Everybody loves taking a new order from a customer. It’s in the fulfillment of the order that things can get a little dicey. If your business is like most, you haven’t quite found the perfect streamlined system for fulfilling customer orders as efficiently as possible.
Maybe the order is initially placed on an order form with a salesperson or over the phone with a customer service representative. That person may then input the order into an electronic system. Many companies then use multiple platforms to communicate the order information to various departments like billing, distribution, and customer service.
That kind of disjointed process is inefficient because it involves multiple people duplicating the same task over and over. It also creates opportunities for order information to get lost along the way. The more often that an order has to be input into a new system, the greater the likelihood that a mistake will occur.
One of the most effective ways to streamline your order system is to implement automated order entry software. Many business owners believe that order entry software simply provides another outlet for customers to place orders. Order entry software does allow customers to place order to orders directly, but it also does much more. It automates your fulfillment process.
Here are three critical tasks that they can be automated with order entry software:
1) Transferring information into your accounting software. How much time do your billing or accounting people spend simply retyping orders into QuickBooks or whatever other accounting system you use? If you answered, “Too much,” you are not alone. Many businesses use this inefficient process every day because they aren't aware of a better alternative.
Order entry software can often be linked to your accounting software. That means the order information can automatically be loaded into the accounting software as soon as the customer places the order. No more retyping order information into accounting software. It's already in the system, along with all of the appropriate pricing, cost, and billing information.
2) Sending the order to your distribution team. The best order entry software systems can be configured to work with your distribution department or even with a third party fulfillment center. When your customer places an order, the order information is sent directly to the distribution team. They are able to gather the information they need, pull together the necessary items, and send it off to the client.
With this process in place, you no longer have to call, email, or fill out a form to get the order shipped out of your distribution facility. It just happens automatically with no additional steps required by you or your employees.
3) Maintaining order status information. Does this process sound familiar? A customer asks one of your sales reps about the status of his order. The sales rep then calls your back office to inquire about the order. One of your back-office employees pulls the initial order and then checks with the distribution facility to see what where the order is. After the order is tracked down, the distribution facility calls the back office employee who then calls back the sales rep. Finally, the sales rep updates the customer as to the order’s whereabouts.
This whole process is unnecessary. Order entry software allows you to automate the entire customer management experience. Since the order entry software links with your distribution facility, the status of the order is always available online. If a customer asks your sales rep about an order, the sales rep can pull it up online and give them the status update within seconds.
Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that a sophisticated order entry system can only be implemented by very large companies. That’s simply not the case. An order entry system is an easy, affordable, and effective way for you to take back control of your order entry process and streamline your operation. Follow the link to learn more about how order entry software can improve your business.
Running an effective supply chain is a meticulous process. One of the biggest challenges a business can face is making this process efficient without sacrificing customer satisfaction. We look forward to helping you improve your business administration. We also invite you to comment below. Please share the experiences you have had working with automation tools and how they have affected your business.
Photo Credit: Brock Strozier via Flickr