How to Optimize Your Order to Cash Process

by Jun 12, 2020Industry Knowledge

Ask any business professional how to improve a process, and they’ll tell you to do two things: (1) cut out waste and (2) automate. Optimizing your order to cash (O2C) process is no different.

But first things first: why do you need to improve your O2C process?

The O2C process is one of the most critical processes in your business, especially if you have an ongoing relationship with customers. Inaccurate, slow and difficult to navigate O2C processes threaten customer loyalty and impede your ability to compete.

Typical Inefficiencies in the Order to Cash Process

Identifying waste in your O2C process is step one toward creating a process that makes life easier for your customers and more profitable for your business. Inefficiencies can happen in any phase.

For instance, in the initial order management phase, you may experience redundancies resulting from outdated legacy software or even manual data entry errors.

In later phases, you could suffer from billing inaccuracies, customer disputes, invoicing delays, and a lack of real-time information about inventory details.

Companies frustrated with their O2C process often attribute their challenges to one or more of the following issues:
● Complex and cumbersome legacy system that has limited capabilities and doesn’t allow for agility in pricing
● Lack of integration across departments (eg: commercial, sales, vendors, financial, C-suite leaders)
● Lack of data integration between phases within the process
● Insufficient security, accuracy, and integration in data storage phases
● Limited IT resources being squandered by heavy legacy systems

Transforming Your O2C Process

Once you’ve identified areas of waste, you’ll need to come up with a plan to remove the waste from the process — to become more efficient.

While there may be small changes you can make in your existing process, you’ll get the most bang for your buck by automating as much as you can. In an O2C process, automation isn’t just important for a particular phase. It’s important to integrate the various phases by automating among them.

What does that mean?

Well, if you have one system for managing customer orders, one for data storage, and another for accounts receivable, you can’t help but have waste in your process because communication among all those systems takes time and resources.
Implementing a system that can automate the full O2C process in a single solution will allow you to create the greatest efficiencies and the most streamlined experience for your team and your customers.

Choosing an Order to Cash Solution

Choosing an order to cash platform must be done carefully, with a focus on long term solutions that are flexible enough to accommodate new products, services, and business models.

With a SaaS O2C solution, you’ll have the ability to make quick, frequent changes at a significantly lower price point than with an on-premise system, which will have a higher cost of ownership and is less able to handle future modifications. However, companies looking for the customization options available in an on-premise system and the agility of a SaaS system won’t find many solutions in the marketplace.

Many SaaS companies have focused on specific elements of the O2C process (for instance, billing or data management), but few have created effective solutions for the full lifecycle. Embrix is unique in its commitment to helping its customers develop a complete streamlined O2C process.

Whether you choose a SaaS or an on-premise O2C solution, you’ll want to make sure that it meets the unique needs of your business right now as well as your future needs. This analysis can be challenging, so we’ve developed a business maturity curve (include link) to help organizations determine their current and future growth.

With an effective order to cash solution, you should enjoy a streamlined O2C process
and increased revenue.

The Connection Between a a Well-Implemented O2C System and Increased Revenue

Having a streamlined O2C will certainly make your days easier, but how does it increase revenue?
After years of working with companies to improve their O2C processes, we’ve seen these benefits that lead to more money in the bank:

Customer Satisfaction

A robust O2C solution facilitates customer loyalty by offering improvements to both employees and customers. An effective O2C process can provide greater access to real-time data to help with personalization and segmentation, innovative upselling and cross-selling, as well as tailored resolution in the case of customer disputes.

Faster Time to Market

An efficient and adaptable O2C solution allows rapid deployment of new products and services — even entirely new business models. While bringing a new product to market could take months (or years) with a heavy on-premise system, you could launch a new business model in weeks with a lighter SaaS solution.

Improved Data Management

A well-integrated O2C system allows companies to integrate data like pricing and inventory information easily. In addition, reporting via complex data sets can help to inform business strategy at a nuanced level, enabling the creation of personalized products, services and billing solutions for valued customers.

Faster Invoicing

SaaS O2C solutions allow new levels of automation at all levels of invoicing so that teams can accurately track and access all associated data in real time at various touch points. Having this data at their fingertips helps both AR departments and customers.

Improved Payment Collections

Automation of the invoicing collections processes can allow for the creation of rules — like automated statement delivery or automated input of payments made — that lead to faster and more accurate payments.. And on the flipside, automated discounts or other incentives can be offered to customers who pay on time.

Optimizing Your Order to Cash Process

By considering your company’s existing and future needs and choosing an O2C solution that can change as you grow, you can:
● Rapidly deploy unique products and services in line with your specific business goals
● Manage orders, inventory, billing and collections accurately and in real time
● Streamline customer service, improving retention through greater access and personalization
● Reduce errors throughout all phases of the order and billing processes
● Employ user-friendly technology for both customers and staff

Embrix offers a complete set of order-to-cash capabilities for businesses at all stages of business maturity.
Speak with a specialist today to learn how Embrix can help accelerate your time to market so you can start generating more revenue now.