Speed up order-to-cash with an integration strategy
Order-to-cash is a business process that includes all steps from order processing to payment of invoices, and is of great importance to businesses as it affects both revenue and customer relationships. Order-to-cash is not necessarily about reducing the time from order to invoicing and delivery, but increased control of the process and increased insight into data.
- With a clear strategy, and with the help of an integration engine, it is possible to decide which part of the organization should have information, when it needs it, and thus optimize delivery quality and reduce unnecessary costs.
- Increase governance: Decide which departments and people within the organization should have access to data, and when.
Increase control: Decide when orders should be forwarded to, for example, the finance and inventory system and packing. This prevents unnecessary handling in the event of, for example, interrupted purchases.
- Predict trends and identify bottlenecks: Visualize order flows, see how many products are on pick, in production, in order holding, invoices and more. It makes it easy to create key figures and in turn act faster, to create a smooth customer journey.
Swiftness is important - control is more important
In retail today, high demands are placed on a seamless and smooth customer experience where customers, for example, want to start the purchase on their mobile phone, take a look in store and then place an order on the computer. They then want fast deliveries and the option to easily return their goods.
Successful order-to-cash strategy is partly about increasing the speed of the processes and the flow of data between departments - but mainly about creating control. When an order is placed, all other systems must immediately receive a notice, and act accordingly.
In retail, for example, the largest proportion of orders are canceled within the first 30 minutes. With a clear strategy, it is easy to tell the systems not to send an ordered order to pick until after 30 minutes - to minimize unnecessary costs.
Adapt to the needs of the business and the customer
For smaller purchases, such as a crowbar or shoes, the customer would like to have as fast and easy delivery as possible. For larger purchases such as, for example, a heat pump, there may be more factors that come into play, which means that the order system needs to talk to more systems than finance and inventory - perhaps the heat pump needs to be installed by an installer. If set up correctly, the system can then wait to send the product until an installer has been contacted, booked and a quote accepted.
The first step to a flexible order-to-cash strategy
The step to an integration engine can seem big. Most businesses start on a small scale, then grow. Suddenly the order backlog is large, perhaps the company is present on several marketplaces, and the decision to change the IT structure can feel costly. Which does not necessarily have to be the case - with a clear and structured integration strategy, systems and processes are prioritized according to business criticality, where systems are connected to the integration engine afterwards.
The long-term savings are also potentially large – with an integration engine, the cost of a single integration flow can be reduced by up to 40 percent.
For e-commerce, a first step is the automation of cash flow – once this is in place, the business can achieve many operational benefits.
Working strategically with order-to-cash produces positive effects across the entire organization, not just in increased customer satisfaction. With a clear integration strategy, and with the help of an integration engine, there are many advantages to be gained, in the form of increased control and reduced costs. With a clearer visualization of data, it is possible to identify new business opportunities, find bottlenecks, see trends and become more agile.