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Selling the C-level on Automated Order Processing

The electronics industry is a volatile one that is made more difficult by manual order processing, which costs time and money. An automated order processing system can alleviate a lot of those problems, but the first step is getting buy-in from C-level executives.

In the industry, prices for components can go up one day, then drop the next as demand falls and inventory skyrockets. The dynamic nature of the industry is a challenge to organizations throughout their supply chain, from pricing and purchasing to order processing and compliance. To remain competitive, companies must be able to react quickly to changing economics to ensure that customers’ orders are efficiently processed and fulfilled.

The manual nature of many sales order processing procedures can make such efficiency difficult. Bringing automation to the sales order process can fix many of those ills, but convincing the C-level isn’t an easy task. Moving to automated processes means reducing costs, increasing efficiencies and fulfilling orders faster and more accurately, but it also means changing company best practices, something top executives may balk at. What will likely resonate, though, is the need to streamline operations to compete in a volatile business environment. The challenge is making a solid argument bolstered by data that executives can embrace.

Connecting the dots to the bottom line

The C-suite needs to hear how automation can improve everything from supply chain execution and growth management to regulatory compliance and, most importantly, customer satisfaction. Modernizing order processing will help not only individual departments, but the entire organization. The key to doing that is presenting data that tells that story. Find out what the current manual order processing procedures cost in terms of time and money, incorrect orders and returns, then explain how automating those processes will reduce those costs and errors. The argument shouldn’t just be about benefits to the customer service department but instead focus on the entire business and how good customer service helps the bottom line. Deloitte points out that CIOs are uniquely positioned to drive technology-led innovation and define new approaches to drive value to the business and customers. Three of the top five business priorities CIOs identified in this year’s survey—customers, innovation, and growth—are related to driving revenue.

Because a primary goal of C-suite executives is to make the company more profitable, they need to understand how improved customer service does this. With automated order process management, fewer processing errors means reduced costs, more efficient operations can handle more orders without adding headcount, and customer service representatives can focus more on customer satisfaction and upselling. Increased efficiencies include taking quotes that live in an enterprise resource management (ERP) system and automatically converting them to an order.

Don’t forget about visibility. With automated order processing and such tools as dashboards and easy-to-use interfaces, executives can set and track Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) directly related to their areas of the business and better see into the process.

Like most aspects of business, the return on investment (ROI) is key. You can’t pitch an automated order processing system to C-level executives if it means burdening an already overwhelmed IT department. They need to see that the system will make life easier. Cloud-based automation means scalability through easy setup, automatic upgrades and backups and pay-as-you-go models. It also means less pressure from electronic data interchange (EDI) exceptions that eat up IT resources and fewer errors that are common in manual order entry. Machine learning capabilities only increase the value of automated systems by finding patterns in the data and driving more opportunities for analytics.

Customer service may seem like an island unto itself inside the business, but when customers stop ordering with a business because of a poor experience, the ripple effect runs throughout the entire organization. A solid common-sense argument that is based on data and includes buy-in from key stakeholders will go a long way in helping customer service managers convince the C-level on the benefits of order processing automation. Satisfied customers drive revenue growth. Those are metrics executives will listen to.

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