New innovations like AI, RPA and intelligent process automation IPA) are helping companies of all sizes to overcome the hurdles that prevented them from justifying the cost and effort to automate routine processes like customer sales order handling, where the volume and velocity of documents and transactions threaten to overwhelm human operators and manual processes.
In many ways, sales order automation represents the poster child for the kind of approaches to process automation that are available today, with the advent of more flexible, self-learning systems that don’t require a lot of custom coding or IT effort to get up and running, or to maintain as business grows and change.
Without flexible, self-learning technologies, sales order automation has still been achievable, to a degree. Digitizing orders, routing them for approval according to business rules and integration with ERP or ECM systems, while not entirely in the mainstream, has been common for decades.
The biggest hurdle over the past decade or so has been relieving AP staff members from the burden of manually handling paper documents, managing multiple streams of digital orders (emails, digital faxes, ftp site uploads, EDI files, etc) and manually re-keying information from orders into ERP/ECM/accounting systems.
Intelligent data capture solutions offer the promise of relieving these incredibly inefficient and error-prone task from human operators, and they have historically demonstrated a clear return on investment. The problem in the past, however, was that configuring intelligent data capture software to support sales order automation meant manually creating templates or definitions for every conceivable format a customer sales order might come in, so that the system knows where to look for critical information like a customer name, order number, subtotal, total, etc.
The approach was OK for companies where a few customers might account for the bulk of their payables, where initial set-up might account for 80% of the volume of orders, with the rest handled manually by human operators.
Today, however, sales order automation supported by business transformation platforms like docAlpha from Artsyl Technologies and smart process applications like OrderAction, companies can achieve 80% success out of the box and allow the system to learn from interactions with human operators to adapt and evolve to handle close to 100% of order types and use cases.
Solving for this major pain point then solves for all of the issues downstream that plague manual processes. Automation of document handling and data entry means that companies have the data they need to apply to business rules for approval routing and coding. It also means better visibility to general ledger accruals and better control of cash flow. Essentially, with the data and document problems solved, the process problems solve themselves.
If you’ve been getting by and suffering through the status quo, there’s no better time to make a change and transform your sales order process. From easier implementations to faster ROI, making the shift has never been easier or more rewarding.
Take your next step and dig deeper into the Artsyl resource page, then contact Artsyl to schedule a demo and discovery call that will help to map out your path to a digital future.