It’s 9pm. You’ve finally got the kids to bed and you’re sitting down browsing Netflix when you remember you still need that new gadget if you want to complete your home repair job on the weekend. You reach for your phone, jump on Google to look for it, and 3 minutes later you’ve purchased it. Delivery should be Friday morning, just in time for the weekend.
The above scenario is playing out all across the world today and is pretty much our new normal. It’s hard to remember that as little as 20 years ago, it wasn’t possible. Gordon Gekko, in the ‘87 film Wall Street, famously declared that “money never sleeps”... and it’s never been more true than it is today - not only for money, but for commerce as well.
Globalisation has transformed the way we do business. Gone is the 9 to 5... Even bankers don’t work bankers hours any more. Your customers are as likely to exist across the globe as they are across town. So with competition spreading across borders and time zones, how can you keep up? Or better yet, get ahead?
In my last post I touched on the key benefits of sales order automation, one of them being the ability to process orders around the clock. We’ll examine that a little more closely now.
As a distributor, you’ve got retailers emailing you purchase orders day and night…..these customers are the guys who sell the gadget to our weekend DIY warrior. They’re based locally and interstate, and still others are overseas... The orders flow in from all directions. Nice problem to have, right?
In your local office, a team of customer service reps punch those orders into the ERP, ready for the warehouse to fill. They work 8 to 4pm and they’re pretty fast. But when they walk out the door at 4 o’clock, the orders still come in. And they continue through the night.
By the time your CSRs walk back in at 8:00 the next morning, there are 50+ orders to get through before they can even begin keying that day’s orders in.
So what’s that doing to your service levels? Metro customers who order first thing in the morning are probably imagining their orders are being processed straight away... But in reality, theirs don’t get keyed into the system until later that morning, missing the city-bound truck that leaves at 11am. Instead of wowing your local customer with same day delivery, you’re playing catch up and punching in orders that are half a day old.
Aside from the hours you’re losing each day while your order entry is offline (not to mention weekends!), what about holidays? Annual leave? Sick days? Of course, someone has to cover all of that, which adds cost to your order entry process.
In some industries - foodservice, for example - the 9 to 5 never existed anyway. It’s not unheard of for CSRs to start work before the crack of dawn in order to service their customer segment, and weekend work is almost a prerequisite. Wouldn’t it be nice knowing that no matter when your customers sent you orders, they were being taken care of?
This is the beauty of sales order entry automation. It works around the clock, 24/7, leading to additional benefits downstream:
- Start processing orders as soon as they’re received.
- Smooth out peaks and troughs in your orders and adjust your workforce accordingly.
- Increase your service levels by dispatching stock more quickly, and/or offering later cut-off times for same-day and next-day delivery.
With automated sales order entry, your warehouse staff never have to wait. No constraints at the order entry point mean no idle time on the warehouse floor. And no more Customer Service Reps chained to the ERP.
Commerce can continue while you sleep (you’re only human, after all)… and it can continue in the dark.
In our next post, we’ll discuss the liberation of your Customer Service Reps thanks to sales order automation. See you there!
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