In today’s business world, the word “automation” is synonymous with cost savings and increases in efficiency, and often, improved levels of customer service. Indeed, every functional department within the typical company is a candidate for improvement through automation. And that includes your supply chain and logistics operations.
One of your company’s most critical operational areas is order management. That’s because it affects your customers’ experience. According to an article on the website Digital Supply Chain, order management automation—once the responsibility of customer service departments—is shifting in some organizations to internal supply chain groups.
In fact, there are four ways—according to author Dan Reeve—an order management system could improve your supply chain operations:
1. Reduce hard costs
Order management systems work by transforming traditional, paper-based processes into an electronic workflow. “Consequently, you can reduce hard costs by eliminating paperwork, office consumables, and equipment required to process orders manually.”
One of the biggest contributors to hard costs within the supply chain is order entry errors, which are hard to avoid in manual environments. Automation, such as optical character recognition (OCR), reduces errors by removing the possibility of human error.
2. Minimize soft costs
Often overlooked soft costs are unquantifiable activities exempt from balance sheets that can have a significant impact on supply chain performance. “For example, it’s common for customer service representatives (CSRs) to spend at least 20 percent of their time manually processing orders—a time-consuming task that generates more costs than the value it creates. What’s more, the slowdowns created by manual touch points in the supply chain can interfere with meeting customer SLAs, potentially impacting your business reputation and future sales.”
With order management systems, data is instantly captured and accurately fed into the supply chain, which frees up CSRs to better serve customers in other ways.
3. Improve visibility
“The increasing complexity of supply chain management makes visibility a necessity for owners to mitigate risk, cut costs and meet or exceed customer SLAs. Recently, the Aberdeen Group found that organizations believe ‘improving internal cross-departmental visibility’ and ‘streamlining processes for easier monitoring and enhanced visibility’ to be the top two strategies for alleviating the pressures of today’s supply chain costs and complexities.”
Automation delivers added oversight via customizable dashboards containing key performance indicators (KPIs) that help users monitor performance and react quickly to prevent problems early.
4. Enhance the customer experience
The role of the supply chain is to transport goods quickly and efficiently to customers. If anything interferes with the delivery of a product, it can adversely affect your clients’ experience with the organization. When a company employs order management automation tools, your CSRs have more time to work directly with customers, which ultimately improves customer satisfaction levels and retention.
Want to know more about why supply chain and logistics leaders should implement order management systems? Read the full article on Digital Supply Chain.