Timely post, Sabrina. I recently shopped by Macy’s in Boston for Black Friday but found that most items on my list were out of stock, so I definitely appreciated their easy-to-use online channel. Through the online fulfillment process, I was quite surprised how many separate shipments they sent out for an order. My order had 5 items and they sent me four separate shipments in a span of three days! Perhaps this is a consequence of allocating season-specific, market-specific items to certain stores. But I have to wonder how the costs of separate fulfillment and shipping of products add up, and how Macy’s compare in profitability to JCP et al. (i.e. incorporating the cost side to the last chart).
Annie, I know two points don’t make a trend but on my recent trip to Houston on Southwest they were able to board both flights ahead of schedule. I particularly enjoyed the simple zone and line arrangement they have at the gate for simplifying the boarding process and minimizing time clarifying to clients and turning them away for trying to board at the wrong time. It made for a very efficient and stress-free boarding; on my return leg, I arrived late to the gate but just by looking at the screens I knew exactly where they were in the boarding sequence and was able to slot myself in the correct order quickly.
Thanks for the post, Eric. The employees’ fervent dedication to customer service reminds me of the Nordstrom case we did in FRC. I wonder how AutoZone’s employee management system is structured to balance upholding of customer service without creating perverse incentives that jeopardizes overall operating efficiency (time reporting, low-value activities). Further, I wonder how the tradeoffs between cheaper rent of the mega-distribution center and gains in integrating storage capacity to storefront play out over the years, particularly as large commercial accounts become a stronger part of their fulfillment obligations as the economy recovers.