Top Four Business Cases for Sales Order Automation
June 29, 2016
For customer service and sales operations managers in organizations where sales orders are processed manually, the inefficiencies of sales order processing and opportunities for business transformation through automation may seem obvious. Helping company executives to understand the business case for sales order automation, however, often means shifting the mindset from seeing sales order processing as merely “filling orders” to seeing it as an integral part of delivery quality customer service, achieving more efficient supply chain cycle times and maintaining control over cash flow.
Here are four top reasons that corporate executives can understand and appreciate when making the case for sales order automation.
Position the organization to scale for growth. Automating the sales order process relieves the dependency on individual staff members to ‘own’ the process and knowledge specific to order processing. Creating a rules-driven, automated process for reading and extracting data from customer purchase orders, automating data entry to generate sales orders and routing documents and data for approval ensures that the sales order process runs smoothly regardless of the volume of orders to process and the staff on hand. Transferring knowledge to new staff members, when necessary, becomes far simpler and efficient when processes are well-defined and automated enough to handle routine orders while flagging exceptions.
Reduce costs and shorten supply chain cycle times. Targeting and eliminating the inefficiencies associated with manually sorting, classifying and filing sales documents, combined with automating data entry by extracting data from sales documents can reduce the time and effort required to process sales orders by 90%. A business case based solely on those efficiency gains can often cost justify a sales order automation project with an achievable ROI within 6 to 12 months. Beyond cost savings, processing orders more efficiently translates into greater control over accounts receivable and cash flow.
Greater Control and Process Visibility. According to the Aberdeen Group, “improving internal cross-departmental visibility” and “streamlining processes for easier monitoring and enhanced usability” are the top two strategic actions companies believe can make complex supply chains more manageable. By extracting data from process-related documents and intelligently capturing that data earlier in the process, organizations achieve greater process transparency more quickly and efficiently, with dashboard-level visibility to key performance indicators than can be shared enterprise-wide.
Enhanced Customer Service. According to a 2014 worldwide report by The Service Council, 60 percent of organizations surveyed anticipate that customer service will be the top source of competitive differentiation in the next three years. Once a customer has agreed to do business with your organization, your first opportunity to win their loyalty and establish a good relationship is when you fulfill their first order. Whether it’s a matter of setting the bar with a new customer of raising the bar with existing customers, sales order automation helps to establish your organization as a fast, efficient and reliable partner worthy of their trust and ongoing business.