In the 21 years that Triangle have been developing software we have probably developed more sales order processing software than anything else. This is not because we specialise specifically in this type of software but rather it is what most businesses want.
This is understandable as the majority of businesses sell goods and or services as their core business and whilst purchasing or warehouse software may be of interest, the number one priority in the first instance is Sales Order Processing.
It is for this reason that we have chosen this type of software the topic for our first in a series of articles about different business applications. Part 1 of this series covers the reasons why we are asked to develop sales order software.
So why do businesses approach Triangle Software to help them with their sales process? We have listed below some of the more common reasons business owners and senior managers have indicated to us as their reasons for software assistance.
Many of our clients approach us as their business grows beyond the point where the owner can no longer control the whole process themselves. They are probably using a spreadsheet to manage their sales order process and have over time developed a workflow which they carry out on each sales order however, as they expand, they need to delegate part or all of the sales order process and are reluctant to lose the control that they have previously had. Inevitably, this issue is a barrier to expansion and hence a barrier to increase profits. Indeed, if control is lost, the increase turnover gained by expansion may actually lead to reduced profits (see my post on back office systems).
As mentioned above, many businesses start life by processing sales on spreadsheets. These methods are error prone as there is generally little in the way of data validation within the spreadsheet and much of the data is copied from other documents be they other spreadsheets, emails or faxes (yes, many of our clients still use fax to receive orders!). The ensuing errors damage the businesses reputation and cost money to correct.
Similar to cost control, where the process is more complex than a simple "quantity of product" errors occur in processing the sale. Examples include "kit of parts" type sales where the buyer requests a single product but this is satisfied by supplying a collection of "sub-products". Similarly, a simple concept like minimum order quantity or pre-packed boxed quantity can lead to errors which are expensive to correct.
Knowing what a business has available to sell, either because it is in stock, or because it is due to arrive in stock imminently, has a key affect on the sales process and without comprehensive software systems even the most complex of spreadsheets finds it hard to process orders without significant risk of errors or delays.
Even when a business has moved on from spreadsheets they may well find that non-integrated systems slow down their ability to take and despatch orders. A common issue we hear is that the goods in process requires that stock is put on the shelves prior to it being able to be picked. This leads to the madness that the warehouse staff receive a goods in, put the goods away, confirm this to a computer system and then immediately are instructed (by the computer system) to get the goods off the shelves for a despatch! (more on this in Part 2).
These then are some of the reasons we are given for our clients looking for more integrated sales order processing software. We will look at specific examples of these, and our solutions in later posts in this series.
If you recognise any of these issues and would like to improve your sales order processing, contact us now on 01477 571 940. To leave us a message, of view our contact information click here.
Part 2 is now available here.