Automating Sales Orders: How IDP Can Help

For most, processing sales orders is manual and time-consuming. But by leveraging modern digital technologies like automation, businesses can streamline this process. Reduce expensive labor costs associated with manual data entry by automating sales orders.

Processing sales orders is a fundamental part of doing business. Whether you’re selling products or services, chances are you’ll need to generate sales orders and track customer information. For most businesses, this process is manual and time-consuming. 

But what if there is a better way?

Enter automation. By leveraging modern digital technologies, businesses can streamline their sales order processing and reduce expensive labor costs associated with manual data entry. 

Automating sales orders includes several benefits, such as:

Increased efficiency 

Automating sales orders can help your business reduce errors and increase accuracy. With fewer errors, you’ll be able to fulfill orders faster and avoid the cost of rework. 

Reduced labor costs

One of the biggest benefits of automation is the potential to reduce labor costs associated with manual data entry. Automation can help you eliminate the need for costly temporary workers or full-time employees dedicated to data entry. 

Enhanced customer service

You’ll also be able to provide your customers with up-to-date order status and tracking information. This level of transparency can help build trust and improve customer satisfaction. 

Better decision-making

When your sales order data is accurate and up-to-date, you’ll be in a better position to make informed decisions about your business. With real-time visibility into your operations, you can identify areas of improvement and make changes so that stringent quality control measures can prevent costly mistakes, save time, and improve customer retention. 

Streamlined operations

Automating sales orders can help you streamline your operations and reduce complexity. By eliminating manual processes, you can minimize the risk of human error and simplify your order fulfillment process. As a result, you’ll be able to ship orders faster and improve your bottom line. 

Improved compliance

If your business ships products internationally, automated systems can help ensure compliance with export regulations. By incorporating compliance into your automated system, you can avoid fines or penalties associated with non-compliance. 

In this e-book, we will discuss the opportunities you have to improve your sales order processes, the challenges you may face, and a solution designed to help you tackle those problems.

the opportunity sales orders

The opportunity

Manual data entry for sales orders is really expensive. Even with the advent of ecommerce and online purchasing systems, almost 50% of B2B transactions are still processed manually. That’s almost $8 trillion in annual sales!

Here’s how this process works at most companies.

Purchasing products no longer requires tedious data entry on both sides, saving time and plenty of headaches for everybody. Buyers can streamline the process by entering data into their own system and sending paper-based purchase orders via email to the vendor. 

This kind of improved efficiency prevents troublesome double entries on either side, easing the workload and allowing buyers and vendors to quickly move forward with their business transactions.

The sales process can be tedious when it consists of entering orders manually, one by one. While having a company-generated purchase order is often necessary to get the vendor’s system of record – such as an ERP or CRM software – up to date, it also means sales reps have to take the extra time to check and recheck details such as product availability and prices before they can even enter the order into their system.

Not only does this make for a slower sales process, but it could also mean mistakes in terms of accuracy for that particular purchase order if those details are overlooked.

Your goal is to move documents through the sales ordering cycle with maximum speed and precision. 

sales order cycle

This manual work is expensive and painful for your business for three reasons. 

High costs

Manual data entry can be a costly pursuit for companies, often requiring groups of full-time personnel solely to enter orders – meaning they are constantly at the expense of needed sales staff. Not only is this inefficient; it is a waste of valuable time that could have been spent growing the company by actively engaging with customers in the selling process. 

This can add a monetary strain on businesses, and that’s why order entry automation solutions are becoming increasingly popular. These digital solutions help keep costs down and provide powerful analytic insight into customer behavior, enabling staff to really hone in on what customers want and deliver better services as a result.

Lost revenue

Poor customer experiences are the result of slow turnaround times and errors, and if such problems are allowed to proliferate, it can be a sign of bad news for any business. Customer churn is very likely the result in this situation, but at the very least you’ll probably see lower levels of spending from dissatisfied customers. Organizations that aren’t prepared to address these service issues run the risk of losing customers and money.

Excessive risk

Manual data entry is an onerous task and can often result in re-keying errors which could cost businesses dearly. Generally, the data entry error rate is around 1%. This level of inaccuracy can lead to serious issues such as overpayments, underpayments, and incorrect sales orders being sent out. 

The financial implications of incorrect amounts or inputting wrong items can easily be avoided by implementing automated data entry procedures to ensure accuracy and consistency every time.

So, why hasn’t this process yet been automated?

the challenge sales orders

The challenge

The concept of automating work has been around for some time, yet companies today continue to struggle to achieve the same degree of efficiency from their automation technology tools. 

Although optical character recognition (OCR) and robotic process automation (RPA) are becoming more widespread in businesses, many organizations fail to re-evaluate existing processes to determine which ones most effectively fit the available technology. 

If an ineffective approach is used or the wrong process is chosen, it could mean that these automation technologies are neither given full capabilities nor used to their maximum potential. 

There are several reasons why these technologies are not the best choice, including:

Document layouts vary considerably

OCR (and its related technologies) is great for standardization, as it allows documents like tax returns that fit a specific format or template to be read easily. However, changes between layouts or additional information on the form can cause OCR issues, especially when dealing with various source documents from customers. 

While you may be able to rely on OCR for basic documents, it can struggle when faced with more complex documents like sales orders. As such, it’s important to recognize that OCR doesn’t always offer a one-size-fits-all solution and that other techniques might need to be employed in order to get the data you require.

Slow or non-existent validation

Many OCR systems come with a validation feature that makes it possible for users to quickly identify discrepancies in documents. However, if the system is unable to understand the document, then manual verification must take place. 

Rekeying the entire document from scratch seems like it would be easier than validating an older system manually; however, logical and business rules require experienced staff to ensure correct execution of these regulations. Even with the convenience of OCR technology and validation features, some organizations still rely on manual processes and human judgment to accurately review documents.

Lack of automations

Reading through a document is no small feat and everyone knows that. But there’s more to it than just reading through – documents need to be sorted, collated/uncollated, cross-referenced, and many other tasks depending on the specific use case. 

Even combining technologies such as OCR and RPA can still become quite tedious when done manually – especially when dealing with large volumes of data. As such, it’s important to consider having scalable automated solutions in place so that your team can spend more time analyzing the data rather than having to sort through it all. 

Lots of maintenance

Keeping your technology up-to-date is essential for keeping automations running smoothly, but can also be a tricky endeavor. Whether you’re adjusting templates or ML-based rules, updating on-premise software or dealing with outdated codebases – chances are there’s something lurking in your tech stack which is hindering progress. 

Not only does it consume manpower and slow down the business, but outdated technology may mean you’re missing out on exciting opportunities to capitalize on current innovations. Making sure your tech remains fresh and compatible with the newest advancements available means fewer headaches further down the road.

the Rossum solution sales orders

The solution: IDP

Intelligent document processing (IDP) is a powerful technology with the potential to revolutionize how companies extract data from documents. IDP uses machine learning to detect and understand content, classify documents, and take automated actions – such as data capture, validation, and post-processing – based on specific characteristics. 

In addition to saving significant time by eliminating manual document processing tasks, IDP also reduces the risk of costly errors associated with human data entry. With its reliable accuracy and high speed performance, IDP is an invaluable asset for modern businesses looking to increase efficiency and streamline workflows within their organizations.

Taking document processing to the next level, Rossum provides businesses with an innovative cloud-based platform ideal for their document processing needs. With a single source of truth, your documents can be easily taken in and seamlessly integrated with your existing systems. 

Tailoring itself to your specific requirements, Rossum also offers flexibility in customizing its solutions to match whatever configuration you may need. Moreover, all data is processed securely and accurately, thanks to its open cloud architecture and comprehensive approach. That’s why companies large and small trust Rossum for their document processing needs.

Rossum is a particularly appealing solution for PO intake for sales order generation. With Rossum helping you minimize the amount of time you spend on this process, you can greatly speed up your workflow with incredible accuracy. 

sales order cycle with rossum

Here is why Rossum is the solution you need to solve these problems. 

Adapts to new layouts

Rossum’s AI is a modern, cloud-native technology that can read documents as humans do. It can automatically detect different layouts, allowing it to accommodate changes without any additional instruction or training. 

Plus, it’s extra useful for processing multiple types of business documents – particularly sales orders. On top of its great accuracy and complexity, Rossum also ensures improved cost savings and faster processing speeds than trying to handle these documents manually. 

Lets you validate with minimal effort

Having an intuitive UI when it comes to correcting and retraining AI makes it easier and faster for a business to stay ahead of the competition. Rossum has perfected a point-and-shoot approach that is efficient at turning even the most complex tasks into speedy and accurate results. 

This includes having mathematical, logical checks, and business rules applied for extra assurance with important documents, which can be highlighted when necessary. With AI technology rapidly advancing, optimizing this process with an elegant UI helps reduce any potential need for human intervention in the future.

Reduces transactional effort

Automatic document ingestion is a must for any organization that needs to manage large volumes of data efficiently. With Rossum, you can rest assured that all your documents are seamlessly ingested from various sources, eliminating the need for tedious manual work. 

On top of that, the system is able to handle complex tasks such as deduplication, classification, routing, rotation and page splitting – allowing your human operators to focus on more pressing matters. 

Furthermore, Rossum has you covered even if any incorrect or irrelevant documents make their way into your system. By sending out contextual email responses to your business partners, unnecessary documents can be identified and filtered out right away.

A modern SaaS platform with low overheads

Rossum is an invaluable asset for businesses that aim to stay up-to-date. Its cutting edge technology stack creates performance with low maintenance, and its cutting edge upkeep makes it so that IT teams don’t have to constantly monitor the system. 

Updates are hassle-free and happen without any user intervention, plus new features are added almost instantly. Not to mention, the agile communication capabilities make it easier than ever for businesses to keep in touch with their partners in real time for more efficient collaborations and faster decisions. 

Rossum helps you get to your goal by minimizing time spent on key tasks.

Rossum customer outcomes

Case study

Challenge

Founded in 1957, the Bus Industrial Tools family run business has seen much success over the years, now operating twelve branches across Northeast Netherlands and the UK. However, a main goal of their team was to streamline and better the purchasing process for customers; while large companies took advantage of EDI to place orders, many smaller clients still preferred sending PDFs. 

Though a rule-based data extraction system was already in use for sales order forms, it proved slow and unreliable when faced with changes in each customer’s document layout. It became clear that Bus Industrial needed something more sufficient to match their growing customer network. 

Thankfully, a reliable solution was found which could be seamlessly integrated within the existing order processing processes: a real game-changer for Bus Industrial’s future success.

Solution

Today, Bus Industrial has improved their order-to-cash workflow process with the assistance of Rossum-powered technology. With this solution in place, sales representatives no longer have to put immense effort into managing and monitoring the sales process. 

Each order taken is added straight into the system, and then easily extractable data can be used to perform corrections if necessary. The team is also equipped with automation blockers which act as an additional security measure to identify orders that may conflict with custom business logic. 

Overall, using Rossum technology has positively impacted Bus Industrial’s workflow process and made it simpler for their customers and staff alike.

Impact

Thanks to Rossum, Bus Industrial has been able to drastically reduce their workload while improving internal satisfaction and customer satisfaction ratings. The user-friendly UI requires no training, allowing employees to use the system easily, while automation and integration steps handled by the IT team further contribute to the efficacy of the process. 

The company estimates that switching over has saved them more than 80% of the time previously spent on running the order-to-cash process – a result that speaks for itself.

Testimonial 

“Before learning about Rossum, I doubted that an Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) software could deliver high-quality output without investing much effort at the deployment stage. Rossum proves the opposite. After a short set-up phase, we can now process our sales orders considerably faster, with much fewer errors and higher overall scalability. As a result, the team at Bus Industrial Tools now has more time to focus on important tasks instead of the repetitive input work.

Thijs Engel, Business Intelligence specialist at Bus Industrial Tools

Start your automation journey today

With so much competition in the marketplace, it’s essential to make every sales order count. Optimizing sales orders is essential for maximizing return on any sales efforts. This means more than just forms and paperwork – it involves understanding customer needs and using those insights to harness sales opportunities that reach the highest benefit possible. 

Being able to make every sales order count can mean the difference between a successful sales outcome and a redundant one. We’ve discussed how you can improve your sales order processes for maximum efficiency, helping you to ensure no sales opportunities are left behind. We’ve also tackled the common challenges that many businesses experience in managing sales orders, providing a tailored solution designed to help. 

If you are interested in learning more about how easy it is to start automating your sales order process, please visit our website or contact us for more information. We would be happy to discuss how we can help make your business run smoother and improve your bottom line.

Processing POs and generating SOs doesn't have to be a chore

Automating sales orders is very easy with intelligent document processing (IDP). Purchase orders are automatically uploaded into Rossum and accurate sales orders are generated, eliminating the need for data entry specialists. Save time, reduce errors, and enhance the customer experience with Rossum.