Enterprises planning to transform their legacy supply chain infrastructure need to carefully prioritize their initial moves to accelerate their digital transformation journey. It would be a smart move to focus on early quick hit wins to build momentum and get buy-ins from the c-suite. Sales order process automation could be a good first step in the digital transformation journey.
Consider a food and beverage manufacturer who sold their products through a wide distribution channel to their end customers. The distributors had manual systems for processing orders from the retail outlets, such as phone, fax and email. Buyer bar codes need to be matched to supplier product codes. There was a need for Unit of Measure (UOM) mapping. Minimum order quantities (MOQ) need to be checked. Free of Charge(FOC) items need to be added to the Purchase Order at time of promotions. Invoices were generated manually and mailed to the buyers for payment. The entire process was error prone and inefficient; with high order reject rates, incorrect invoices sent, and long order processing cycle time.
The manufacturer decided to implement a cloud-based sales order process automation solution from Netsymm. The buyers now can place orders on their procurement portal using a product catalog or place purchase orders in XML.CSV or EDI format for automated pick up and processing. They automated barcode to product mapping, minimum quantity checks and free of charge items were automatically added to the orders to shorten order processing cycle time. Productivity and efficiency were enhanced by eliminating time consuming and error prone manual ordering processes, such as phone, fax and email. By integrating with their SAP ERP system at the back end provided the buyers with real-time visibility into inventory availability status, pricing info and shipment dates. They also enabled e-Invoicing to reduce costs associated with paper invoices.
Key business benefits delivered by sales order processing automation include reduction in order processing time and order entry error rates by over 40–50%, real-time visibility to supply chain, e-invoicing to streamline invoice process and lower costs. Customers are on-boarded faster while delivering a superior procurement experience.
Future plans include enhancing sales order process automation with demand sensing to deliver a frictionless supply chain.
Where are you on your digital supply chain journey?