How much time, effort, and estimation goes into figuring out how much product is available for your sales team to promise? Reduce the workload and improve accuracy with automated order promising.
Sales success relies on a seamless order process. If you cannot fulfill an order, your company cannot generate trust with its clientele. Even worse, customers will look elsewhere for the products they want, which impacts your company’s bottom line. With the typical economic bounce back anticipated in this McKinsey report following the COVID-19 crisis, fueled by activity such as the acceleration of digital shopping, being able to meet and maintain customer service levels will quickly become a defining factor in post-pandemic business growth.
The top challenges facing businesses when it comes to promising orders include growing supply chain complexity, inventory variability and capacity issues, limited visibility into alternate sourcing, and latencies when processing and providing firm order dates.
However, there is no need to let issues crop up after a customer places an order. With an automated order promising solution (AOP), your salespeople and e-commerce platform have accurate real-time estimates of how much product is available to promise (ATP) or capable to promise (CTP) so orders will never go unfulfilled due to lack of available inventory.
What is Automated Order Promising?
To understand automated order promising, let’s first consider how a customer typically places an order for a product.
Generally, a customer representative handles the customer’s order or they place it online via a self-service e-commerce portal. In either instance, the customer requests the product they want, checks availability, finalizes their order, submits payment, and waits for the products to arrive.
The process should be fast and simple to complete, but it can be imperfect if the customer rep or
e-commerce platform fails to confirm that the products in the order are available to promise.
If a company cannot provide real-time insights into its product inventory, there is a risk of orders being placed that cannot be fulfilled. When that happens, the company either needs to take special action to fulfill the order (often at reduced efficiency and profit) or reach out to the customer and let them know the order cannot be fulfilled. At this point, the customer is going to be frustrated with the sales experience.
A poor sales experience alienates your customers. At the same time, it can damage your bottom line and create an opportunity for your business rivals to exploit.
With an automated order promising solution, you have real-time insights into your future product inventory. The solution makes it easy to share details about what products are currently available to promise as well as capable to promise with customer service representatives and customers.
How Does an Automated Order Promising Solution Work?
An automated order promising solution is built on in-memory processing and analytics. It leverages an active digital twin of your supply chain built on a wide range of product and supply chain data to enable business users to see which products will be available at any given time.
Customer representatives can use the solution to provide customers with details about the stock at their disposal. That way, representatives can accept orders and ensure they are fulfilled as expected. Also, if a product is out of stock, these representatives can offer alternatives or provide a timeline of when it is expected to be available again.
4 Benefits of Automated Order Promising
Key reasons why businesses use automated order promising include:
1. Improved customer satisfaction
A company that consistently fails to fulfill customer orders will struggle to grow. By using automated order promising, you can provide real-time insights into which products are and can be available. Sales team members can then use these insights to complete customer orders and ensure they are fulfilled as quickly and efficiently as possible.
2. Better decision-making
With automated order promising, you can better understand supply and demand across your product line. These insights let you establish production priorities and shipping strategies. As a result, you can make fast, informed decisions to continuously improve operations.
3. Time and cost savings
An automated order promising solution empowers your business to review supply chain patterns and trends. The solution helps identify ways to bolster and speed up your supply chain processes. Plus, you can use the solution to explore ways to lower supply chain expenses, at the same time accepting more inbound orders with significant time saved.
4. Effective risk management
Even a single mistake in the order process can cause a company to lose customers and damage its earnings. An automated order promising solution minimizes risk throughout this process. The solution ensures your sales team can always access real-time product inventory information and allows your business to perform what-if analyses to prepare strategies for sudden shifts in product demand.
Why Should Your Business Take Advantage of Automated Order Promising?
Effective supply chain management requires you to prioritize ATP. Yet keeping track of supply chain data and transforming this information into actionable insights can be difficult, especially if relying only on ERP systems that provide limited visibility into the supply chain network. If your company cannot manage and analyze this information well, it risks missing opportunities to support its sales team and customers. You may also encounter problems trying to foster trust with your clientele, particularly if you cannot fulfill their orders as requested.
Automated order promising takes the guesswork out of the order cycle. The solution extends the value of current ERP or Order Management systems and empowers a business with product inventory insights it can use to handle orders and meet customer expectations.
Logility offers an automated order promising solution that allows companies to evaluate and optimize their available-to-promise, capable-to-promise, and profitable-to-promise capabilities. Learn more here.
Product Manager, Integrated Business Planning
David Pinsoneault brings more than 15 years of experience in supply chain planning and supply chain planning systems to Logility. He provides a unique combination of business and systems support knowledge to successfully capture and translate business requirements into technical and product solutions. His experience includes full cycle product development of new software solutions and functionality, as well as functional implementation consulting.