Improving efficiency and reducing costs via order management automation
One of the most common demands for business automation in recent years is the processing of orders, payments and fulfilment. Solutions for order management automation and eCommerce order fulfilment have seen a significant increase in demand due to the growth of eCommerce and customers’ purchasing habits.
Retailers and manufacturers now have to process and manage a great deal more data, adding extra pressure to already strained resources.
In fact, in original research of 100 senior UK retailers in the UK carried out by Pricer, an electronic shelf label (ESL) provider, 52% indicated they aren’t currently able to fulfil eCommerce orders via the store network profitably.
Quite a worrying statistic considering the rise in online sales.
Order management and fulfilment are essential characteristics of eCommerce that businesses need to get right in order to maximise their profits and deliver customer satisfaction.
Therefore, in order to succeed, retailers really need to look at solutions that can help improve the efficiency and reduce the costs of these functions.
So what is the answer?
Automated order processing software
Well, the majority of businesses that have adopted business process automation solutions to manage these tasks and activities have not only alleviated these resource issues, but generally increased efficiency and profits.
“For eCommerce, particularly, we’ve got multiple sales channels, eCommerce channels and platforms. We also have a B2B portal as well that we use, which has its own API. We use BPA Platform to download sales orders, sync inventory, and manage shipments to these different sales channels,” revealed Jonathan Emerson, Head of IT, inov-8.
“We also use it for integration with our courier services as well; DHL and DPD are two examples, although we do tend to switch. Whichever we use, we’ve built integrations with those APIs to streamline our operations and make them very efficient.”
“It’s difficult to monetize the ROI, but I think we have saved a lot of business hours. Prior to BPA Platform, we had to manually check so many places to get the information we needed to be able to invoice, make sure the goods had been dispatched from Spain, find out if the client had received the products and whether the supplier had invoiced us,” said Wenjun Chen, Commercial Director, Fashion Edge.
“Once collated, we then invoice the customer, so we need to make sure all these documents are correct and added accurately. Automating all of these processes has therefore saved a lot of time.”
Image: Order management automation and eCommerce order fulfilment is easily achievable with BPA Platform
It’s a solution that more and more retailers are beginning to realise, with 26% of those polled in Pricer’s survey saying that technologies that make picking and packing eCommerce orders quicker would make them become more efficient in their day-to-day roles.
They would be right in their assumption, as Chris Booth, Managing Director at Graphics Direct, an online retailer of graphic art equipment, can validate, having automated his order management processes and stock synchronisation.
“We don’t have to think about the order processing at all. When orders are placed, we have very little involvement until it produces a picking list to the warehouse. This includes all the product locations of where everything is. We then pick everything, enter the order number into our Sage 200 system and prints out the appropriate delivery label.”
“We have developed a business solution that could probably cope with three times as many orders. That’s the beauty of it really. It’s very scalable. We wouldn’t have to do anything else apart from getting extra packing people. The software is there and it saves a lot of time and effort.”
It was a similar situation at Nottingham Forest Football Club.
“BPA Platform generates pick lists in our warehouse, the products are packaged and then BPA Platform generates and prints shipping labels ready for DPD to collect. We have also integrated DPD’s tracking system. It’s a complete end-to-end solution,” said Steve Dickman, IT Manager, Nottingham Forest Football Club
Improving operational efficiency in manufacturing
Business process automation is not limited to just retail sectors, with larger manufacturers or distributors often using dedicated Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems to manage orders, as well as specialist software to manage proof of delivery information and RMA (Product Returns & Replacements) data, such as Grant Westfield, the manufacturer of Multipanel® waterproof wall panelling.
“The orders we receive via EDI generates an XML file. BPA Platform processes and validates that file and loads it into Epicor. It is also processing files the other way – sending invoices out via email or by EDI. We also use BPA Platform to upload our delivery runs to a proof of delivery system that we use. We have some elements that use third-party couriers, but the bulk of it goes through our own transport,” revealed Mark Yates ERP Specialist, Grant Westfield
“When we get acknowledgments back from the proof of deliveries BPA Platform processes them into Epicor. We also use BPA Platform to connect to a web returns interface which is linked to our RMA (Product Returns & Replacements) data, as well as printing some internal labels.”
This sentiment has been echoed by Filtra Systems, a manufacturer and supplier of custom-engineered industrial filtration and separation solutions for multinational businesses.
“BPA Platform is now automating the taking of orders from the customer, acknowledging them, sending the tracking ID number from the shipper, and then sending the invoices after everything is shipped.
We pull data every six minutes, get the orders processed really quickly and the customer gets feedback in that six-minute window,” said Richard Lamey, Chief Financial Officer, Filtra Systems
The advantage of introducing a BPA solution into the IT environment is that it can do a lot more than just automating order management and eCommerce order fulfilment processes. In fact, the capabilities are endless.
“The flexibility of the solution really highlighted the power of BPA Platform. The solution gives us the scope to continue to improve our business processes,” explained Vim Juneja, Global Head of IT, French Connection.
“We are already discussing the different ways we can further utilise BPA Platform in the future, including looking at replacing an existing event-driven automation and job scheduling tool; assisting with the implementation of delivery management software; Shopify POS implementation; and integrating with our IBM i system.”
For more information on the benefits of order management automation and how it can help your business, download the brochure below or call us on +44(0) 330 99 88 700.