Pop quiz: How many sales orders did your company fulfill today? This month? How many are waiting on backordered items? And how many buttons did you have to click, or, even worse... how many physical folders/clipboards did you have to reference to find out?
A well-oiled machine, or in need of a little tune up?
Efficiency is arguably the most important quality your company can possess. If your CSRs (customer service representatives) spend too much time processing an existing sales order, that’s time they’re unable to spend generating new ones. If your sales rep has to rifle through too many folders or screens to access a customer’s purchasing history, that’s going to eat into their ability to generate more sales with other customers, or take away from time that could be spent finding new customers.
In today’s fast-paced business environment, every second counts. Periodic business process reviews are always a good idea, as there’s always room for improvement, and it’s important to keep efficiency top of mind as you take a look at how your company is performing.
One area that a lot of companies spend too much time on is sales order management. The challenge of knowing exactly what’s going on with each and every sales order can be a time-sucking monster of a problem. However, the good news is that there are practical steps you can take to help your company buckle down on sales order efficiency.
1. Ditch the paper and go digital.
If your Operational ERP solution still requires you to create paper copies of your sales orders, that’s a big red flag. Not only are paper versions fraught with danger (they can be lost, destroyed, or damaged by an errant splash of coffee), they’re simply not necessary in today’s modern business climate. It’s next to impossible to do any business these days without computers — so use them!
Switching from a paper-based system will not only save a lot of physical space and cut down on your company’s carbon footprint; digital sales orders will save you and your company time and headaches, as a digital system is far easier to manage, share, and search. It’s the way of the future, and for very good reasons.
2. Take a look at each document’s lifecycle.
Do you have a clear path for each type of sales order, and do all members of your team know those paths? Are there problem areas along any of the paths? What are the pain points you’re experiencing for your different types of sales orders?
We hear about sales document lifecycle issues over and over again. Custom sales orders are difficult to keep track of, or sales orders that require management review get lost in a holding pattern, or there’s a communication breakdown between the office and the warehouse regarding replacement status on an order. There are as many potential problems that can crop up with sales orders as there are different companies processing sales orders (so… quite a lot), and having a clear plan to deal with these issues is paramount as you work to increase your company’s overall efficiency.
Guiding each order through your system should not be a time-consuming or complex task. The right Operational ERP system will take the hassle out of sales order processing and streamline the entire process by giving you the ability to create highly customized, flexible paths for each type of sales order your company deals with on both a regular and irregular basis. You’re in the trenches every day, fighting to keep your company strong and profitable. Your business software needs to be an ally for you, making your job easier by offering effective solutions to your everyday challenges.
Not sure what a sales order management system looks like? Let’s take a very quick tour of SalesPad’s answer to this issue: workflow.
Our workflow functions by creating a series of “stops” (we call them batches) that a document proceeds through. At each stop, a document can be evaluated against any number of criteria (such as item availability, delivery options, customization requests, etc.). Once the document has been evaluated, it’s forwarded on to the batch dictated by the results of the evaluation, then on to the next, and the next, until the order has been fulfilled. This process can be as simple or as complex as it needs to be in order to get your company’s sales orders resolved as efficiently as possible.
That was a real whirlwind tour, so if you’re interested in learning a little more about workflow in SalesPad, check out this blog post.
3. Partner up with the ally you deserve.
At the end of the day, you know what’s best for your company. You’re the one who goes to battle for your company every day. You know its strengths and weaknesses, and you know where the areas for improvement are. And that’s why it’s up to you to make sure that your company is equipped with the right tools for the job.
There is no one-size-fits-all Operational ERP solution out there, simply because every company is different and, as far as we know, magic hasn’t been invented yet. The right Operational ERP system is the perfect Robin to your Batman.
We know that you and your company have already conquered many challenges, but there are always more to come. At SalesPad, we work to empower businesses — we’re your trusted ally as you work to grow your business. Want to learn more about how the right Operational ERP software can be the partner you need? Check our free ebook, 5 Reasons the Right Operational ERP Software Is the Sidekick You Need, outlining what the right solution could bring to the table.