For any company that has succeeded in transforming their back office operations to deliver more timely business insights, better customer service and greater value to their organization, the journey always begins by identifying a problem and refusing to accept the old way of doing things.
For industrial supply company Herrick, it was a lack of insight about customer purchase trends. For Caleffi, a hydronics and plumbing supply manufacturer, it was concerns over keeping up with customer orders during peak seasonal business cycles. In both cases, sales order processing was identified as an obstacle to achieving business goals for revenue growth, profitability and customer satisfaction.
Process automation can transform sales order processing from an obstacle, into an opportunity to elevate sales order automation from a back office operation into a forward-thinking contributor to strategic business goals.
The first step to getting there is realizing that you have a problem - and when it comes to most manual processes, most firms discuss that there are PLENTY of opportunities for improvement.
Identifying and Overcoming Sales Order Process Pains
The problems your firm faces when it comes to sales orders may seem self-evident, but if you need to define them to make a business case for change, here are some pain points to consider and quantify as part of making your case.
1. Days Sales Outstanding >45 Days
For companies relying on manual O2C processes, days sales outstanding average 58 days; companies relying on automation are able to get close to cutting that number in half (33 days). Companies relying on manual processes complete orders and ship on time 83% of the time, compared to 97% for those relying on automation.
2. Error and Exceptions Driving Up Costs
Invoices with errors and exceptions are the most costly orders to process. For companies that handle orders manually, nearly 80% of invoices require manual intervention, compared to 16% where automation is involved. Manual processing inevitably introduces errors and exceptions into the process.
3. No Visibility to Detailed Customer Purchase Data
Because of the time and effort involved in capturing nformation from customer orders and populating business systems with those details, many companies lack timely, complete data on buying behaviors and market trends. Often, companies only capture order header/footer information in their business systems - leaving behind valuable data and line item details. With automation, all of this information can be captured automatically.
How Does Your Organization Compare?
How many of these symptoms plague your organization? In reality, applying sales order automation to relieve even ONE of these symptoms can produce a significant return on investment while having broader and deeper impact on the performance and profitability of your organization.
The good news for most firms is that sales order processes are fairly common across industries and different organizations. That means that smart process applications, like OrderAction from Artsyl Technologies, can be pre-configured and implemented to deliver an automated solution with no coding or customization.
By creating solutions that are configurable and cost effective to implement, leading sales order process vendors are able to relieve the pain and burden of inefficient, error-prone tasks like document sorting/filing, data entry and routing and reporting from process owners.
As a result, customers can focus on improving customer service and managing their financial KPIs, rather than pushing paper and keying in information from one system to another.