Esker recently teamed up with APQC (American Productivity and Quality Center) to dig deeper into the benefits of automating the sales order process.
Surveying 167 representatives from organizations with either high-transaction volumes or just-in-time inventory strategies, we dug into the trifecta of process improvement: better, faster and cheaper order management — and automation’s role in achieving that.
Adoption of automation
Nearly half (48.5%) of respondents have already completed implementation of an automation solution with the next majority (37.1%) currently implementing one. Only 4.2% of respondents are not considering a sales order automation solution.
Of those who are still evaluating whether to adopt or not, 39% are still assessing which technology is best for automation and 33% are reviewing the business case for investing. Need help getting a winning business case in place? We’re got you covered.
And the survey says…drumroll please…There is a significant correlation between automation and cost reduction. Comparing sales order costs between top-performers and bottom-performers using digital vs. paper-laden methods, there was found to be savings of $5-15 per sales order when using automation.
Per $1 billion in revenue, the number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) managing sales orders for companies who had not started an automation project vs. those that had completed one showed a stark difference. Respondents who have not implemented an automation solution stated 10.02 FTEs were responsible for managing sales orders vs. the 6.94 FTEs needed by companies who have completed an automation project.
By moving from a manual to an electronic workflow, automation reduces the cycle time from when an order is received to when logistics is notified. With manual operations, it takes an average of 8.6 hours; meanwhile, with an automation solution, it takes an average of 4.6 hours — a cycle-time reduction of over 46%!
Improved customer service
The top realized benefit of automation was improved customer satisfaction. Surprising? Maybe to some. Disappointing? Not at all. Better customer service keeps customers coming back to your company, which is what keeps you in business.
96% of respondents agree or strongly agree that automation boosts customer satisfaction. With less to worry about when it comes to the processing of sales orders, employees are free to focus on value-added activities like serving customers. In fact, 34% of respondents relocated employees displaced by automation to customer-facing positions.
Although automation tends to be an abstract term, the results are not — as this survey demonstrates. Even better, the results of automating sales order entry are consistently positive. Find out for yourself — to see the full results download your copy here.