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Posts by Chris Denz

How Do You Process Fax, Email and EDI Orders?

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Manufacturing and distribution industries are intensively competitive. Projects geared toward reducing the cost of sales order processing while improving the customer experience will be never ending. There are many proven tools and emerging technologies; of course, each comes with varying degrees of cost, benefit, change and risk. Read more

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Optimized B2B Order Processing for Customer Service and Supply Chain: EDI, eCommerce, and … Esker?!

On average, business professionals receive 84 emails per day. It makes sense that we’ve heard from business and IT leaders: “If a technology provider wants to introduce an idea, it better be a BIG idea!”

To me, big means strategic. A big idea rises to the top of a list that’s a mile long. Big ideas get executed. Big ideas not only exceed their purpose within the business, they make people’s work lives more fulfilling.

So, what’s my big idea for manufacturing and distribution companies? Ok, ok admittedly it’s not on the scale of the wheel or electricity being invented.

4 big picture challenges Esker addresses

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An Order Fulfillment Challenge: Chipotle vs. Coffee

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Over the last 12 months my coffee shop chain of choice has lost my loyalty (and money) due to inefficient customer service. It’s really too bad. I love their coffee and for many years happily paid $3 for it, but the time it takes to get a regular ‘ole cup of coffee has resulted in shifting my relatively significant coffee budget to other providers.

The Tale of Two Order Processing Scenarios

My decision was confirmed while traveling a couple of weeks ago, with no coffee alternatives, I stopped into one of their stores, and I timed them to find out how long really took to get my cup-of-joe. It took 6 minutes and 43 seconds to get my coffee. I like my coffee dark with no room for cream, minimal prep required. There were 13 people in line ahead of me–many of whom ordered food, which is why I’ve concluded the Baristas (or cooks / servers?) can’t crank out beverages with the efficiency they used to. No doubt the number of products this chain now provides has increased many factors over the last decade. If my math is right, I counted 93 food products marketed on their website. Understandably, they’re trying to grow their business, and they have historically proved incredibly successful at doing so. The question is: At what cost to the core business that drove that growth? Read more

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Fax Processing in Healthcare: From an Antiquated Fax Infrastructure to the Cloud

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fax - cloud - healthcare - HIMMS - HIOs


It’s been nearly two and half years since I wrote a blog entitled Fax as a Service vs. The Direct Project. Re-reading this blog I laugh at the fact I managed to use the word “evangelizing” and “fax” in the first sentence. While much has changed over the last 30 months, I’m not sure my blogging skills have improved, and after a recent customer visit and coming across this article Health Data Exchange Mired in Paper, I’m not sure much has changed in terms of the Direct Project and other Healthcare Information Exchange initiatives geared at taking the fax and paper exchange of out of Healthcare.

To this point, a HIMMS Analytics report states:

• 64 percent of the Health Information Organizations (HIOs) reported that sharing data with hospitals not participating in a HIO was conducted via fax
• 63 percent of the same HIOs processed faxed information into an electronic format via scanning
• 42 percent of respondents characterized their output/print environment as “high effort”

While I am 100% in favor of a better way to exchange Healthcare information, I continue to emphasize (evangelize, even) that no one is going to invent a ‘switch’ to flip that will eliminate faxing in Healthcare. My guess is that it would require many, many years and a slow, but strong decline of fax communications.

With the steady and yet troubling use of fax, there are 2 types of questions that I hear Healthcare organizations ask themselves:

Question 1: Technically, how do we manage fax?

  • Antiquated, paper producing fax machines for sending and receiving faxes?
  • How do we implement Fax software, fax boards installed on server with dedicated Telco that enable sending fax directly from Healthcare applications along with receiving fax documents electronically?
  • A Cloud-based fax system?
  • What about tools to streamline processing the documents—OCR, workflow, and user interface for document and data validation and electronic archival? Read more

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Enhancing SAP Order Fulfillment and Two Fundamental Choices

Another vendor, that in many ways is very similar to Esker, recently blogged about a project they did with customer, 3A Composites. Esker and B2B both provide Cloud-based solutions that are implemented with minimal cost and an Agile approach. Both of our solutions bring efficiencies to order fulfillment, enhance customer service, and provide visibility and analytics to a critical business process.

The title is “Embracing Faxed Orders with your SAP integrated B2B eCommerce Website”, and what’s particularly interesting about 3A Composites is that they were able to solve both sides of the order improvement equation in a very short time. What I mean is that when companies identify that they have to improve order fulfillment and customer services they have two fundamental choices: Improve internal business processes or provide tools to their customers. Read more

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Fax as a Service vs. The Direct Project

I spend a good bit of time evangelizing secure, scalable, efficient, cost effective fax communications in the Healthcare industry, so naturally I am intrigued by the Direct Project.

“When healthcare organizations, providers, and patients exchange information today, they’re likely sending paper through the mail or fax. The Direct Project aims to improve this process, making it faster, less expensive, and more secure.” Read more