With iconic brands, a storied history and industry-leading innovations, Tempur Sealy is the world’s largest bedding provider. The company develops, manufactures and markets mattresses, adjustable bases and pillows as well as other sleep and relaxation products. Combining a proud history and groundbreaking innovation, the company holds some of the most highly recognized brands in the industry, including Tempur-Pedic®, Sealy Posturepedic, Optimum™ and Stearns & Foster®.
As an example of the company’s drive to constantly improve products, Shonne Sweatt, a Distribution Process Defect Analyst for Tempur Sealy, started to innovate outside-the-box when the supply chain management team needed a new way to manage product and process defects. Tempur Sealy wanted to more effectively track process issues such as missed deliveries and warehouse failures.
“We previously tried two applications designed specifically for supply chain management, but the first was too difficult to interact with, so no one used it,” Sweatt says. “With the second tool, we kept running into errors where closed incidents appeared as open, and open incidents sometimes appeared as closed. We never had accurate information to properly perform root-cause analysis and take corrective action.”
IT Provides Innovative Answer
Sweatt realized the ability of the internal IT team to support the new supply chain management application would play a key role in the success of the solution. However, after consulting with IT, he discovered it’s difficult for an internal team to properly support an unfamiliar application. “At that point, I simply asked IT what they recommended,” Sweatt says.
The Tempur Sealy IT team suggested an innovative approach: “Why not consider the ServiceNow platform we rely on to manage IT service tickets?”
The approach sounded unusual at first. But after careful consideration, Sweatt realized product defects need to be managed in a way that’s similar to managing IT issues. “Within both systems, the company needs to make it easy for end users to report issues and then assign those issues to someone to fix the issues,” Sweatt points out. “Both systems also need the ability to perform analysis to identify trends and determine how repeat issues can be eliminated.”
Sweatt also relied on the ServiceNow wiki to answer many of his questions about how the platform could provide the functionality Tempur Sealy required: “The wiki helped us realize what we could do with the tool and how to develop our game plan for where to take the solution.”
Detailing the System Requirements
To clearly define the requirements of the new solution and secure corporate-wide buy-in, Sweatt interviewed more than 50 people from every department across the company. He then clearly documented all the functionality and information fields Tempur Sealy required. Knowing the ServiceNow platform would require customization to conform to all the requirements, Sweatt also consulted with Logicalis, the same global IT solution provider that assisted the Tempur Sealy IT team with ServiceNow.
“Logicalis understands exactly how ServiceNow functions and how to modify the data fields and processes within the platform,” Sweatt says. “They listened carefully to our requests and the changes we needed for system prompts and the terms we use in managing our supply chain. Each time we ran into an issue, Logicalis came up with an idea for how to address the need.”
The ServiceNow platform deployed by Logicalis tracks product-defect information submitted by Tempur Sealy retail partners and customers. The internal supply chain team can quickly determine whether a product was in proper shape when shipped and if the defect occurred somewhere along the supply chain—in a warehouse, during the load process, while in transit or during offloading.
Tempur Sealy also uses ServiceNow to track late and early deliveries as well as dissatisfaction with carriers and drivers. The supply chain team then documents, tracks and investigates the cause to correct the incident as well as to prevent future occurrences.
One of the new capabilities Tempur Sealy has gained from the ServiceNow platform is an online service portal that allows retail outlets and customers to enter and track product defect incidents. In addition to improving how quickly Tempur Sealy responds to initial inquiries, the portal lessens the number of phone calls the customer service center receives.
New Data Identifies Necessary Changes
The Tempur Sealy supply chain management team can now provide data to company executives to show customer pain points in a way that attributes causes to specific areas of the supply chain process. Based on generating such information, Tempur Sealy has applied improvements to many process components within the supply chain—including returns, warehouse stacking and shipping. ServiceNow even helped identify the need to improve upon the construction of warehouse pallets.
“The way Logicalis configured ServiceNow also helped us reassign our customer service resources since the portal handles many defect inquiries,” Sweatt adds. “We also eliminated customer inquiries via email—for which we previously could not track the KPIs that measure service rep performance.”
By tracking defect incidents, the ServiceNow platform also enabled Tempur Sealy to create measurable KPI targets for the customer service reps who respond to customer incidents. Overall, company response times have shrunk now that customer service can more quickly identify and track open issues.
“As we assess changes to apply across each component of our supply chain, we evaluate what works best for our customers, for our internal teams and for our supply chain partners,” Sweatt says. “We then apply changes that work well for all involved parties.”
Innovative Approach Improves Visibility
Sweatt also emphasizes how customer satisfaction has improved dramatically since Logicalis deployed ServiceNow. The reports show executives how the number of defects has been reduced dramatically, and Sweatt’s team receives compliments on the valid and actionable data executives can now access.
“The solution gives us the ability to measure supply chain management and customer service KPIs much more accurately,” Sweatt adds. “With the information we have collected thus far, we set a goal to reduce product defects due to supply chain issues by 25 percent in 2014. The visibility ServiceNow provides gives us confidence we can achieve this.”
Looking ahead, Sweatt hopes to work with Logicalis to eventually integrate information from all Tempur Sealy suppliers and manufacturing facilities into the ServiceNow platform. This will allow Tempur Sealy to track and correct issues across the entire supply chain.