Have you ever been flipping through the channels when nothing is on TV and found yourself horrifically entranced by something you’ve stumbled upon? I recently came across an episode of a show called Monsters Inside Me. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a show on Animal Planet that is part horror, part medical detective story about someone who has gotten ill due to some rare and terrible infectious disease. This particular episode I stumbled upon was called “Flesh Eaters.” I’ll spare you the graphic details … you can let your imagination run wild with this one. Read more
Getting Consensus Among Key Stakeholders
Sales has long been taught to seek out the magical individual who can single handedly approve a deal at a company. However, if you have ever been in the position of vetting out a business solution, you are familiar with the reality that it is rarely a unilateral decision. Today, the average B2B purchasing decision involves 5.4 people.1 The fate of a project is often determined by a group of individuals — all with different roles, responsibilities, pain points (and oh-so-many conflicting opinions).
Reaching a decision regarding whether to implement an order processing automation solution is no different. The effects of poor order management are far reaching. There is a growing emphasis on things like supply chain execution, growth management and visibility related to inventory, regulatory compliance and customer satisfaction.
Here’s a quick overview on what order processing automation is … and what it isn’t (click image to enlarge): Read more
The life sciences industry is a rapidly evolving space faced with tricky regulatory compliances, frequent spin-offs or acquisitions and high employee turnover in customer service. In order to deal with this ever-changing landscape, traditional operating models must adapt.
However, despite being an industry of innovation, it’s not uncommon for life sciences companies to be behind the times when it comes to their back-office operations. While it’s true that many life sciences companies already have an ERP/business application in place, they are still limited in their ability to streamline order management (e.g., still having to manually key in orders, dealing with EDI exceptions, etc.).
The price of not filling in the gaps of manual order processing is a steep one. With many life sciences companies having a hard time maintaining margins due to the industry challenges they are faced with, it’s more and more important to accelerate business cycles, increase operation efficiency and improve customer service. Read more
Many companies are coming to understand that automation is a tantalizing alternative to processing accounts payable (AP) invoices manually. It’s easy to see that less paper and fewer manual touch points can add up to competitive advantages across the board; such as lower processing costs per invoice, increased vendor satisfaction and enhanced reporting and analytics (just to name a few).
While AP automation is an obvious answer for companies looking to modernize their AP departments, the harder decision is whether an on-premises or software as a service (SaaS) solution is a better fit.
Moving to the cloud has become an increasingly popular trend in most industries. We store our personal photos in the cloud, we binge watch our favorite shows from the cloud, and now, we can automate our AP processes in the cloud.
Cloud-based AP automation solutions are not a perfect fit for every accounting department — companies with legacy systems and large IT teams to support them may not be as open to moving all of their data into the cloud. However, for many organizations there are numerous advantages that just can’t be ignored. This is especially true for smaller companies with leaner IT teams and less up-front capital to invest in an on-premises solution.
In the holiday movie Elf, Will Ferrell’s character Buddy the Elf instantly fell in love with the mail room at his Dad’s publishing company because it reminded him of Santa’s workshop (“Except it smells like mushrooms and everyone looks like they want to hurt me”). However, after spending a little time there, he quickly realized that it isn’t as merry and magical as he first thought.
Similarly, business professionals are well aware that internal mail houses can prove to be expensive, inefficient and unable to handle high-volume jobs during peak times.
Unfortunately, sending mail is still a necessary evil for most companies. Despite the push for electronic document processing, many customers still prefer physical mail when receiving important documents such as invoices. It can be difficult for businesses to find a balance between the desire for paperless documentation and customers’ wishes to continue to receive physical documents. This conundrum often forces organizations to work with external mail houses or spend large amounts of time and money handling internal mail rooms.
Faced with the challenges traditional mail options present, many businesses are choosing to outsource mailing operations via a hosted automation service. Business mail services allow them to take advantage of electronic processing, while the customer still gets the paper document they desire. Documents are mailed directly from their ERP, desktop or other business applications, making it 100% electronic for the sender.
So, it’s possible I have a bit of an HGTV obsession. Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, Love It or List It … I can’t get enough. I love the transformations that take place and the happily every afters that (usually) happen at the end. These do-it-yourselfers take what once seemed like a hopeless money pit and transform it into a beautiful, and profitable, investment.
Such transformations are all about increasing value and improving day-to-day life … much like inbound document automation. I know it may seem like a stretch to make that connection, but many companies who currently utilize manual methods are feeling the effects of their dilapidated process. Much like a leaky roof, manual document processing can have a truly destructive impact on business. Left unchecked, the cumulative wear-and-tear of manual methods can not only leave you behind in the times, but behind your competition.
Side Note: Wondering what I mean by “inbound documents?” I’m talking about orders, invoices, claims, prescriptions, lab reports, admission documents, referrals, radiology reports, confirmations, proposals, contracts, purchase requisitions and quotes … you get the idea.
When a business delivers a product to a customer, there’s always the possibility it will arrive with a missing component, damaged good or defective part.
Stuff happens, as the old adage goes.
But when the you-know-what hits the fan and the customer is demanding answers, the last thing your business needs is to be caught off guard.
An inefficient customer issue management system not only makes life harder for customer service representatives (CSRs) who have to clean up the mess, it can domino into customer dissatisfaction and loss of business.
Let’s face it. You know all of the reasons you need an AP automation solution (faster processing, increased accuracy, full control and visibility to name a few). But it’s never as easy as simply selecting a vendor and implementing the solution. The problem is you need to convince everyone else why you need it. The key to getting your AP automation project to the top of list is getting buy-in from upper management and other key stakeholders.
How to Propel Your AP Automation Project to the Top of the List
It is the responsibility of AP and finance managers to demonstrate how automation will not only modernize the AP department, but translate into benefits for the entire organization. By building a well-thought-out and strategic business case for AP automation, AP and finance managers will ensure their project will no longer take a back-seat to other initiatives.
This slideshare will help you start building your business and impress top executives with your automation initiative! Who doesn’t want to be impressive AND more efficient?