Luxury Chocolate Manufacturer
Digitising Customer Service
This luxury chocolate manufacturer has become one of the best known premium chocolatier brands with 750 boutiques and shops across 84 countries. They were expanding rapidly and supplying a greater number of high street retailers in addition to their boutiques, travel markets and intercompany / intracompany operations. However, it is this growth which presented them with new business challenges, particularly when it came to scaling order management processes to meet the increase in demand.
Their digital maturity in the order management process was in its infancy and not particularly scalable. Their existing EDI solution was too expensive, and the service offering did not meet their business requirements. Some intercompany /intracompany orders were managed via an old web portal which wasn’t as robust as it needed to be, and all other orders were being keyed into the ERP system manually by the customer services team. All customer orders from Asia, Canada, Europe and the USA are managed centrally by the Belgium office.
Manual customer orders were received by their customer service team as faxes, emails, PDFs and spreadsheets and then keyed into their ERP system BPCS. The sheer volume of orders and checks that needed to be completed meant that the customer service team were struggling to reduce this cycle time. This meant that the customer service team were finding it difficult to respond to increased customer demand, order exceptions and confirming a customer order. If orders could be inputted into BPCS as soon as they were received, then Day Sales Outstanding (DSO) performance could improve to ~$1 million. These process inefficiencies were negatively impacting cashflow.
Their existing process meant that the all orders processed in Belgium had to be checked manually. These checks, including but not limited to, seeing which country the order originated from, which customer placed the order and the products ordered had to be completed before the order could be entered into BPCS. On average this could take roughly 10 – 15 minutes to complete per order. The receipt of EDI and non-EDI orders combined with bespoke validation steps per customer meant that governance of the overall process was a challenge. The customer service team could not effectively monitor and track orders as they were received and processed nor which exceptions to prioritise.
•Reduce the time the customer service team spent team manually entering orders into BPCS
•Improve order processing turnaround times
•Achieve an order entry automation target of 100% (or as close to possible)
It was OmPrompt’s ability to cater for EDI, manual and web portal customers for all regions via a single managed platform that was of interest.
ZeroTouch automation for non-EDI sales orders
Ability to control business compliance rules and manage by exception
SelfServe – B2B ecommerce portal
Automated creating of intelligent order acknowledgements
Single view of all orders in one place
SolutionThe automation project started in March 2018. The rollout plan was designed to onboard customers with the highest order volumes and customers who were the most time consuming to process. These customers were identified by OmPrompt as ideal EDI candidates. With permission, OmPrompt’s onboarding team (part of the wider managed services team), contacted each customer to setup the EDI connections for the sales order. The onboarding team took full responsibility for setup, end-to-end testing and deployment activities. As part of a phased approach, OmPrompt managed to connect the first EDI customer, Amazon, in just one week as it was a strategically important customer. Optimising the order capture process for manual customers involved catering for all the different formats. Customers that were onboarded onto the OmPrompt platform used the ZeroTouch capability. ZeroTouch allows data to be extracted and processed without the need for a customer service agent to get involved. Customer orders are forwarded to the OmPrompt platform and turned into a fully automated order. A key component of any solution was to enable them to set and control the specific business process rules for each operating country, customer and product. For example, automating the process of checking if the products a customer was requesting could be fulfilled to that Ship-To location, managing order changes, preventing duplicate orders from being processed, calculating the correct delivery date, charging category (free of charge or not), and performing unit of measure conversions. From a repository of existing rules in OmPrompt’s Business Rules Engine, the onboarding team configured a series of validation steps and business compliance rules which replicate the checks and controls the customer service team were having to perform manually. For some of these checks, the solution extracts unstructured data, sometimes from within the body of product descriptions, to identify specific words and phrases. Depending upon the word or phrase found different values or exceptions are attributed to the order. When an exception is found a member of the customer service team will review the order via an intuitive web-based portal. Users are directed to the specific exception to make the process as efficient as possible. Once resolved they can then release the order so it can continue to be processed. This ensures that the order data is both business and technically compliant before it is sent to BPCS. The customer services team can now manage by exception as opposed to checking every order.
As part of the drive to improve customer experience, this manufacturer wanted certain customers to receive order acknowledgements immediately after orders had been received and processed by OmPrompt. Using the platforms email distribution and PDF creation capabilities, OmPrompt created an order acknowledgement template and setup the automated notification process. Once an order has been processed the appropriate recipient, which is determined automatically by checking the validated Sold-To and Ship-To against a master data set, an email notification is sent with the order acknowledgement attached to it. The purpose is to proactively confirm to the customer what they have ordered and to set out service expectations. For example, the email contains a calculated expected despatch date. This prevents customers having to contact the customer services team to find out when the order will be despatched and reduces the volume of inbound order queries the customer services team need to manage.
OmPrompt also replaced their web portal with SelfServe, a simple B2B ecommerce solution which allows end users to place orders at anytime on any device. Importantly, it enabled them to control what and when customers can order as well as where customers can order to.
The leverage of the OmPrompt platform continues apace and future projects are focused on maximising the power of the platform to automate other order management processes and improve order-to-cash process monitoring. One such initiative, which capitalize on the fact all orders are processed via OmPrompt, is to support more advanced order management monitoring objectives as part of a drive to continually improve the customer experience. The partnership with OmPrompt now enables them to acquire new customers with the confidence that specific customer requirements can be easily managed and controlled, and, increases in volume can be absorbed without needing to scale the customer services team.
Freed customer contact resources who can now focus on engaging with customers
Order processing turnaround time reduced from 48 hours to less than 15 minutes
Are able to cope with 50% of the team off without any unnecessary pressure