Your company is only as good as the processes you rely on. Like cascading dominoes, even the smallest detail of your processes can drastically affect your products and bottom line. Just think of all the multimillion dollar enterprises that have recalled products. That faulty result is the consequence of processes breaking down because of errors and bottlenecks managers didn’t correct.
No matter what your business does, you must safeguard your processes from mishaps while making them as productive as possible. Not only do productive processes help you reach your goals faster, but they also keep your customers happy.
One example is the sales order process, which wholesalers, distributors, and suppliers use to confirm orders with customers after receiving a purchase order in traditional and e-commerce transactions.
In the sales order process — as with all business processes — you can reap the rewards of productive systems with adjustments that cut waste and save money. In fact, nonprofit research organization APQC found in 2016 that top-performing companies spend about $5 managing each sales order while those with low performance metrics spend around $40 per sales order — all because of various inefficiencies.
Here are a few ways to boost the productivity of your sales order process.
Cut down on human error
Manual processing increases the risk of inputting the wrong information. Even getting one number wrong means wasted time for your team and unnecessary complications for your customers, which stain their experience with your company. An old address, a misspelled name, mistyped credit card numbers, an incorrect discount amount — all of these errors are the result of employees inputting the wrong information.
Reduce the instances of manual data input by optimizing your data-collection and storage system. One way to do this is by using Jotform Tables, which stores information from Jotform’s customizable forms to create customer databases.
Here’s how it works: Clients fill out online forms, which your team uses throughout the sales order process. The information submitted through your forms populates the associated database in JotForm. You can integrate your database with a number of third-party tools so your employees never have to retype the information and risk making a mistake.
Reduce repetitive tasks
Tedious, repetitive tasks are not only the bane of your employees’ existence — they’re also detrimental to your company’s potential. When you reduce repetitive tasks, you gain time to focus on higher-order concerns, such as enhanced customer service and goal planning.
In the sales order process, repetitive tasks include accepting a purchase order workflow, creating a sales order from the PO, getting approvals from key decision-makers and stakeholders, making copies of the sales order, and sending it to several parties — the customer, warehouse, and accounting team among them. While necessary, these tasks can drain workers, lengthen order completion times, and confuse inventory managers if they’re performed manually.
In manufacturing and distribution, about 30 percent of orders aren’t completed on time because of manual processes. The solution is automation, which takes sales approvals off your hands.
One way to automate is with Jotform Approvals, which allows you to build an automated approval process in minutes through a combination of online forms and conditional logic. Automatic notifications and reminders ensure that decision-makers don’t miss approval deadlines and that customers hear back on time.
Jotform Approvals also offers templates you can customize to create a sales order process for your entire company or even for specific circumstances or clients.
Take purchase workflows online
Thinking about an office often conjures up pictures of multiple filing cabinets. But paper has little use in a modern office. Sellers who rely on paper forms attach themselves to all of their disadvantages, such as increased clutter and longer processing times.
Even electronic options can become cumbersome. Multiple versions of PDFs can get lost in inboxes and take up space on computer hard drives. Plus, every version of a sales order is a new opportunity to make a mistake.
On the other hand, when employees conduct each part of the approval workflow online, they boost their process productivity with the advantages of the cloud, such as instant communication and real-time data updates.
Online forms — like those from Jotform — streamline processes to please both buyers and sellers. These forms integrate with a wide variety of third-party software to collect payments, accept electronic signatures, and work with customer relationship management and accounting programs.
The health of your customer relationships — as well as your company’s effectiveness — is determined by the quality of your sales order process. By incorporating more productive practices into the process, you free up time so you can work on customer relationships and improve your company overall.
A tool like Jotform helps create the systems that allow your workers to perform at their best and gives you peace of mind.