How to Speed Up Customer Order Processing

Customer order processing can be stressful and time-consuming but it doesn’t have to be. Updates in digital workflows with automation have changed the game for multiple business processes like customer order processing.

If your company struggles with bottlenecks in your order processing procedures like shipping to the wrong address, running out of stock, delays in shipment, mountains of paperwork, and human errors in data entry, then it’s time to reevaluate your customer order processing practices. 

Online retailers and eCommerce businesses like Amazon have taken over the consumer market and if your business wants to keep up, then faster processing is a top priority. The market will soon demand faster and easier everything, or customers will take their business elsewhere.

We’ve provided an outline for how to eliminate these error-prone processing procedures and update your business with sales order automation so you can stay in the game and even develop an edge up on your competitors.

Customer Order Processing Step By Step

Before we get into how to speed up your customer order processing practices, let’s break down the process step by step.

Step 1: Order Placement

After customers place orders to your business, the order information like items, quantities, shipping details, and shipping address are recorded and entered into ERP by the order management department to prepare the order.

Step 2: Picking Inventory

Once the order management team compiles the order information, it is sent to a warehouse or business location where workers pick out the necessary inventory to complete orders.

Step 3: Sorting

After the inventory items are located and picked, warehouse workers sort the individual items to fulfill each order.

Step 4: Packing 

When items are collected and sorted by order, workers can then package each order, weigh the package, record shipping costs, and add a shipping label.

Step 5: Shipping 

The last step in this process is shipping and transporting the orders to the consumers for fulfillment. The shipping process includes loading the package into a vehicle for transport where it will go through the FedEx or UPS system for delivery.

Traditional Customer Order Processing

Traditional customer order processing operates on physical labor and manual data entry. In every step of the process, workers gather information from the customer orders, compile it, and set it up for the next step. Because of this chain structure of processing, if a worker makes a mistake at any step of the process, it can throw off the entire fulfillment process and result in an incorrect order.

Some of the most errors common occur in the first step when purchasing orders are placed and data is entered into ERP by the order management department. If the business processes numerous orders or moves too quickly, it is easy for employees to incorrectly enter data. If a worker records an order delivery as the standard 3-5 day delivery time instead of the 2-3 day delivery time that the customer paid for, then the order will fail to be processed fast enough and the company’s customer satisfaction rates will be hit. 

Some other common human errors include entering, incorrect shipping addresses, item quantities, types of items, lack of stock, and the warehouse location of the items. Verbal miscommunications may also be made when sorting the orders and gathering inventory. When these mistakes are made, the entire manual order processing chain is fed incorrect information and even if another worker down the line catches the mistake, the fulfillment process becomes slowed and bottle necked.

This leads to extra work and later returns that require more order processing. Your customer base will become frustrated if they need to reach out to customer service representatives when their order is missing items. A customer service rep may result offering a product to the consumer for free or giving a significant discount to avoid losing their business. These mistakes cause lost profits, waste time, and hurt the customer experience. 

Standardize Your Order Forms

Standardizing your order forms can be an entry stepstrep into faster order processing. How do your customers place orders? Many companies have online shops where customers can place an order from the comfort of their homes. Businesses also offer the option of placing an order through a staff member in a company store if it is out of stock at that physical location. Few companies also still allow customers to place orders over the phone to a staff member who enters data on their end. 

If your business has multiple avenues for placing orders, then these order forms must be standardized. If your order management department is processing a large number of orders per day then it will slow them down to adjust their entry practices based on a collection of different forms. By standardizing your customer order forms, the process becomes less confusing for workers and mistakes can be minimized. 

By standardizing your order forms, your business can also prepare for the transition into sales order automation for an even faster fulfillment process.

Sales Order Automation

Sales order automation is the key to speeding up the customer order processing system. Sales order processing software uses Intelligent Data Capture technology (IDC) to increase productivity and cash flow by removing the object of human error by manual data entry.

Processing automation streamlines order processing time by essentially doing the hard work for you in a centralized location. Workers no longer need to enter order data into ERP because IDC automatically captures the order data then extracts it to index the data into your ERP system. The ERP system then automatically reviews and validates the order information and moves it onto the next step in the process.

If there is an error in the data, such as a missing shipping address, then the software will recognize the mistake and send the order information to a staff member who can review the order and contact the customer for necessary information. Other than that, no workers or manual intervention is needed for customer order data entry. 

By implementing sales order automation, companies can increase productivity and cash flow. Bottlenecks in the process are removed when the automated processing workflow removes room for human error and operates flawlessly at a much higher speed. Companies are free to re-assign employees to more important tasks and even cut down on payroll if workers are no longer needed.

Increase Customer Satisfaction

Beyond the benefits to your staff member’s time and resources, automation software also offers key benefits in increasing customer satisfaction. Customer expectations may even be exceeded as orders are processed and fulfilled faster than the estimated delivery time.

Remember when we talked about traditional order processing practices and how manual entry runs the risk of late deliveries? Well, with automation, the placement to delivery process is much faster so consumers will be pleasantly surprised when their order arrives before schedule. Faster shipping times provide a competitive advantage against other businesses. 

Orders are also far more likely to be correct because order data and inventory levels are stored in a cloud-based secure system that can be accessed and updated warehouse management through company tablets or mobile devices. This ensures that stock data, product availability, and inventory records are up-to-date for accurate order processing and even on your business’s website. Gone are the days of customer frustration when customers place an order only to be hit with a message that the item is out of stock a day later.

This cloud-based system also opens your business up to real-time order tracking by your staff and your customer. The customer experience is improved when they are in the know about the status of their order and estimations on transit times. 

Conclusion

Sales order processing automation is the future of business practices and traditional manual processes will soon become extinct. We have entered into a digital age that has allowed for massive innovations in the way we work and the speed at which processes operate. 

Demand forecasting predicts that the customer experience is more important than ever and companies will lose business if they don’t prepare for the ever-growing future demand for speed, transparency, and efficiency. Happier customers make a happier business, so throw out those manual systems. 

Your business can also benefit from automation in your accounts receivable and payable department. Similar to how customer order processing can free up businesses’ time, AP automation fixes the invoice approval process and speeds up B2B payments for increased productivity and cash flow.

Your business procedures will see a monumental advantage through automation as valuable time is saved. For more information on ways to digitally transform your business, check out our blog post on Contract Lifecycle Management Software

Contact us today to begin automating your business practices for faster customer order processing.

Contract Lifecycle Management Software

In most organizations, business contract management is handled across various departments: Sales, Finance, Legal, Fulfillment, sometimes even more. The analog manual process involves business contracts stored in file cabinets in one department or another. Often an old contract is used as a template for the new contract. Tracking service level agreements to make sure all deliverables were met may be hit or miss. Unless you can afford to hire an administrator to manage the contracts, it is usually a haphazard contract management process.

Dave is the new hotshot salesperson on the team. It’s rumored that he actually did sell ice in Alaska. He is bringing in new contracts and driving everyone crazy because our contract management system is out of sync. Compliance changed all contracts due to safety concerns at the beginning of the year. Dave is working with an old contract he found in his sales files. It means every contract that he has produced is out of compliance. Even worse, suppliers, contractors, and others will need to sign new, updated contracts. To a salesperson, this is like being banished to purgatory. The whole negotiating process may start over if a new contract is produced. This challenge doesn’t happen if your team is using contract lifecycle management software.

Welcome to the world of contract management software. A new salesperson joins the team. He or she can access a contract template that is compliant and approved by legal. Legal created the template that is housed in your cloud-based contract management solution. Contract creation happens by accessing your dashboard on your laptop, tablet, or mobile device. Your contract repository is no longer a physical file cabinet. You now have the power track version control, not with a WORD document search, but with intelligent contract management software that will find whichever version you want or need.

Most of us concentrate on the final cost in a negotiated contract. Every contract has customizations that the software can alert you about. From service level agreements to renewals and terminations, every deliverable could make or break your bottom line. With a contract management solution that is easy to use, your contract portfolio is securely accessible in a cloud-based environment. Some contract management platforms are the digital manifestation of traditional, physical storage. That’s not what your company needs. Most business users need a contract lifecycle management solution that provides them with more!

Contract Lifecycle Management Software

Contract lifecycle management software will help your team be more productive. Your supplier risk management team will never be caught with an expiring contract, nor the costs associated with that challenge. Imagine your legal team is no longer bogged down, creating contract templates or one-off customizations. Saving time and increasing productivity with contract management software will positively impact your bottom line.

The new hotshot salesperson can immediately locate the old contract. Your contract management software will alert him or her to any deadlines that were not met. Are you due a refund for underperformance? With your new contract management processes in place, you are alerted to any challenges before the contract even expires. Your hotshot salesperson has the leverage to negotiate from a position of knowledge. Your supplier management team can make recommendations concerning any business that has a contract with your business. They will immediately know if this partner met their contract promises.

Contract Collaboration

Not only does contract management extend through various departments in your business, but also your supplier’s extended team. The contract negotiation process with CLM Software ensures that your team and the supplier know what is expected on all sides. Approval workflows provide an audit trail for the contracting process. Our user interface is intuitive and easily integrated into your existing contract lifecycle management solution.

Your team will be alerted to the renewal process, deliverables, challenges, and suddenly instead of a manual analog paper process, your team is free to consider the entire contracting process. Would software as a service save money? Are the cycle times for this entity out of the norm? All of these answers can be easily found with a contract management platform. Are you ready to join the 21st Century? Get started now!

 

Implementing Sales Order Automation

If your organization provides goods or services, your sales order process is a completely necessary part of your day-to-day activity. Unfortunately, this process can often be a time-consuming drain on employee productivity. Most organizations just see this as a necessary evil that won’t ever change, but by strategically implementing smarter processes, your organization can completely transform what was once a frustrating process.

We’ll be sharing more on what Sales Order Automation looks like, and how DocStar and Mosaic can help implement it for your organization.  

 

What is Sales Order Automation (and why it’s important) 

Sales order automation (SOA) specifically focuses on streamlining time-consuming manual pieces in the sales process. By automating these necessary tasks, your sales team can focus on value-adding activities rather than spending excess time on data entry. 

A common concern in any organization is whether or not crucial tasks get completed. Specifically, in the sales process, employees may enter incorrect data or neglect to enter it completely. This can lead to inaccurate billing, missing sales, and a loss in time in productivity. Automation ensures the correct data is entered and that it follows the correct steps in the process. It helps simplify the sales cycle, empowering customers and prospects to complete purchases and better understand your organization’s products or services. 

The Sales Order process has evolved greatly since the days of filling out carbon sales order forms and manually entering it into a register. Mosaic’s partner, DocStar, has led this evolution by providing advanced automation technology that allows for a streamlined sales process with little to no human intervention.

By taking advantage of this technology, you can improve your customer relationships, streamline employee tasks, and gain a competitive advantage. It may seem like SOA is a massive leap from where your business is currently, but with the right tools and knowledge, your organization can quickly evolve. 

 

DocStar’s Sales Order Automation functionality

An automated Sales Order process starts in one of two ways, either a scanned purchase order or a digital document. By accepting both formats, your organization can best support your customer’s existing way of submitting orders, reducing any potential learning curves or friction. 

Once the order is received, it goes through Intelligent Data Capture (IDC). IDC automatically captures and extracts structured data (such as a customer’s past purchases) as well as unstructured data (like written communications). Once IDC recognizes and indexes the order, it can be passed along to the next step. This step eliminates the traditional step of receiving the sales order and then manually entering the data into your ERP. 

The order is then automatically received by your ERP, which will then validate the data from the order. Key pieces such as customer name or number, part numbers, and other information are reviewed. If there is an exception or data that requires manual review, it will automatically be sent to the correct employee to validate it manually. If the data is valid, it will create a sales order in your ERP and the purchase is one step closer to being complete. 

This entire process can happen with next to no human intervention, except for scanning in an order at the beginning and data validation at the end. Because this process is hands-off, your employees can be more productive, leading to more sales and more growth. 

 

Next Steps

If the concept of completely transforming your Sales Order process sounds overwhelming, don’t worry, Mosaic is here to help you through the entire process.

Give us a call at 800.387.7859 to discuss your current Sales Order process and where you want to go.