Transforming the B2B Supply Chain 3/3 -15 Tips for Order-to-Cash


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In the last installment of this 3-part blog series – Transforming B2B Supply Chains – I will share my top 15 tips for improving the order-to-cash process.

holding customers

When pursuing order-to-cash improvements, many companies try to focus on the speed at which they are reimbursed (receivables). Instead, they should focus on setting long-term goals and improving customer relationships across the various departmental life cycles. Here are 15 tips explaining how companies can transform their order-to-cash process using non-traditional tactics.

1. Differentiate your organisation

Not on price, but on the quality and reliability of the service you provide, and the actionable data you can bring to the table.

2. Take away the “noise”

Remove the manual, repetitive tasks by automating the non-value-added processes across your supply chain, and release your staff to do what they are best at… serving your customers!

3. Focus on long-term customer relationships

In a world with diverse and interconnected supply chains, a short-term focus on collections can inhibit quality customer relationships that will be important in the years to come. Focus on understanding your customers, and your strategy will be well-aligned with a long-term view of success.

4. Reduce error rates

Find ways of improving accuracy by automating parts/all of every element of your order-to-cash process. Fewer errors will result in happier customers and less frustrated staff.

5. Make it easy to do business with you

For all types of customers, large and small, allow them to place orders through the various channels that suit their business, around the clock, and provide a consistent experience in all channels.

6. Make it easy for customers to pay you

Paper invoices can be difficult to process and pay within 30-day payment terms. A well-oiled supply chain machine – where order errors are eliminated, and deliveries are always on-time-and-in-full – will aid customer satisfaction, and help reduce payment discrepancies.

7. Provide incentives for on-time payment

Discounts—whether fixed or dynamic—provide incentives to speed up payment for those customers efficient enough to choose their payment date. Some customers may offer shorter payment terms in exchange for more efficient payment methods.

8. Tailor collection activities for individual customers

Some customers are at the mercy of the consumer market, while others must account for project timelines or seasonal variations. Some are behind because of lost invoices, and others are challenged by cash flow. For strategic or high-value customers, knowing the source of their difficulties can help tailor collection activities and address delinquencies without jeopardizing the relationship.

9. Encourage communication

Collections and dispute resolution may involve multiple documents and conversations to exchange information. A centralised system that is accessible to both you and your customers can help promote information sharing.

10. Do more to help your customers!

You may not want to go quite as far as offering refunds to customers, but even the most dissatisfied customers respond well to helpful suggestions for improvement. Take the next step to offer value by meeting with customers and using the actionable data that exists in your business today – leverage this use of technology, to become partners in the continuous improvement war.

11. Improve product availability and provide rapid delivery

Invest in your distribution network and service capabilities to support local needs. Utilise the new trends in load sharing, back haul utilisation and online transportation auctions.

12. Standardise collections and dispute resolution

Many parties may be involved in collections and dispute resolution, and varied processes or approaches among employees can create repetition, confusion, and poor customer service. If you can institutionalise the knowledge and processes for each customer, you can build a streamlined process focused on normalising the diverse data streams that exist in isolation today.

13. Stay ahead of the game with pre-sales credit analysis

Identify potential problems early so you can either turn away the business or adjust your terms accordingly.

14. Avoid delays – get accurate billing and documentation

Discrepancies between invoiced prices and purchase orders require reconciliation, and customers look to you for resolution. Avoid delays by ensuring accuracy before distributing invoices.

15. Regain control of the end-to-end customer experience

All of these tips are a means to an end. Having complete visibility and control of the order-to-cash process will allow your employees to get a sense of the bigger picture which, in turn, enables them to find ways of improving the individual customer experience process – one customer at a time.

Implementing these types of customer-driven initiatives will enable end users to maintain high confidence levels in the authenticity of the technology they are utilising.

If you would like to discuss this or any other topics raised in this blog series, please feel free to reach out to me, I would be happy to make myself available.

Alternatively, to read the full blog series as a white paper – download it here.

Until next time

Very best regards

Coreen Head

Client Development Director

Coreen Head
Coreen Head is a Client Development Director at OmPrompt, who believes that great customer experience is the most important Competitive Advantage that companies can maintain today. As such, she dedicates her time to educating brands on ways to embrace personalisation and ultimately create world-class Order to Cash supply chains.


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