Order cycle time is a critical metric in the world of manufacturing and supply chain management. It refers to the time it takes for a company to receive an order from a customer, process the order, and deliver the product to the customer. In today’s fast-paced business environment, reducing order cycle time is crucial for companies to remain competitive and meet the increasing demands of customers. This post will cover order cycle time, its importance, and ways to reduce it.
What is Order Cycle Time?
Order cycle time is the time it takes for a company to complete the order fulfillment process, from the moment a customer places an order to the point when the product is delivered to the customer. This cycle includes a series of steps such as order processing, picking and packing, shipping, and delivery. The order cycle time can vary depending on several factors such as the size of the company, the complexity of the product, and the delivery location.
Why is Order Cycle Time Important?
Monitoring and improving order cycle time has many benefits for companies, including:
- Improved customer satisfaction: Faster order fulfillment means that customers receive their products faster, which increases their satisfaction with the company.
- Increased sales: Shorter order cycle time means that companies can process more orders in a shorter amount of time, which can lead to increased sales.
- Better inventory management: Companies with shorter order cycle times can manage their inventory more efficiently, as they can quickly replenish stock levels.
- Cost savings: Reducing order cycle time can lead to cost savings for companies, as they can streamline their processes, reduce waste, and avoid stockouts.
How to Measure Order Cycle Time
Here is the formula for customer order cycle time:
Customer order cycle time = (delivery date – order date) / total number of orders shipped
You can measure customer order cycle time with the following steps using this formula:
- Gather customer details
Collect customer details, including delivery date, order date and the total number of orders shipped to input them into the formula provided. Some businesses record this data in a customer database or spreadsheet. An automated system may help you collect the information you need faster.
- Subtract the delivery date from the order date
The first step in the calculation is to subtract the delivery date from the order date. You may calculate this information for different periods of time. Some businesses may measure their customer order cycle time per month, whereas others may prefer to do it per quarter. If you choose to calculate it for the month, complete this calculation for each order you shipped within the last month. You may also use hourly calculations to determine the number of hours, versus days, it takes to cycle through orders.
- Divide the calculation by the total number of orders shipped
For each calculation, divide the number by the number of orders shipped within the period that you’re calculating. This will give you your average customer order cycle time. You may choose to adjust this to calculate this information for a different period of time to learn how your cycle times have increased or decreased over time.
Order Cycle Time vs. Lead Time
Lead time and order cycle time are two supply chain metrics that can impact order fulfillment efficiency. Lead time refers to the time it takes to receive raw materials, produce finished goods, and hand off orders to a carrier for shipment.
In contrast, order cycle time refers to the time it takes to process an actual order. The order cycle time formula only takes into account the time between the order placement date and the carrier handoff date.
How to Reduce Order Cycle Time
Reducing order cycle time is critical for companies that want to remain competitive and meet the increasing demands of customers. Here are some ways to reduce order cycle time:
- Automate processes: Automating the order fulfillment process can help reduce order cycle time by eliminating manual tasks and reducing errors. Companies can use software solutions such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and warehouse management systems (WMS) to automate their processes.
- Improve communication: Improving communication between different departments and stakeholders can help reduce order cycle time. Companies can use collaboration tools such as project management software and instant messaging platforms to improve communication and collaboration.
- Streamline processes: Streamlining the order fulfillment process can help reduce order cycle time by eliminating unnecessary steps and optimizing the flow of work. Companies can use process mapping and lean manufacturing techniques to identify inefficiencies and streamline their processes.
- Implement a just-in-time (JIT) inventory system: JIT inventory systems can help reduce order cycle time by ensuring that products are delivered to the customer just in time, without the need for excess inventory. This can help companies reduce waste and improve their cash flow.
- Implement a vendor-managed inventory (VMI) system: VMI systems can help reduce order cycle time by allowing suppliers to manage inventory levels and replenish stock automatically. This can help companies reduce stockouts and improve their order fulfillment process.
- Use predictive analytics: Predictive analytics can help companies forecast demand and optimize their inventory levels, which can help reduce order cycle time. Companies can use predictive analytics software to analyze historical data and make accurate predictions about future demand.
- Offer multiple shipping options: Offering multiple shipping options can help reduce order cycle time by allowing customers to choose the delivery method that best suits their needs. This can help companies meet the diverse needs of their customers and reduce delivery times.
Order cycle time is a critical metric in the world of manufacturing and supply chain management. Reducing order cycle time can help companies improve customer satisfaction, increase sales, manage inventory more efficiently, and reduce costs. Companies can reduce order cycle time by automating processes, improving communication, streamlining processes, implementing JIT and VMI.
Help with inventory management is one of the many benefits to working with a 3PL. If you are seeking logistics support we’d love to hear from you. You can read DCL’s list of services to learn more, or check out the many companies we work with to ensure great logistics support. Send us a note to connect about how we can help your company grow.