For background on this particular project, please visit Stopgap.

Situation ...

A specialty fabric manufacturing company recently extended its product line, introducing a new direct-to-customer selling model. As a result, our client expected a sharp increase in the number of sales orders. The existing sales order entry system was cumbersome and was not designed to accommodate a high number of sales orders.

Problem ...

Customer Service currently spends an estimated 50% of their time researching necessary information, such as cross-referencing product numbers, validating units of measure, verifying pricing, or looking up missing information.

The projected doubling to tripling of sales orders will overwhelm the Customer Service reps. While the selection and implementation of a new business system is planned later this year – to better align business processes with enabling technology – our client needed a "stopgap" solution to handle the expected sales order increase.

Solution ...

We developed an easy-to-use Excel application for this client's sales representatives to quickly prepare the sales order request and ensure that all required information is present before sending the sales order to Customer Service.

Sales Order Example

buttonYellow1 Required fields are highlighted until a valid entry is made.
buttonYellow2 Clicking the "Same" button prompts the "Ship To" with the "Bill To" information.
buttonYellow3 The "Add" button will automatically insert another line for the sales order.
buttonYellow4 The "Style" field is populated by user-maintainable drop down lists to ensure accuracy.
buttonYellow5 Product description and unit price are automatically populated based on the item selected.
buttonYellow6 Extended price, subtotal, and total are updated as items are added to the sales order.
buttonYellow7 Extended price, subtotal, and total are updated as items are added to the sales order.
buttonYellow8 The "Done" button validates all data and saves the sales order with a filename for e-mailing.
buttonYellow9 The completed sales order may be e-mailed to Customer Service for processing.
buttonYellow10 Clicking the "Credit Card Info" button pops up a dialog box, prompting for required fields.

This Excel application contains many techniques – such as automation of common tasks, prepopulated lists of valid data, and lookup of pricing based on volume and other factors – to help sales personnel complete the order request quickly, completely, and accurately. Once the order request is complete, the sales rep can click a button to automatically save the file – with a descriptive filename – and then e-mail the file to Customer Service.

Results & Benefits ...

This application will allow our client to efficiently handle the expected increase in sales orders received, permitting them to service this new business line and affording them time to explore a more permanent solution.

In addition, the new process ensures higher sales order accuracy, thus reducing time-consuming research and rework by Customer Service.

Conclusion ...

Our client benefited from our experience in business process improvement, using technology to help people work more efficiently, at a time when they needed a short-term solution to expedite the sales order process.

For More Information ...

To discuss how technology usage and business process improvements could be applied to the issues facing your business, call us at 336.297.4200 to schedule a no-obligation consultation, or click here to contact us online.