Tim Nissen | Comparison: Manual and Automated Sales Order Processing.
The bottom line gives it away – the average cost to process a sales order manually is $50.70. Add automation, and it drops to $1.26.
The comparison of manual and automated sales order processing is stark. It’s also much deeper than cost alone.
The most cumbersome aspects of order processing revolve around verifying and validating data, and with securing necessary approvals. Involving multiple systems and staff to accomplish, lack of visibility is the problem’s root – the time taken for order information’s dissemination to everyone involved to act upon, timely, compounds DSO’s. The resulting reverberations stress an entire organization.
Factoring invoicing errors, disputes and efforts to collect missing documentation, it’s noticeable that manual processing’s lack of order data visibility further encumbers fulfillment and reduces profitability.
Automating sales order processing is accomplished by adding an enterprise content management system (ECM) integrated with a company’s ERP and business systems involved in fulfillment. This creates the ability to capture order documentation in all formats received and created, from receipt to shipping. Pertinent information contained within is extracted to fill order fields in the ERP, then verified and validated against each customer’s contractual data, fostering accuracy.
Automated workflow routs each order to those involved in fulfillment for approvals to clear exceptions, and to add beneficial comments and garner approvals. All workflow data is also captured for archival, providing sales and customer service teams visible access to fulfillment status throughout, while chronicling details and updating customer records, bolstering sales management and forecasting. Ultimately, streamlining throughput and saving money while improving service.
Analytics-driven reporting is a necessary additional automation benefit, providing visibility of aspects at every stage of order processing.
These are functional essentials to automate, optimizing inbound sales order processing:
– Inbound document capture, eliminating handling of paper, utilizing optical character recognition (OCR), removing manual data entry by enabling hands-free straight through processing.
– Workflow for supporting documentation access, and to coordinate all processes that occur throughout fulfillment
– Visible access to information about each order’s processing via analytics and reporting.
The results of manual and automated sales order processing comparison utilizing ECM:
– Reducing order-to-cash processing costs by 70%
– Significantly increasing the percentage of order line items captured electronically; increasing data entry accuracy by up to 99%
– Preventing lost or misplaced orders and associated supporting documentation
– Reducing customer service staff time required by an average of 65%
– Lowering stored data costs with digital archival
– Reducing product returns, increasing customer loyalty.
Combining ECM with a company’s ERP compounds benefits by facilitating:
– Quick order processing and efficient delivery scheduling
– Comprehensive customer order tracking and prioritization
– Structured data for customer profitability analysis
– Rapid dispute resolution
– Fewer duplicate orders processed.