It's time we had "the talk". Order Management. Are you doing it right, and is it getting done fast enough? How about James Shores speeds things up.
Hi, I’m James. This is Whiteboard Wednesday. I want you to know that I’m a Gemini and we need love too. Let’s talk about order management.
So something that every manufacturer, every warehouse, and every combination in-between has to go through, very basic – how your customers get their orders fulfilled by you. But if we can make this process efficient, no matter how basic it is, we’re going to see a big return on how much time we have, and I think also our revenue.
So let’s look at how it should function, and that is we’ve got our customer – hopefully they love us – they get their order in to us and hopefully it’s a whole bunch. We immediately turn around and schedule that order, make sure that we have the proper inventory or good to send off to them, get it shipped out. We’re going to close that order on our end, send them that invoice, and wait for that sweet, sweet payday, maybe take the wife out to dinner.
But when we get that order, and then from there on out how we schedule it and ship it, there’s a lot of delays that can happen on our end. And the more delays, the more hassles, the more errors, the more problems, the more cuts we’re going to get into our revenue.
So how can we fix that? Well, let’s look at how the paper system works. We talk about it a lot, and if you use a paper system or any kind of filing system like it, it’s not a knock on your process, it’s hopefully just to cast a little light on how you could be saving more time. So you probably have all of the files, all the paperwork, all your spreadsheets, keeping track of all the orders, the closed orders, what was scheduled, what was sent, the dates, all the stuff you need to keep for taxes later on, how that ties into your financial statements, all of that information has to be stored and managed; and hopefully is accessible in case you need it. Maybe a customer’s not happy, maybe you’re looking for trends within your own business or industry – it’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of places of human touch, possibility for human error, and it just wastes a lot of time. Really inefficient, especially in this day and age.
But if we compare that to a more automated system, a more updated system, where we have our computer and our software system and a barcode scanner. When that order comes in, it’s immediately logged; from where, for how much – we can always get access to it. We know how much inventory we have on hand because that’s already in our file. We know when to schedule it, we can automatically link it to a shipping carrier so they know when to come pick it up and we can send an email to our customer to let them know it’s out the door, here’s when you can expect to get it. You’re opening up that communication with the customer, which usually leads to repeat orders.
But you’re also able to log when you close that order, when you sent the invoice – and all that information is kept in a nice central hub. And with a barcode scanner, you scan it once and it’s done. Inventory coming in. Scanned. Inventory out. Scanned. All that information going again, to the same system – so you’re not having to refile, you’re not having to search. Really, really making that process efficient – how it should be. You’re closing the loop faster. And then at the end of the day you take all of this information and you join it with either QuickBooks or your Xero account – whatever financial package you’re using – so that it’s all there. You’re not re-entering all this information that you have back into the system doing double and triple work. It’s just a waste of time; time that you could be spending on increasing this process, sending out more orders, being more efficient, which then, in turn, helps with your customers and their satisfaction with you, their confidence in your ability to fulfill what they’re looking for.
So again, it’s very basic common sense, but it really can make a difference in keeping your company fast and competitive or kind of stuck and slow. So maybe consider an automated solution, something that will speed up your process, speed up your company, and hopefully send a boost to your revenues.
I’m James. This is Whiteboard Wednesday. Still a gemini, still need love. See you again next time.