If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve got customer orders being placed outside of your website. Purchase orders are being sent to you straight from your customer’s ERP, and you employ people to deal with them.
Ever considered a more technical solution? You might’ve heard a few acronyms bandied about, and wondered if any of these solutions might be right for your business….
Let’s look at the 2 most common:
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) has been around in one form or another for years. It involves converting an image into machine-readable text.
OCR certainly has its uses, but for order processing where accuracy is paramount, it can be pretty unreliable and prone to errors. Is it a letter ‘i’ or a ‘1’? Or a lower-case ‘L’? Change the font and it gets even more confusing! There are so many factors that can affect OCR’s accuracy:
- Scan resolution
- File format
- Image quality
Even new systems being rolled out today still involve human intervention to complete the work that OCR can’t do. Human review is the only way to achieve 100% accuracy when using OCR.
On top of this, OCR generally relies on some other system to get the translated order into your ERP. Which brings me to...
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the exchange of standard format documents at a computer-to-computer level.
While the accuracy of EDI is a big improvement over OCR, the set-up costs are significant. Put plainly, it’s expensive. Not just for you, but for your trading partners as well. EDI restricts your customers to a standard format that the system can read, but even so, you’ve still got to engage an EDI translator so the data can be processed.
After all that, EDI is not a truly integrated solution. It’s just another system that sits on top of your existing systems.
So what IS the answer?
An automated order processing solution requires smarts. It must be able to read and understand a variety of Purchase Order formats. Artificial intelligence should allow it to learn different ordering behaviours and spot errors, flagging and correcting them.
The ideal solution integrates seamlessly to your ERP. Without a huge infrastructure investment. Without upheaval, or any intervention from your customers.
Automating your order processing should deliver you 100% accuracy, while increasing your efficiency and reducing your costs.
OCR and EDI just can’t tick all of those boxes. Integrated Artificial Intelligence can. Once you examine the options, it’s plain to see that A.I. is the way forward for order automation.
Your Customer Service teams should be spending their time on Human2Human connections, not worrying about moving data from one system to another.