While the innovation of technologies has become industry-agnostic, businesses across industries are looking for ways to boost operational efficiencies and drive business revenues. However, it’s quite surprising to see organizations still persisting with manual processes and wasting precious money and human work hours. The finance arena is no different when it comes to manual sales order entry. Sales order processing is one of the most potential candidates for automation as the manual process is prone to human errors and tiring work hours.

Automating your sales order processing comes with its own set of business benefits such as reduced costs, accelerated cycle times, better productivity, and enhanced customer experience.

According to APQC Research, automation saves businesses around $5 to $15 dollars for each sales order and eventually reduces sales order cycle time by at least 46%.

Although sales order automation is instrumental in rising the bars of customer satisfaction, many businesses still manually process sales orders that come through paper or fax. With companies getting impacted in terms of error rates and delivery delays due to manual keying, the time is ripe for them to introduce automation strategies.

The Predicaments of Manual Sales Entry

Sales order management involves quite a few departments and stakeholders within the organization such as manufacturing, logistics, customer service, sales, and accounts receivables. With most organizations deploying newer systems without retiring the old ones, finance professionals perform more than 75% of manual business tasks including manual data transfer between legacy systems.

Moreover, traditional sales order entry systems only handle structured data that includes order requests coming in the form of paper, electronic spreadsheets, or any other standardized formats. However, organizations have started receiving order requests in the form of text messages, emails, handwritten documents, and any other format with unique layouts that makes it hard for them to extract data from. Due to the constraints faced in sales orders involving unstructured data, organizations tend to ignore these data and eventually miss out on invaluable revenue.

Most businesses are still skeptic about initiating an automation project due to the investment costs, strained resources, lack of IT resources, and so on. Also, organizations usually take a top-down approach towards automation, forcing the IT teams to install and enable independent systems to automate a function.

Why Cognitive Automation?

Considering the amount of time the finance professionals spend in rekeying sales orders and pasting order entries in various applications such as ERP and CRM, finance organizations must turn to Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA with cognitive automation offers an instant solution that allows software bots to automate all the repetitive tasks involved in sales order processing.

Deploying Robotic Process Automation doesn’t require any changes to your existing IT systems and legacy applications. RPA becomes the ideal candidate for sales order processing as it seamlessly integrates sales data with all the applications including ERP, CRM, and inventory systems.

The automated workflow of RPA streamlines sales order processing in the following fashion:

  • Retrieve all the pending sales orders from emails, handwritten documents or any other unstructured format
  • Bots extract sales order data
  • Validating sales order data
  • Categorizing sales orders based on high-low priority and exception handling
  • Uploading sales data to enterprise applications

Cognitive automation warrants a 100% error-free sales order processing by leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) techniques. With the help of Optical Character Recognition (OCR), the bots automatically extract and analyze data from unstructured documents. Leveraging cognitive automation delivers impeccable results and drives business efficiencies.

Read: Thinking beyond conventional RPA using Cognitive Automation

Here’s how automating sales order entry with cognitive automation accelerates business growth:

  1. Reduced Operational Costs

With the AI capabilities that cognitive automation carries, the software bots extract key data from sales orders such as customer name, unit price, quantity, and so on. As RPA delivers end-to-end automation in this regard, companies will be able to cut down on operational costs and boost ROI.

  1. Enhanced Customer Experience

Offering 100% error-free data captures from unstructured documents, Cognitive automation improves customer satisfaction by ensuring timely deliveries of the products they want at the right location and right price.

  1. Increased Revenues

The cognitive abilities that the RPA solution provides streamlines the workflow of traditional sales order processing. The end-to-end automation of sales orders allows businesses to improve workflow efficiency and boost ROI by at least 30%.

  1. Focus on Value-Added Activities

Automating repetitive and manual tasks such as sales order processing frees up the staff from mundane tasks and long hours to shift focus on innovative and revenue-generating activities such as building customer relationships and cross-selling customers.

  1. Improved Corporate Agility

The introduction of RPA with cognitive solutions gives the luxury of managing orders in terms of cycle times, express deliveries, top-selling products, and high priority orders. Business leaders will digitally reinvent sales orders and transform legacy IT systems to cognitive RPA to expedite orders, reduce errors, and improve employee satisfaction.

RPA with cognitive automation breaks the barriers of conventional sales order processing, enabling businesses to promise a superior customer experience while boosting revenues.

If you are looking to initiate an automation project in your organization, kindly get in touch with our automation experts at [email protected] or signup for a free consultation.

To know more: 5 RPA Uses Cases in Finance and Accounting

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Sreyesh Sarma