Emmanuel Olivier reveals four ways automating order management can optimise your supply chain.
Globalisation, mergers and acquisitions, and changing customer demands have made production
and distribution processes increasingly complex. As a result, today’s supply chain leaders are looking
beyond traditional cost-saving measures to instead pursue analytics-driven solutions that create a more
interconnected and strategic supply chain. As one of the key indicators of a supply chain’s performance,
order management is naturally a top priority for businesses seeking to sharpen their competitive edge. One
way to do this is through automation, which can reduce errors and increase efficiency, allowing the supply
chain to run at maximum potential.
Many supply chain professionals rely on traditional order management techniques to run their supply chain,
including basic ERP technology and a reliance on manual processes. If employees are manually entering order data, analytics and reporting are unable to run at their fullest potential due to the time involved and risk of error, and in some cases, service level agreements (SLAs) are not being met. With evolving customer demand resulting in a need to move faster, a supply chain that relies on manual processes cannot keep up. ERP systems can reduce the manual touch points and use of paper in the supply chain, but more is needed to reach true, end-to-end efficiency.
Order management automation has emerged as a popular and effective solution to many of these challenges.
Automation can reduce or eliminate manual effort, and many automation solutions also integrate with existing
SAP applications without disrupting business continuity or creating any unwanted IT complexities.
Four key benefits of automation
The benefits of automating order management can be broken down into four key ways:
1. Increase visibility where it’s needed most. The sheer volume of activities, logistics, and channels that are now involved in the supply chain make visibility a must – especially during critical period milestones such as the end of the month, quarter or year. Best-in-class order processing solutions come equipped with customisable dashboards that provide instant access to the metrics that matter most to users (for example, when an order has been received, confirmed, and shipped, or the associated supporting documentation).
2. Spot problems before they get worse. The dashboards built into many automation solutions also allow managers to gain greater control over their operations by enabling them to drill down into employee performance and react quickly to prevent problems or capitalise on opportunities.
3. Improve the customer experience. The faster an order can be captured and accurately fed into the supply chain, the more time customer service employees have to focus on actually serving customers, therefore increasing the likelihood that customer SLAs will be met or exceeded.
4. Eliminate waste and reduce operational costs. One of the biggest causes of waste in the supply chain is order processing errors – in Esker’s experience, the average cost of reworking an order is $200-$250, including shipping costs. Automation eliminates these costly errors (along with the extra labour and consumables), avoiding the potentially negative impacts the business may incur as a result.
Traditional order management practices are often inefficient, and today’s supply chain leaders understand that they must revamp their order processing initiatives to remain competitive. Automation technology, such as sales order processing automation from Esker, can help by erasing the burden of manual processes. By automating the order management process, organisations can create an optimal supply chain environment and reap the benefits that come with complete, end-to-end efficiency.
This article is sponsored by Esker. Emmanuel Olivier is worldwide chief operating officer, Esker. To learn more, visit www.esker.com/order-processing-automation-software.