- May 26, 2017
In business we often look at the teams in the front line as the ones that have greatest impact on productivity and effectiveness. They are also often the first place looked at when profits are not what the company expects. However, the back office is also the place where much time and many deals can be lost, especially when we are too busy to do the order processing and searching for quote, which give the customer a faster and better value service.
Often the measurements in these areas drive the wrong behaviours, a measure of how many quotes are issued or orders processed only provides part of the picture; but when combined these give us a conversion rate, which can indicate if the quote to order process is being effectively managed, or if there are issues that need to be addressed. There are other things to be considered as well relating to how many times a quote is issued and why this is required.
Moving on to how the order is processed once received, opens up more areas for consideration, do we have fixed, preferential rates with our key suppliers? Does the internal process for processing orders enable us to meet the client’s expectations? Are there the necessary checks along the way to make sure, before the goods go out the door, that they going to the correct address and person?
So now the customer has the goods how do we make sure the invoicing and subsequent payment of those invoices goes as smoothly as possible, so as to prevent, as much as possible, the need to issue credits or write off debts? Who is responsible for chasing non-payment or any invoice queries?
At all stages of this process there are a number of interfaces between different teams/departments and a detailed process flow can enable the identification of these interfaces and what needs to be done to make them more effective.
The solution is not just a new IT system to automate the process further, it is about getting the behaviours of those in the process right and their understanding of why they are being asked to do things differently to achieve what is needed.
To remove the potentially emotive nature of finger pointing as to where the problems occur, it is often easier for this exercise to be undertaken by a team from another area of the business, or a totally independent team.
At the end of the day, the answers about how to achieve these and much more will vary from company to company, but getting the Quote to Cash process right will make your business more profitable and increase sales, as it helps identify why some quotes don’t convert and allows us to get closer to our customers and suppliers in order to give, and get, the best deals, as well as reduce delays and errors in this key and often forgotten process.