Technology & Supply Chain Relationships with Customers & Suppliers


Effective order handling involves everything from encouraging initial interest through to stimulating repeat business.

Automating your order process can bring together all departments that handle the order, from website or sales reps to warehouse staff.

Ideally, your whole ordering process should be:

  • Fast – orders are processed more quickly
  • Flexible – tailored to the individual customer and responsive to their needs
  • Efficient – cutting down administration processes.

If placing an order with your business is fast, flexible and efficient, you are more likely to make the sale and to encourage the customer to come back for more. So, while several factors – price, quality of product or service, range of goods, being in stock – are vital to achieving sales in the first place, a responsive, fully automated fulfilment procedure can also play a key part in overall customer satisfaction.

Get netted

Buying online is the preferred choice of more and more people. It is now seen as quick, safe and easy, allowing people to shop around and order goods without leaving their home or office. If your business doesn’t have an e-commerce website, now’s the time to take advantage of the internet – your competitors may already be online.

Get the most from being online

If you already have a website, think about whether you are happy with it and whether it is bringing in the extra orders that you expected it to. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the service you’re getting from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) good enough? Are you paying too much?
  • Do you have a fully transactional website? Can customers browse for goods, place orders and make payments online?
  • Is your site linked with other facets of your business?

Smooth processing of orders

Automating your internal systems can help achieve the speed and efficiency you need from order processing. Using electronic systems to transfer information between your purchasing, stock control, marketing and accounts department will lead to greater efficiency and faster order processing times. By connecting your suppliers and customers to the system, everyone in the supply chain can benefit – customer orders that arrive in your system can be transformed into orders to your suppliers, so that they can benefit from more timely, accurate order information, with invoices sent and processed automatically.

Orders Best Practice Implementation Plan

1 Evaluate how orders are processed

  • You need to see what links there are between sales, planning, purchasing and so on. Simple software is available to help you map out your processes and highlight the links.
  • Consider using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that will tie in your ordering processes with other facets of your business, such as planning, manufacturing and marketing. Off-the-shelf packages are available at a low cost. Alternatively, you could opt for a bespoke system, tailored to your particular industry and supply chain – this is a more costly option.

2 Work out how you want to work

· What changes will bring you the greatest reward in terms of time and money? This will give you a set of objectives that you can refer to when buying or developing automated order processes.

3 Research your customers

  • If you don’t have an e-commerce presence on the internet, ask your customers if they would like to be able to order from you via your website.
  • If you already have an e-commerce website, does it have a user feedback channel so that customers can let you know what they think of the site?
  • You may want to link your systems to those of your customers. Find out what systems they use and determine if yours are compatible.

4 Getting the most from a presence on the internet

  • Make sure establishing your site is part of a coherent business strategy
Technology & Supply Chain Relationships with Customers & Suppliers business advice – Crown Copyright © 2004-2011
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