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Order Management

Order management is at the heart of the customer journey. It should be a quick efficient, and painless for both supplier and customer, and as close to effortless as possible for the customer.

 

It’s crucial for suppliers to avoid any leaks in the process that could result in delays or errors that could in turn be costly in the long run.

About

 

For many companies, orders come from a variety of sources including​​

  • E-mails and attachments in different formats
  • Website
  • Phone calls
  • And even texts

Order management sometimes gets surprisingly complicated, for a number of reasons, for instance​​​

  • Validating, checking and confirming orders

  • Recording the order in your ERP or CRM (or both)

  • Team work burden – the team processing orders may at the same time be fielding numerous enquiries, cancellations and other more involved tasks, which may interfere with order processing efficiency and smoothness

 

The biggest source of problems often arise from validation checks, which most companies still do manually. You might typically need to check:​​​

  • Are orders accurate?

  • Can they be fulfilled?

  • When can they be delivered?

  • Does the customer’s price and delivery expectations match what you provide?

  • Pre-order feasibility and validation – is the customer in credit, or is further authorisation / a credit check needed?

Challenges

 

It's repetitive, but non-standard elements throw up the biggest challenges. These have to be done manually and are prone to human error by all but the most diligent of individuals.​​

  • Carrying out manual interventions – we see people often manually handling lots of disparate information

  • Dealing with multiple systems, formats and channels – these include email, attachments and calls from direct customers, partners and re-sellers

  • Reformatting and standardising information – you will always need to collect, interpret, rekey and share information in a format that all your fulfilment staff will understand

  • Dealing with interruptions and distractions – especially if staff carry out value added tasks in addition to order processing, and they need to prioritise their work

  • The big challenge of scaling up output at busy times. With so many moving parts, most companies we work with have a huge challenge because they are simply unable to scale up (or down) when they really need to.

What this means to your business

 

In our experience, if businesses don’t address these challenges regularly and meticulously, they will compound to serious and expensive-to-fix business problems that hinder business performance, or even allow rivals to steal a march on them. A business will suffer​​

  • Lack of fidelity of information

  • Bottlenecks and delays at busy times

  • Quality may suffer - incorrect or late orders

  • Poor customer experience

  • Inconsistent customer service

  • Cancelled orders

  • Problems with refunds

  • Lack of customer loyalty and low customer retention

  • Demotivated staff – further opening the cracks


 

It doesn't have to be this way

 

By addressing order management at senior decision-making levels, the whole business will benefit. Start by measuring, tracking and improving KPIs in the following areas.

 

Effectiveness and efficiency​

  • Speed of order entry and fulfilment

  • Processing cost per order

  • Recruitment, on-boarding and training cost

  • Adherence to business policies

  • Quality and consistency metrics

Staff performance and costs​​

  • Staff attrition / turnover

  • Staff satisfaction

  • Percentage of time spent on value add activities – are staff free to deal with complex nuanced problems and other value added activities that drive customer satisfaction and retention?

 

Scalability​​

  • 24/7 order processing

  • Maximum order processing capacity

 

Two approaches to improving order processing

 

We advocate two different routes to improvement.

 

1. The step-wise, or continuous improvement, approach.

This means reviewing and improving every element of the process. You, or a consultant, will start by auditing the formats and variables you use. You will map your business processes, the variables, communication flow, validation and error checking. You will use tools like kaizen events and methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma to discover opportunities for improvements in your processes.

 

Next, work to understand the human element. What are the right incentives for staff to carry out repetitive low skilled tasks at volume and to the standard you require? What is the acceptable cost and what are the attrition rates and associated costs?

 

The benefits of a step-wise approach is that you can implement improvements at a pace that suits your business.

 

2. The digitalisation approach.

This means automating the repetitive elements, which free up your staff to concentrate on the value-added human work. This approach is also referred to as robotic process automation (RPA), robotic desktop automation (RDA) and can combined with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

 

Automation works to smart rules. There is no coding, no laborious process mapping, but it nevertheless ensures that the right information is used at the right time, and minimises errors.

 

Software robots (softbots) can scan index, manage and pull data from various channels and communicate and update customers in real time.

 

The benefits of this approach is that is can be deployed in days not weeks, and achieve an ROI in months. Any tweaks and fixes can be made in hours, not days.

Decide Your Best Approach

The SoftBot No-Code RPA Platform

SoftBot's no-code Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platform lowers economic barriers to entry, enabling small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) to access a low-cost Digital Workforce that scales with your business needs; ensuring that you achieve an ROI within months, not years. Available as standard for deployment on-premise or in the cloud.

The SoftBot platform enables quick, agile implementations through rapid iteration of a production system. That means it will be deployed in days, not weeks. There is no need to write code to tell the Digital Worker what to do; and if an omission needs to be fixed or an improvement made, it only takes hours not days.

SoftBot's no-code Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platform will orchestrate the tasks to be executed within the business across the available workforce. This orchestration also manages escalations and exceptions. The typical benefits of this are:

  • Speeding up of individual task performance

  • Greater transaction throughput

  • Improved quality of results

  • Real-time monitoring of performance

  • Measured and controlled business processes (CMMI Level 4)

  • Data collection for business process improvement, providing the foundation for CMMI Level 5 - Optimising.

The combination of orchestration and automation has the possibility of delivering a whole that truly is greater than the sum of the parts.

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