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Steps for Automation Success:
Gathering Requirements and Mapping Your Sales Order Process

When it comes to transforming sales order processes to make them more efficient, accurate and timely

December 07, 2017

When it comes to transforming sales order processes to make them more efficient, accurate and timely, the most common hurdles companies face is mapping out their existing processes, defining measurable goals for improvement and defining requirements to achieve those goals.

It’s easy enough to agree that a process should be faster, easier and cheaper. But how do you measure “faster?” And how cheap enough is “cheaper”? And who decides what is easier? Furthermore, the question arises, can you get to where you want to go when automating by refining the existing, manual process, or is it better to start with a clean slate?

Sales Order Automation: Start with What You Know

Often trying to envision and map out a process from scratch can be intimidating for process owners. At the same time, one of the biggest hurdles to initiating ANY business process automation project is understanding the existing process in clear enough detail that anyone outside of the process can grasp it.

  • Get input from ALL stakeholders: When mapping out existing sales order processes, make sure to get input from ALL stakeholders in the process. Don’t assume that one person knows all of the nuances, even if it’s a minor step.

  • Identify any and all exceptions: When it comes to process automation, the devil is in the details and all those things that fall outside the lines.

  • Picture it: Whether you rely on sophisticated process mapping tools, basic flowchart tools like Visio or Post-it notes, document your process in a way that are easy to visualize and easy to modify.

Typical steps in a sales order process that should be identified and mapped include:

Reception - routing orders
Extraction - pulling data for the ERP system
Verification - detecting exceptions
Management - approving exceptions
Archival - integrating order data
Analysis - rolling data into metrics
Access - providing access to order status and contacts

With a fundamental understanding of the process as it works today, the next step should be quantifying that process in a way that allows you to establish goals for improvement that can be measured and optimized.

Organizations should not only define their current process in terms of the steps required, but also in terms of costs-and lay the foundation for establishing quantifiable, metric-driven goals.

According to a recent APQC survey, the top three anticipated benefits of sales order automation were improved order accuracy, operational efficiency and workforce efficiency - all drivers of reduced costs. To establish a business case for change and calculate return on investment for a sales order automation initiative, companies need to have a sense of their costs prior to change and need to be able to track and measure improvements.

Speaking of customer satisfaction, organizations need to make sure to look beyond cost savings and efficiency gains to get a big picture view of the business impact of their initiatives. THESE metrics will be the ones that win over your executive sponsors and create champions for your initiative.

Goal Forth and Conquer

With clear goals in mind, your team can begin the process of mapping out the journey from the way things used to be to the way they should be, with confidence.

To help you map out your sales order automation journey, identify opportunities for process improvement and automation, contact your Artsyl Technologies representative.

Artsyl Technologies helps organizations to take the pain out of their sales order processes by automating the most inefficient and error-prone tasks—including document handling and data entry. By relying on Artsyl’s docAlpha business digitization platform and OrderAction application, customer service teams can transform scanned paper and digital orders into actionable information that is automatically entered into their ERP system. The result? Shorter cycle times, fewer errors, better process control - and a dramatically improved customer experience.

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