If you are a small-to-medium-sized distribution business with plans to stay in business, efficient sales order processing is undoubtedly one of your main focuses. But determining the best course of action when plotting your order processing strategy can seem overwhelming. That's why keeping a few key considerations in mind while you work to determine the best solution for you and your business will make evaluating your options a much easier task.
Save trees, time and money with an all-digital system
This first consideration might seem obvious today, but a surprising number of companies have been slow to make the switch to a strictly digital order processing setup. Not only does a digital system save paper, it also saves your company time and money. Paperless systems are much easier to maintain and organize—plus much harder to ruin with spilled coffee.
When choosing your ERP software, look for one that doesn’t rely on printed versions of sales documents or tether you to physical paper.
Plot out the best workflow for your sales documents
No matter what you call it, all sales documents go through what we at SalesPad call “workflow.” Workflow is the series of steps that a document is sent through in order to complete the transaction.
Each type of sales document needs a clear path through your system. Additionally, all members of your team need to know this path and be able to check in on a document’s progress through it. By firmly defining the workflow for your documents, you’ll eliminate the potential for confusion or bad communication preventing your orders from being completed on time.
Make sure that your sales order processing solution supports digital workflows and makes it easy for you to create, edit and manage multiple workflows for all of your different transaction types.
Stay organized with classes and types
Speaking of different transaction types, how long does it take for your sales reps to fill out an order from a repeat customer? Are you able to quickly determine how many wholesale orders are being fulfilled or how many drop-shipped purchase orders are out for delivery?
If your ERP solution supports the use of classes or types (or both) to categorize your customers, sales documents, vendors and more, the answers to these questions are only a few clicks away.
Using categories like these not only helps you figure out what’s happening with any given sort of customer or transaction, it also speeds up data entry across the board. By assigning repetitive but necessary information to each category, you’re able to “roll down” that information to individuals within that category with the click of a button.
For example, when creating a profile for a new “wholesale” customer, you don’t need to assign them all the different traits that apply to any wholesale customer (such as discount percentages, price levels, payment terms, etc) if you can simply assign the wholesale customer category to that consumer (we call these customer classes). Once the “wholesale” category is assigned, all the other fields auto-populate with the correct data.
It’s not hard to imagine the time savings, especially when using classes or types for order entry. Keep this top of mind when evaluating your ERP solution, and make sure you’re taking advantage of these capabilities if they’re available to you.
Find the ERP solution that will promote growth
At the end of the day, the best way to ensure successful sales order processing is to find the ERP solution that complements and strengthens your overall business practices. Your ERP software is your biggest ally when it comes to the nitty-gritty aspects of day-to-day business operations.
There’s a lot more to an ERP solution than sales order processing methods, of course. Join Columbus Global’s Lunch & Learn with Partner Sponsors session during the Let’s Learn LIVE: Virtual Summit—it’s a lot more than what we covered here.