Well, it’s time to face the music, this much is certain.
The days of paper are coming to an end...at least, that’s the vision that was laid out to me back in the day in 9th grade when we read Ray Bradbury’s iconic book Fahrenheit 451. The temperature contained in that novel is the precise temperature at which paper ignites and it’s definitely an interesting read. If fact, I think there are more than a fare share of people who lead operations in functions like the Accounts Payable process, Accounts Receivable remittance process, and even the sales order process who would probably like to see this come to fruition...at least theoretically. For my part, it’s a scary notion, especially the mechanical hound, but I digress.
While I don’t think paper will ever be fully eliminated, as it’s too effective a medium to convey data between disparate systems to go entirely out of existence, I do think it’s a reality that fewer organizations will be encumbered by it as time passes and technology advances and the way we work evolves.
So with that in mind here are four considerations for why you should look to a document process outsourcing approach in processing your sales orders.
The big four:
1. Time is money. - Accounts Receivable, in healthy organizations, is a great indicator for the vitality of an enterprise. However, you don’t get to jack up your AR number without some kind of sales, and if you’re not a retail environment that is capturing those sales through a point of sale interface or a web retailer with dynamic e-commerce, then you’re like the rest of the world that gets to kick off an invoice to your customer after they’ve place their order. This is not a bad thing, but in fact a fun thing, and maybe THE most fun thing. However, if Sales Orders pile up and don’t get processed quickly, products won’t get turned around and AR invoices will be stymied in their outflow, which is all a big pile of yuck. Because time is money, and because AR is fun to process it stands to reason that you should put into effect a strategy to turn it around lickety-split...enter document process outsourcing. Oh yeah, you’ll get paid faster, so there’s that too.
2. Sales orders contain mucho data. - While some are simple and straightforward, others may contain complex tables of information that need to be mined out and dumped into Accounting systems to trigger services or order builds. Either way, that data has to get from the sales order document into the end accounting system, and what better way than harnessing OCR to do the heavy lifting of data entry, all while boosting the accuracy throughput rate. That makes a heckuva lot of sense and has the added benefit of not breaking the bank, which tends to keep executives deploying technology solutions pretty stoked. The bottom-line is that you don’t want your most valuable asset, your people, bogged down by decades old processes where the lowest common denominator is the burden of data entry.
3. Customer participation. - In most cases of transactions, customers like to be included in the process. Now, it’s one thing to try force behavior adoption upon your pool of customers or suppliers, as that is something that only the biggest and baddest can do…(Walmart anyone?). If you’re a smaller company, then good luck trying to strong arm your customers into doing business your way and besides who wants to go through those kinds of gyrations. However, where vendor portals have failed many companies that have deployed due to their inability to effectively convert large volumes of customers (sidebar, ugly truth - that’s because people are inherently lazy and don’t want to do anything that makes their life more difficult than necessary), it is a reality that if you use a document process outsourcing approach that synthesizes OCR for the data conversion, cleanses the data through human validation, and ultimately provides storage in a cloud based repository, then it makes sense and good effect to provide a window into that, especially one that clues the customer into the status of their order as an optional benefit to doing business with you.
4. Bringing these kinds of solutions in house is tough. - Duh. That’s why our vision is to provide that as a service to folks who have come to that realization. Besides the fact that it is a niche set of tools required to automate a document process, you get saddled with the extra hindrance of having to staff up for the person whose responsibility managing and optimizing the system will be. Oh yeah, then there’s the fact that most executives are going to lean way in favor of dropping money on things that help them GROW the top line of the business, not trim the bottom, so that’s a consideration as well. Either way, the DPO method for Sales Order processing is not only viable, it’s vital if you want to find ways to slash costs and boost performance in your business.
There’s some other similar concepts we bandy about over here that we think you might dig as well. Until then, rock on and consider amplifying your sales order process through a DPO approach and create your own psychedelic rock opera in your back office!