If sales are at the core of your company’s operations, then the purchase order (PO) represents the final — and perhaps the most crucial — step in the sales process, ensuring that the customer’s order is fulfilled.
For a business that deals in high sales volume or complex purchase orders, there are many potential pitfalls that can result in errors, order delays and other issues that adversely impact customer experience and the company’s profit margins.
Historically, the process of entering purchase orders into the company’s database has been performed manually. But manual data entry carries a high risk of error. After all, to err is to be human, right? Fortunately, there is a solution that can improve accuracy and efficiency, while boosting your company’s return on investment.
What Matters for Purchase Order Entry Automation?
When considering automation for your company’s purchase order entry process, there are a few key points to consider. Machine learning (ML) technology can be paired with optical character recognition (OCR) software to achieve good results with a healthy ROI.
Speed – Human data entry is — for the most part — a slow, arduous and tedious process. Automation through the use of machine learning-enhanced OCR software allows you to speed up the rate at which your company can process purchase orders. This translates into faster fulfillment and a happier customer, which leads to more repeat sales and higher profits.
Accuracy – Purchase order entry mistakes can be costly. A company may be forced to either sell an item at the wrong price, resulting in a loss. Or they may need to go back to the customer to request additional funds because the original price was incorrect; that can lead to a very negative customer experience. Eliminating human error is clearly a key consideration. By automating the purchase order entry process using ML-enhanced OCR technology, you can dramatically minimize and even eliminate errors entirely.
Ensure lowest shipping and delivery costs – A small error on product weight, size or customer zip code can have a very dramatic impact on shipping and delivery costs. Unfortunately, it’s usually the business — not the customer — who “eats” this cost and that cuts into an organization’s profit margin. By improving the accuracy of your purchase order entry processes, you’ll minimize this kind of error thereby ensuring that you maintain the lowest-possible shipping and delivery costs — without undercharging the customer.
Ensure correct negotiated pricing – As mentioned above, using the right technology will empower you to eliminate human error from the equation. When you have confidence that your numbers are correct, you can enter into negotiations without hesitation. This allows a business to negotiate prices effectively, ultimately delivering a maximum benefit to both the customer and the company.
How Does Automating Purchase Order Entry Benefit the Customer?
An organization’s customers will enjoy some significant benefits in terms of overall customer experience as a result of purchase order entry automation. The improved processing speed alone is perhaps one of the most noticeable upsides — one that can mean the difference between a loyal repeat customer and a one-and-done customer experience.
Lower cost of processing means cost savings – Automation brings cost savings due to the improved speed and efficiency. Reducing the amount of human intervention that is required to process purchase orders subsequently lowers costs. This savings can be passed along to the consumer, which in turn, makes your company’s offerings more competitive in the marketplace.
Faster, more accurate billing and payments – Automating purchase order entry processes results in faster and more accurate billing, which is ideal for clients and customers who prefer a speedy transaction. When a customer receives an invoice promptly, this also increases the chances that your business will see a prompt payment. Not only is machine learning-enhanced OCR very effective at processing structured data, but human error is essentially eliminated from the equation. That allows the company and the customer to avoid that dreaded, awkward phone call to discuss an inaccuracy.
Boosting customer confidence – Nobody likes inefficiency and errors; a bad experience to this end may prompt a consumer to call into question a company’s overall competency and reputability. After all, if a company can’t process a simple purchase order in an efficient manner, can you really trust the quality of their products? This really underscores the importance of maintaining a streamlined, efficient process for purchase order entry. When you deliver a positive customer experience in one area, customer confidence is usually extended to your company as a whole.
In today’s highly-competitive marketplaces, customer experience matters more than ever. This is true no matter your industry. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, customers expect accuracy, speed and convenience. Lower cost makes you more competitive too. The right technology — namely, machine learning-enhanced OCR software — will allow you to achieve all this and more as you automate your purchase order entry processes. The end result will be a win-win in the form of a strong ROI for your business and a higher degree of customer satisfaction.
The key is finding the right platform for your exact needs and then configuring that machine learning technology so that it improves and grows more sophisticated over time. At iTech, we specialize in today’s most in-demand technologies as we guide clients in their quest to make the most of their data. Contact the iTech team today to discuss how the right solutions can transform your data processing capabilities.