Now that you’ve studied the stages of the Order Management Cycle (OMC) and its impact on customer satisfaction and operational efficiency, it’s time to accelerate your OMC with powerful workflow automation. Leveraging automation to optimize your systems creates an ideal workflow that eliminates waste, prevents orders from falling through the cracks, and aligns with customer-centric goals — all of which contribute to cost savings and a better bottom line. Automation has also been shown to increase employee productivity and collaboration.1 As described in Part Two of this series, cross-functional teams improve your operation’s financial outlook.
So, what is workflow automation? Simply put, it is the process of automating business processes using technology. It’s a way to work smarter, not harder. Automating processes reduces the potential for human error, eliminates time-consuming and repetitive tasks, and saves your business money. But before you can benefit from this strategy, you must analyze your OMC to discover where to implement automation tools in your system.
If you’ve already tracked an order through your process as outlined in Part Three, then you are well on your way to determining the areas of your OMC that will benefit from automation. Workflow automation will be most effective at the stages where orders are more likely to fall through the cracks or where human error is high. Review the stages of your OMC with the teams responsible for those steps. For example, work with Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) to determine if there is a high volume of input error at the order entry stage. Or, talk with the operations team to learn if there are frequent mispicks at the shipping stage. The key to analyzing your OMC is a comprehensive assessment of each phase.
After identifying the communication breakdowns and operational inefficiencies in your OMC, you can address those challenges with automation. Workflow tools streamline tasks, reduce manual intervention, and enhance accuracy, all while improving your bottom line. The business advantages of automation are wide:
All of these improvements lead to an increase in customer satisfaction and a decrease in business costs. Automation can also be a trigger for innovation; when employees spend less time on menial tasks, they have more opportunities for creativity and strategic development that boost revenue.2
As you begin to design your ideal workflow, you must determine the key steps in the implementation process. You’ve already identified the individuals and teams who will be involved, as well as the areas in your OMC that will benefit most. Next, create an implementation timeline and establish goals. Start with automating noncritical processes, such as entering customer information into a system. Then move on to more complex parts of your OMC. As you test run new tools, it’s important to be flexible throughout the process and able to adapt to feedback.
After testing the advantages of automation in your OMC, implement it throughout your process to create a workflow that is streamlined and more profitable.
An Order Management Cycle that is accelerated through automation is not only more efficient; it’s better for both customers and company profits. With automation, sales processes are completed faster and more accurately, which leads to a bump in customer satisfaction. Additionally, it contributes to a culture of continuous improvement. With manual and repetitive tasks automated, your workforce is freed from routine to instead focus on strategic thinking, innovating, and creative problem-solving. Employees have time to prioritize value-added tasks that drive revenue growth and differentiate your business.
In a world where speed and accuracy are of the utmost importance, businesses must embrace the tools that propel them forward. Automation is not just a luxury; it’s a strategic necessity. By identifying the bottlenecks and challenges in your OMC, and implementing tools to address them, you are laying the foundation for a thriving organization. The journey to automated workflows is an investment in your company’s future. The time and effort spent analyzing your OMC and designing an ideal workflow will yield far-reaching returns. From increased employee productivity to enhanced customer satisfaction, the benefits of automation will spread across your organization, driving growth and profitability.
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1. Perez, Juan. “How Automation Drives Business Growth and Efficiency.” Harvard Business Review, April 12, 2023. https://hbr.org/sponsored/2023/04/how-automation-drives-business-growth-and-efficiency
2. Bannan, KJ. “5 Ways Optimized Workflows Boost Revenue and Delight Customers.” Forbes, September 19, 2022. https://www.forbes.com/sites/insights-adobe/2022/09/19/5-ways-optimized-workflows-boost-revenue-and-delight-customers/?sh=198de816618e