In an ideal world, a customer will submit a product order and a company’s processes will fulfill that order with no further interaction between the customer and the company. This ideal scenario, however, is more of an exception than a rule. The company’s productivity and its profitability will suffer when its sales and order process requires multiple customer service calls and hands-on management before any products get to a customer. Further, if customer service representatives are unable to locate information about customer orders, each call lasts longer and adds increases the company’s order fulfillment costs.
Next-generation salesforce order management software is now changing this typical sales and order process. The experiences of companies like Bailey International, a Tennessee industrial component manufacturer, reveal one of the many ways in which that software can improve productivity with better sales and order processing management. Bailey integrated a software system into its customer service call center that matched incoming caller ID’s with customer orders and that brought up those orders on a service representatives screen as soon as a customer call was answered. Along with other process improvements, making that information immediately available allowed Bailey to reduce call answer times by 15 percent and to cut call abandonments by more than 60 percent. These productivity improvements also translated into lower telecommunications costs and a customer experience that is more likely to lead to repeat business.
Call center improvements are only one avenue for better productivity in sales and order fulfillment. Every sales and order process inevitably brings supply chain management to the forefront as well. The online retailer, Candy.com, was able to improve its sales and order processes to fill large orders from big box stores by streamlining its supply chain operations to reduce the need to key in information more than once. Salesforce order management software that integrates with supply chain management will aggregate supply and order data to allow all parties in a sales and order process to monitor order status and shipping information, to manage drop shipments of products, and to reduce data entry. Productivity improvements are almost automatic with this integration.
Companies that are seeking similar productivity improvements would do well to listen to some typical observations from employees who are on the front lines of sales and order fulfillment:
- Salespeople would be more confident if they had real-time knowledge of inventory levels, which would allow them to assure customers that products will ship quickly.
- Orders that are sent simultaneously to shipping and billing departments will save time and reduce errors caused by documentation that crosses different paths and by multiple manual data entries that might be keyed in incorrectly.
- Better forecasting will lead to better manufacturing scheduling and completion of finished products that can be placed into a sales and order processing environment.
Salesforce order management software collects and disseminates information from all levels of corporate operations both from and to the parties that need that information to effectively and efficiently process orders, even as those orders change or as customers have questions or need more information about them. To the extent that productivity improvements come from reducing the amount of time between order placement and fulfillment, that information flow is the lubricant that facilitates this time reduction. At the same time, back office manufacturing, order processing, and shipping and distribution personnel will appreciate how their jobs are simplified when all relevant information that they need to do their jobs is readily available to them.