Sep 9, 2020

Conexiom: Optimising Your Order-to-Cash Process Flow

Conexiom
Manufacturing
Sean Galea-Pace
4 min
Optimising the order-to-cash process is vital to success. Conexiom examines how automation can improve three of the key steps in the process
Optimising the order-to-cash process is vital to success. Conexiom examines how automation can improve three of the key steps in the process...

In wholesale manufacturing and distribution, the order-to-cash process is a vital part of success. Streamlining the order-to-cash process flow helps you serve customers more efficiently, reduce delays and errors, and deploy your staff most efficiently.

To optimise the order-to-cash process, it needs to be understood as a series of discrete steps – three of which can be massively improved via automation: Order Fulfillment, Customer Invoicing, and Accounts Receivable.

A Macro View of the Order-to-Cash Process

The order-to-cash (O2C) process constitutes the entire order processing system of an organisation. It starts off with a customer placing an order, and ends with the company receiving payment. Workflows differ across companies, and orders come in via a variety of platforms, but this sequence underpins any O2C process.

The order-to-cash process is affected by all aspects of operations: labour, supply chain management, inventory management, and so on. The more quickly and more smoothly the process is completed, the shorter that order cycle times become, reducing time to revenue. What’s more, the data gathered from the invoicing and accounts receivable functions of the O2C cycle determines a company’s revenue and cash influx – meaning that delays in the process can trigger further liquidity problems.

Automating Your Order-to-Cash Cycle

For most companies, the order-to-cash process can be segmented into eight steps:

1. Order Management

2. Credit Management

3. Order Fulfillment

4. Order Shipping

5. Customer Invoicing

6. Account Payable

7. Payment Collections

8. Reporting and Data Management

Order Fulfillment

This where many companies start to let inefficiencies creep in. Even though we’ve achieved tremendous advances in technology, about 80% of manufacturers and distributors still process orders by hand. In fact, every single year, North American companies process over $7.5 trillion worth of B2B orders manually.

With manual order processing, customer service representatives manually key in purchase orders, the same thing they’ve done since the 1990s. However, since most buyers now use procurement and ERP software, this turns into a complex choreography of manual data entry and back-and-forth document exchanges.

This is time-consuming and terribly inefficient. Using a 100% accurate sales order automation solution is the smarter move. By moving beyond manual order processing, you can speed up the whole O2C process.

Customer Invoicing

According to research compiled by the Aberdeen Group, organisations that excel in their order-to-cash cycle only process 16.2% of their invoices manually. Automated processing is the more popular choice because it is faster and error-free. With manual processing, invoicing inaccuracies and delays can pile up, which can lead to cash problems, disrupting operations. Employ tools that automate your invoice processing with 100% accuracy to further streamline your process.

Accounts Payable

Automating your accounting systems can help you easily flag outstanding invoices before they are overdue. Moreover, your accounts payable team must have a quick way to review the data from your system. This will help them determine where the errors are, and speedily send back a revised version of the invoice.

Easing Your O2C Flow With Sales Order Automation

A successfully managed and optimised order-to-cash process, coupled with the right technology, helps businesses efficiently deliver value to their customers, as well as receive timely compensation for their services. Throughout the eight-step process, technological innovations can improve your order-to-cash process flow.

Sales order automation converts purchase orders into sales orders with a speed and accuracy that is beyond human teams. The technology eliminates mundane data entry tasks, drives down costs, creates resource efficiencies, scales to thousands of trading partners, and improves the customer experience. By implementing Sales Order Automation, you inject a new efficiency into the very beginning of your order-to-cash process. Everything moves faster, with fewer errors. Orders are processed quicker, cash and arrives quicker.

Getting ideal results from your order-to-cash process requires a fusion of process management, interdepartmental collaboration, and technology. Employing the right solutions streamlines the entire process and ensures smooth transitions from one step to another. Moreover, this frees up resources and personnel to focus on what matters most: providing an enhanced customer experience.

As Genpak puts it: “Our CSR team used to spend 80% of their time on order entry, and 20% of their time on customers. Now, it’s 80% on customers and 20% on order entry. And no need to backfill former employees.”

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Jun 16, 2021

Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line

Fluentai
BSH
AI
Technology
2 min
Fluent.ai and BSH announce plans to bring speech-to-intent AI to the assembly line that will increase factory efficiency and improve worker ergonomics

Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines. 

 

According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.

 

What Sets Fluent.ai Apart? 

After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.  

 

  • Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions. 
  • Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately. 
  • Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations. 

 

How Voice Automation Works

Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production. 

 

‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’. 

 

Future Global Adoption 

In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier. 

 

Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’. 

 

 

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