Sales order processing is an interesting part of supply chain management that if done right, can save you considerable amounts of time and money, and impact sales positively. We’ll look at how to optimize order processing and accelerate business in a fast-paced and competitive marketplace.
Customer order processing, first and foremost, is a document-intensive task. And when you receive a couple of 100 orders every week or month, there is a need to have in place an efficient order processing system that hastens the workflow from reception to final delivery. Why, you ask? Simply because today’s market is dictated by the buyer. The buyer decides a company’s longevity and so first impressions are important. The moment you delay order delivery, there is a good chance your buyer and potential long-term customer may take his business elsewhere.
If product quality is one factor, service delivery and speed are two other critical factors that determine customer engagement in any industry segment. Especially for small and mid-sized businesses with limited capital and personnel, the need to constantly be on top of order management and deliver on time is constant and overwhelming. Even with an organized, skilled staff in place, there is always scope for human error to creep in and delay the process.
Manual order processing is inefficient. And more importantly, when your business starts to grow, you must have a robust management in place that can hasten processing as the number of orders grows. For small and mid-sized businesses, this means investing in more manpower and capital, which is difficult. The difficulty for growing companies is being able to juggle resources, capital, and any cash they have reserved to get the right management solutions and tools to accelerate business. Also, if you’re drowning in paperwork, constantly trying to match sales orders to inventory, with little time for important stuff like order validation and verification, you are bound to make a mistake somewhere along the process. The trouble with mission critical functions like order processing is that a mistake along any one part of the processing chain can reverberate and derail the entire process, forcing companies to resume processing for that one particular order all over again.
This can prove very costly for companies having just the right amount of resources to get work done. Other typical challenges of manual sales order processing are:
Because a sales order represents buyer intent and engagement with your company, it is crucial that you have in place a sales order processing system that enables best-in-class customer engagement and selling. Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) will help with that.
Intelligent Automation of document-based processes streamlines order processing from the time you receive an order to final order fulfillment and receivables management. The ‘intelligence’ in an IPA platform replicates human actions to process sales orders in the hundreds and thousands. With little to no manual intervention, you are assured of accurate and instant data entry, validation, verification, approval, and export of sales orders to your ERP system.
Self-learning: for every sales order that a company receives, the IPA bot taps into its extensive database of built-in business logic to process the order. The bot recognizes the format and field placement containing order information on a typical sales order form and processes it based on pre-built logic — involves capturing essential line-item and header-footer details from a sales order and assigning it a built-in workflow based on business rules and requirements, including routing it for automatic validation for inventory check, customer details, etc. and verification. With every new form that the IPA bot encounters, it makes use of machine learning to learn user actions performed to capture details from the order form the first time. The IPA bot retrieves this learning for the next time when it encounters a similarly formatted sales order form, and performs data capture and processing as a user would do. IPA’s self-learning technology helps reduce manual intervention progressively with every new order form, adding to the extensive database of built-in logic as well as ‘learned’ configuration — intelligent automation entends robotic process automation technology to unfamiliar, new documents, so companies will not have to worry about creating a new workflow for every new sales order format. This enables order processing software to work with and execute a vast and diverse set of sales order forms.
Unattended sales order processing saves companies significant time and costs, as this manufacturer will tell you, who saw a 66% improvement in order processing within months of deploying the technology.
Want to improve your order processing for better sales & cash flows? Talk to Artsyl.