It’s likely that your teams are spending a lot of time pulling and reviewing external data in order to resolve exceptions in the O2C process. They may be logging into or searching customer websites to find missing master data, remittance advice, or researching disputes and deductions. They may also be reaching out to customers to check invoice status, send invoices, statements, and proof of deliveries, and obtain promise to pay information. A lot of these steps can be reduced, if you can successfully automate the process.
Onboarding a new customer is your first opportunity to make a good impression. When customers interact with you they don’t want manual processes, tedious paperwork, and lengthy approval times. Powering a customer onboarding process that is digital in nature, quick, 24/7 available are a few things that make up the beginning of a successful relationship with your customers.
Credit checking your new clients or suppliers is already an essential task to ensure your business is protected, but in these times of uncertainty, it is especially important to monitor the creditworthiness of your customers. You only have to think about how big names such as Carillion, Gaucho, Toys R Us and Maplin who all entered administration in recent years, to see that a big name is not a guarantee of payment.
When it comes to any sort of sales activity, a large component of time is spent on administrative tasks which could easily be streamlined through automation. We see 'easy wins' it comes to processes such as managing enquiries, customer data and reporting, with other opportunities around the qualification of leads and creation of sales quotations. Although much of the quote to order process will need manual oversight, this is still a process that can benefit from the standardisation that will come from automating.
The processing and fulfilling order processing is tied to customer experience as well as your company’s O2C success. Although there are a plethora of online ordering tools available, the scope of these tools differs wildly and there are few true end-to-end system that can work across CRM and ERP functionality, especially at enterprise level. This is where automation can bridge the gap.
Accounts Receivable is a great example of an area where on the surface the processes can appear simple, but are in fact more complex and time consuming than many would imagine. Most accounting departments rely on outdated, ad hoc processes to get their work done. Help them be more productive by automating.
Cash flow remains the number one killer of businesses today. For too long forecasting the future has been dependent on old data, but with live data organisations can be better informed. Tools such as RPA can take data from disparate sources and fill in spreadsheets, ERPs or live dashboards.
Automation in customer facing roles has generally seen a negative backlash, especially where complaints are concerned. The thought was that in replacing people with robots, customers would feel their interactions were colder and this may be true. The use case for automation in these areas is not to replace people but to ensure that those people have the right information faster, have less paperwork and can serve the customer faster and more efficiently.
Automation vendors can provide the technology, but in order to implement and tailor that technology to your organisations bespoke needs, a partner can be instrumental.
Proservartner is an international consulting firm. For over a decade we have brought together people, processes and programmes to solve problems and implement change. Founded in 2008, our background is large scale business transformations and process excellence for global companies such as Fujifilm, JLL and Xerox. In the last five years we have seen automation advance into a useful tool in creating lean, efficient processes.