response, but eventually I get one.
The response is: “Tony will be there on Monday or Tuesday”.
Wait a minute. When on Monday or Tuesday? And, Monday or Tuesday? I can’t simply sit around waiting 2 days for a water delivery.
So by the time Tony actually finds me at home, he’s driven by twice already and each time is told I’m not home … because no one tells me in advance what time to be there.
It’s hard to imagine this kind of logistics in the 21st Century.
The company has a website but no ordering system. So rather than simply pre-paying with a credit card and not having to worry, I have to go through the process so ordering, getting the delivery, Tony makes out an invoice, and I figure out how to pay it.
What are the impacts of all this?
There’s already been a 2-week gap between water supplies, so the company has lost 2 weeks of water from just one account. In the meantime, I’ve been buying the 1.5 litre bottles at the corner grocery at a vastly higher price.
The company probably has a liquidity crunch, because instead of simply asking everyone to order and prepay online (which is totally not a problem today), it has Tony running around delivering water and issuing invoices.
The company is obviously wasting a lot of time and money on dispatchers and accountants (who are doing credit controlling) when 100% of this could be online.
Tony’s productivity must be low, given the number of changes en route he faces with customers who have not been informed of a delivery that day and time.
An expensive delivery system is going wasted. The company has built a great point-to-point delivery system for only a single product. What else could be fed into that pipeline? There are so many additional food and beverage products that could be delivered in bulk.
Ultimately, we can’t keep working in a 19th Century manner in 2020. Yes, we’ve gotten rid of the horses and wagons, but that mentality still seems deeply ingrained within us. At least, within many companies I consult.
At some point, we need to accept that there are enough consumers like me – people who are health conscious and time poor -- who prefer home delivery of selected products rather than struggling through a supermarket.
It’s not a problem to pay € 23.04 online to receive about 95 liters of water. I’d even sign up for double that amount if a minimum order quantity were required.
If I’m paying for Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, Bloomberg, the Financial Times and so many other subscription services online, I’m perfectly happy to pre-pay online for water.
And that’s not even listing the transaction services: Foody.com, Bolt, Uber, Aegean, Wizz, etc. Cypriots are ordering online. I’m not alone in this.
There’s a great saying from … well … you know:
We aren’t in Kansas anymore.
So follow the yellow brick road. I’m thinking survival depends on it.