Category Archives: Sales Order Processing

Pelican Products, Inc. Improves Sales Order and Invoice Processing with Esker’s SaaS Solutions

Sydney, Australia — March 21, 2018 — Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced it is working with Pelican Products, Inc., a leader in the design and manufacturing of protective cases, temperature-controlled packaging solutions, portable lighting systems and rugged gear, to automate its order management and accounts payable (AP) processes. 

Pelican chose Esker’s Order Processing and Accounts Payable automation solutions to streamline its processes, fill gaps in productivity, provide higher levels of visibility and allow for scalability within its business. Thanks to SAP-certified integration, orders and invoices are now electronically processed with machine-learning technology and automatically entered into the system.

Optimised order processing

Prior to using Esker, it took Pelican’s Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) up to thirty minutes to enter large, complex sales orders into the company’s SAP® system. Today, Pelican is processing fax, email and electronic data interchange (EDI) orders significantly faster, with order entry cycle times below 5 minutes which is a reduction of more than 80 percent.

“Esker gave us the most bang for the buck,” said Paul Sohn, director of business Applications at Pelican. “It provides a greater level of visibility over both the number of orders in the queue, as well as those entered into SAP. Our goal is same-day order entry, which Esker helps us achieve on a consistent basis.”

EDI order integration

With Esker’s solution, CSRs are now able to process EDI orders in the same workflow as fax and email orders — even those containing exceptions — without needing the IT department to correct issues. Delays due to EDI exceptions previously resulted in financial penalties for late shipments and reduced productivity for IT staff being pulled away to help fix errors. Pelican now benefits from streamlined processing of EDI orders, reducing processing time from what used to be days to just minutes.

Since implementing Esker, Pelican has been able to:

  • Reduce order entry time by more than 80 percent; from 30 minutes for complex orders to about five minutes
  • Maintain headcount; managing growing order volumes without adding staff
  • Accelerate delivery time; getting orders entered up to one day sooner to avoid late delivery fees
  • Improve visibility; custom dashboards and reports allow for 100 percent visibility on every order
  • Streamline order processing; all orders, even EDI, are routed through one shared workflow

Streamlined accounts payable

Like order management, Pelican’s previous AP invoicing process was also hampered by manual touch points. Slow processing times and lack of accountability over authorisations were two of the primary issues the company aimed to resolve. With Esker’s Accounts Payable solution, Pelican now has a more structured and transparent process for the accounting staff and management. This centralisation has allowed Pelican to respond to vendors more quickly and reduce the occurrence of late payments. Instead of searching through email or paper copies for invoices, they are now easily found in Esker’s solution.

“We can accrue invoices entered into Esker and see what’s been approved and what’s still pending,” explained Sohn. “The visibility it has brought to AP has made approvals easier and payments faster. It’s expedited the entire process — a major time-savings tool.”

About Pelican Products, Inc.

Pelican Products, Inc. is the global leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance protective cases, temperature controlled packaging solutions, advanced portable lighting systems and rugged gear for professionals and outdoor enthusiasts. Its products are used by professionals in the most demanding markets including fire/safety, law enforcement, defense/military, aerospace, entertainment, industrial and consumer. The company operates in 21 countries, with 22 international sales offices and six manufacturing facilities around the globe. In Europe, the company does business under the name Peli Products, S.L.U.


Center of Gravity

Recently, I came across an excellent blog from one of our partners, Intelestream. The post was about  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and some things to consider when implementing a CRM solution. Something that really jumped out to me was what Intelestream referred to as the “Center of Gravity.” By this, they mean that in every business environment the workflow will revolve around two or three key pieces of software that have a huge impact on the business.

Where this can become a problem for a company is if the software being used is the wrong tool for the job. What can make it worse is that the longer employees have been using any software, the more resistant they are trying something new. This is true even if the new software solution is specifically designed for their business process and has obvious advantages. Changing the Center of Gravity within a department is not easy but it is an important consideration when looking to implement any new software application and ultimately improve how a department does business.

Here is an example. Many companies use Outlook for their email. This is a very effective tool for communicating, however, it is not always the right tool for the job. I have seen a number of companies that use a shared inbox to receive and manage orders that their customers send to them via email. Outlook is great but it was never designed to be a queue for processing incoming orders. There are limitations when you have the wrong tool as your department’s center of gravity. In this example, the critical information is on an attachment. It is not easy to search of a specific attachment or priorities orders. You may see hundreds of emails but how many are orders? How many customers asking for express shipping? Besides the limitations with any tool that is not designed for this specific business process, you also have limitations and the communication with other applications or interoperability. To learn more, check out the blog: 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Manage Your Business Process via Email.

If you are looking to improve operations within your company ask a department what is their Center of Gravity. Then ask yourself is that the right tool for the job? Consider what this department could accomplish if they had the proper tools for the job.

How to Start Building a Successful Customer Experience Program

By the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and quality as the key brand differentiator. In other words, brands that don’t work on improving their customer experience will be left behind.

Customer experience is more than a trend or buzzword — it will play a pivotal role in the future of marketing and has an insightful ability to predict where a company will be 5-10 years down the line. What should you be doing, if anything to prepare for this change?

First, what is customer experience?

On a basic level, customer experience (CX) refers to how a customer perceives their interactions with your company. How does your customer feel at every touchpoint they have with you, from marketing to sales to support? CX is ultimately defined by the consumer, which means businesses need to actively adapt and set themselves up to exceed expectations.

Should you be investing in this?

Joe Hanousek, Esker’s Customer Experience Manager, believes that every company needs to be tracking their customer touchpoints and working towards continually improving that process. He often says that: “Seventy percent of senior executives in companies believe that CX is important. In my opinion, the other 30 percent shouldn’t be executives.” So much of the B2B focus is on lead generation instead of improving customer experience, although most people are well aware that it is less expensive to keep existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. Companies mistakenly start looking into customer experience as a last resort once they’re suffering, but customer experience is best as a proactive approach, taken when business is growing versus lagging behind. The graph below shows just how valuable an investment in improving customer experience could be.

How do you begin?

If you’re just getting ready to work on improving customer experience, aim for C-level sponsorship. It won’t go very far unless there are people at the top behind it, so do the research you need to convince someone to back you up. Most executives are aware of the importance of CX, but still aren’t taking active steps to improve upon it. If you haven’t already started in a few years, it’ll be too late.

Next, be sure you’re ready to invest a significant amount of time and human resources into building a solid customer experience program. At Esker, the process took a full year to go from conception to having a Customer Experience manager and a team in place. It’s a good idea to have at least one person fully devoted to customer experience and multiple people from different departments committed to being a part of the CX improvement process; otherwise, CX can easily become a task that is swept away on an already busy to-do list. This will also depend on executive buy-in, as far as whether the need to have a customer experience manager or team is understood.

Finally, it is important to communicate the goals of the customer experience program throughout the organizationEveryone should be on board and kept up to date. As Joe puts it: “It’s not C-Level people or managers that make customer experience better — it’s the staff working directly with them.” Educate, train and update all those who interact with customers at any level on what needs to be done to improve those important touchpoints.

The beginning stages of our customer experience journey.

Joe’s biggest recommendation for those starting to work in CX? Change your perspective. “It is not an area for problem customers to go to, but rather a way to prevent customers from ever having the problem in the first place,” he explained. As staff focus on offering solutions to immediate problems, the CX team should be looking into why those problems happened in the first place, and if there is anything that could be done to fix that.

Customer experience goes beyond customer satisfaction or happiness. A successful customer experience program will work to prevent problems before they arise, delighting your clients past the point of mere satisfaction. CX has become more of a trend in the past two years, but it is definitely here to stay for the long haul. If you have any questions about the process we went through to build our customer experience program at Esker, or about customer experience in general, leave a comment below and we will respond to you!

IPC Global Solutions Processes Orders Faster and More Accurately with Esker’s Cloud-Based Solution

Sydney, Australia — February 20, 2018 — Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced that IPC Global Solutions, a manufacturer and distributor of automotive aftermarket filters and wiper blades, has automated its order management functions using Esker’s Order Processing solution. Implemented in the cloud, the solution is integrated with the company’s SYSPRO ERP system. 

Receiving more than 350 monthly orders in a variety of formats (e.g., EDI, fax, email, etc.), IPC’s process of entering orders by hand was costly and inefficient — particularly the duplicate data entry it took to create an internal purchase order for the company’s own manufacturing and distribution sites overseas. Some orders were up to 300 lines and took over 30 minutes to process, placing a burden on the company’s Customer Support Representatives (CSRs).

To help IPC handle the significant increase in business it was experiencing, it sought a solution that would accelerate order processing, reduce administrative spend and scale with the company. Esker’s solution met IPC’s needs and more, offering a superior easy-to-use interface, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology and a broad range of functionality at a better price than the competition.

Benefits from automated order management

Since implementing Esker’s Order Processing solution, IPC has achieved substantial benefits, such as:

  • Faster order processing: what previously took five to 30 minutes now takes two minutes or fewer.
  • Increased accuracy: OCR, combined with machine learning technology, has boosted order entry accuracy.
  • Improved customer relationships: orders are now being received more quickly and accurately.
  • Centralized workflow: all orders are accessible on a single platform and no longer tied to a single person, allowing others to step in when an employee is out of the office.
  • Expedited shipping: faster processing means orders are now shipped almost a day earlier.
  • Freed-up staff time: employees are able to focus on higher-value tasks, like a future Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system update.

“We had a staff member who was hesitant to make the transition to Esker’s solution,” said Darlene Mancuso, customer support manager at IPC Global Solutions. “Now that we’ve implemented it, she tells us she doesn’t know how she ever did her work without Esker. Our employees enjoy using the solution.”

About IPC Global Solutions

IPC Global Solutions, headquartered in Taunton, MA, is a leader in the private label filter and wiper blade business. With a 35-year heritage of supporting the very best names in the automotive aftermarket, IPC has built its success on delivering quality products and service to customers around the world. IPC is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company with manufacturing and distribution facilities in the United States and China.

HEINEKEN Spain Delivering Improved Customer Service Using Esker’s Order Processing Solution

Orders are now being processed five times faster thanks to automation

Sydney, Australia — February 13, 2018Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced it is working with HEINEKEN Spain, the leading developer and marketer of premium beer and cider brands including Heineken®, Cruzcampo, Amstel and Buckler, to automate its order management process. HEINEKEN was looking to improve customer response times, reduce manual handling of errors and increase visibility over orders received via all channels. 

Within a few months of implementing Esker’s Order Processing automation solution, HEINEKEN was able to significantly accelerate its order management process by reducing the average time to process an order from 170 to 30 seconds (five times faster).

HEINEKEN receives an annual volume of more than 40,000 orders via fax and email. Thanks to Esker’s machine-learning capabilities and intelligent image-recognition technology, HEINEKEN’s Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are able to process orders without any human intervention. After just three months of solution implementation, over 50 percent of orders were fully automated without needing user validation. Today, 74 percent of orders are validated with no changes required.

Intelligent automation

Esker’s solution extracts all order data (e.g., customer numbers, product codes, quantities, ship to addresses, etc.) and automatically matches it with HEINEKEN’s master data. Once read, interpreted and validated, the order is sent to HEINEKEN’s SAP® system. Orders are automatically split by product type and multiple orders are created in SAP for one order document. Order data metrics are visible on the dashboard homepage, resulting in greater visibility to the work carried out by the customer service team.

“Thanks to Esker, our customer service team is more efficient and has been able to spend more time on higher-value tasks which have increased customer satisfaction,” said Luis Fernández-Palacios, order management manager at HEINEKEN’s Department of Logistics and Customer Service. “Our team is thrilled with the functionality and flexibility Esker has brought to their daily work, and with how quickly and easily the solution was implemented.”

Next steps

Esker is already working on several enhancements to enable HEINEKEN to deliver increased value to its customers, including dispatch advice, invoicing and managed returns. HEINEKEN is also interested in automating its Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) orders with Esker to achieve 100 percent visibility over all order reception channels.


HEINEKEN Spain is a subsidiary of HEINEKEN, the world’s most international brewer and leading developer and marketer of premium beer and cider brands. Led by the Heineken® brand, the Group has a portfolio of more than 250 international, regional, local and specialty beers and ciders. The company is committed to innovation, long-term brand investment, disciplined sales execution and focused cost management. HEINEKEN Spain has more than 110 years of history in Spain and four factories located in Madrid, Valencia, Seville and Jaen where more than 10 million hectoliters of beer were produced in 2016.

Through “Brewing a Better World,” sustainability is embedded in the business and delivers value for all stakeholders. HEINEKEN has a well-balanced geographic footprint with leadership positions in both developed and developing markets. It employs over 80,000 employees and operates breweries, malteries, cider plants and other production facilities in more than 70 countries. Heineken N.V. and Heineken Holding N.V. shares trade on the Euronext in Amsterdam.


How the Life Science Industry is Changing


I was recently reading up on President Trumps proposed taxpayer budget, wondering “What will it mean for patients, hospitals and numerous other life science customers that Esker serves?” Regardless of one’s political leaning, most supply chain leaders tend to agree that healthcare costs continue to rise.

After a recent conversation with analyst firm Gartner, I took away that hospitals are facing increased demand, higher costs and there is a definite expectation that Medicare funding will be reduced. There is a new culture where hospitals must consistently improve patient outcomes, their education of doctors, and lower overall hospital costs.

Life science providers can anticipate more demand for their products as medical professionals become more comfortable with medical devices and joint replacements. A good friend of mine who is a retired airline captain, tennis player and ski instructor jokes about a hip replacement procedure being required at one point in the future as it means he will be able to maintain a lifestyle close to what he has enjoyed so far. Who doesn’t want to play tennis or coach their grandkids to play ball? I recall an HBR publication that highlighted many babies born today have an excellent chance of becoming centenarians assuming a healthy lifestyle and access to best in class care and life science applications later on.

The life science providers are combining processes and technology that allow them to lower production costs, improve overall quality and get products to the hospital faster. These manufacturers are likely to be doing more business with the hospitals via direct channels in the future. To meet the increased demand and price pressures they will have to be able to handle a significantly greater scale of customers placing orders directly.

Supply chain leaders are aware that customer experience will dominate purchase decisions within the next three years. For that reason, we find ourselves talking with supply chain leaders as they look to embrace machine learning that will help cut out errors, boost staff productivity and enhance the overall supply chain experience as the supply chain tends to have more touchpoints with customers than the sales team.

There is an incorrect perception that these efficiency goals can only be achieved if every order flows through without any touches. Life science leaders including Alere and Biomerieux focused on reducing the number of touches needed by combining people, process and technology to great effect. Bayer lowered order management time from 7 mins to 58 seconds. Alere cut nearly four minutes and lowered the number of touches from 17 to 2.4.

Regardless of who is in charge in Washington D.C,  the population will rely more on life science. Those providers are going to be busier and, for most, technology is going to allow them to keep up.

The Business Case Backing Order Processing Automation

Creating a culture of great customer service is tricky. One of the largest challenges for departments looking to boost customer satisfaction is bandwidth. Do your team members have enough time to start focusing on helping customers versus manual tasks like data entry and filing documents? If not, it’s time to make the case for a solution that removes manual activities and helps businesses achieve top-notch customer service.

It should be a solution that benefits not only customer service but your entire business. We’ve got just the thing: Order processing automation.

Bettering customer service with automation

Thanks to machine-learning technology, an electronic workflow and digital archiving, order processing automation streamlines even the most complicated processes to overcome challenges like:

  • Unhappy customers because of order errors, lengthy processing times and poor support
  • Low staff productivity due to a high level of manual tasks
  • High costs resulting from excess paper, re-shipping orders and other inefficiencies
  • Order errors due to staff manually entering data
  • Low visibility and accountability over the process
  • Difficulty reporting and lack of reporting on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

What may seem like a benefit for customer service teams translates into benefits for the entire organisation. From wasteful spending to customer churn, the impact of manual methods in order processing is widespread — and so are the benefits of automating it.

Getting buy-in from upper management doesn’t have to be a daunting challenge. We’ll show you the ropes on what to sell, how to say it and who to talk to, to get your project approved.

Building a business case for order processing automation

Want the best shot at getting c-suite’s approval? Building a strategic business case is what you need. Follow along as we guide you through solution knowledge and strategies needed to make your dream of order processing automation a reality.

It’s 2018. Time to step into the future and step up your customer service standards with order processing automation.

Interesting Automation Facts

As more millennials hit the workforce, businesses are forced to adapt their antiquated processes to accommodate for this tech-savvy, educated group of individuals. As a result, businesses now more than ever are investing in automation technology to streamline manual, cumbersome tasks — allowing their staff more time to focus on strategic operations.

But automation technology is nothing new. As it turns out, many people don’t know a lot about the history of automation. From when it started and why, to who has leveraged it — there are many surprising facts spanning the topic.

Whether you are reading this for fun or to find a fact to help enforce a business initiative, here are five interesting facts about automation technology that you may not know.

5 Interesting Facts About Automation Technology

  1. The Greeks used it.
    Although it may seem like a new technology, automation dates back to ancient Greece. The Latinization of the Greek automaton, or “acting of one’s own will”, was first used by Homer. In fact, complex mechanical devices are known to have existed in Hellenistic Greece, including the only surviving example of the earliest known analog computer — the Antikythera mechanism.
  2. There was a Golden Age.
    The period from 1860 to 1910 is known as “The Golden Age of Automata”. In Paris, many small family-based companies of automata makers flourished. These rare and expensive French automata continue to attract collectors from around the world.
  3. There are lots, and I mean lots, of technologies to choose from.
    From 2016 to 2017, marketing automation alone saw a 36% rise in vendors (source: MarTech). Automation has been adopted in every industry, each using it to solve problems unique to their sector. Information Technology (IT), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Numerically Controlled (NC) equipment, robots, and Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) are just a fraction of the different technologies currently available.
  4. There’s a type of automation named after Detroit.
    “Detroit automation” consists of moving parts from one machine to another while automatic adjustments are made to the positioning of the tools that shape them. For example, when a block of wood goes into the end of one machine, and a finished wooden doll comes out of another machine.
  5. Esker on Demand, a document process automation technology, has automated the amount of pages equivalent to the weight of nearly 10,000 sumo wrestlers.
    The amount of paper we use today is excessive — it’s been estimated that in the U.S. we use 65,395,000,000 sheets of paper each day. Document process automation lends a helping hand by reducing unnecessary paper consumption while optimizing business processes.

Know of any other interesting facts that should be included? Let us know below in the comments!

Is Your Sales Order Entry Process Affecting Your Days Sales Outstanding?



Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) is one of those key indicators that ultimately indicates how streamlined your order management process is — how quickly your product or service gets to your customer and how efficiently they pay you. There are many areas within an organization’s process that can affect this.

I’ve seen companies shave 3-5 days of DSO just by switching from paper/mailed invoices to electronic invoice delivery. However, recently, I’ve been learning just how much DSO can improve even more. One notable area of focus is the sales order entry process — a process that, if not working efficiently, can negatively affect customer service and DSO.

I had the privilege of sitting in on a presentation by Adrian Posteraro titled:  “Overcoming the Negative Business Impacts of a Manual CS Work Environment”. Adrian’s background is quite impressive with 27 years at MEDRAD and heading up Global Customer Support and Global Customer Satisfaction, as well as being responsible for maintaining Business Excellence and Regional Field Service. It’s safe to say that Adrian is more than qualified to speak on behalf of his experiences.

MEDRAD Sales Order Environment Before Esker

MEDRAD previously had a 100% manual sales order entry process, with orders taking anywhere from 7-10 minutes to be fully entered into the ERP system. Aside from the burnout of customer service agents, there were some particular manual sales order entry processes that affected customer service, and, most notably, DSO.

MEDRAD was dealing with backlogged order processing, and missing same-day shipping requests. Order entry errors were creating issues with getting invoices paid, resulting in rebills/re-invoicing. Additionally, the collection department was spending excess time chasing down payments. MEDRAD needed to improve the sales order entry process to mitigate these issues to improve customer satisfaction and DSO.

Sales Order Processing Automation with Esker

What happens when you automate your sales order entry process with Esker? You achieve world-class results! Esker customers consistently see their order entry error rates decline, (i.e., less rebilling/re-invoicing) and backlogged order entry disappear since orders are getting out the door faster and more accurately (i.e., invoices get paid faster).

Which brings us back to square one — improved DSO — which I started out by describing it as one of the key indicators that helps determine how healthy and efficient your order management process is. Now that your gears are turning, what benefits would automating your sales order entry process help your company realize? Leave your comments below!

Transitioning from Transactional Order Entry to Relational Customer Experience


Gartner predicted that by 2016, 89% of companies planned to compete primarily based on customer experience. In the past three weeks I’ve been on the road meeting customers across all different industries and they all have taken this to heart.

It is no longer sufficient to compete on price and product alone. So there is a lot of emphasis on transitioning customer service from transactional order entry to an informed experience that generates new revenue streams. Oracle has noted that 74% of executives believe great customer experience impacts loyalty, and American Express found that 60% of customers are willing to pay for a better experience.

What’s impressive is the simple steps that our customers have taken and their results. They can cut order entry from 9 minutes to 2 minutes, which frees up their customer service representatives (CSRs) allowing them to spend more time talking to their customers.

Typically, sales teams are expected to build relationships and drive sales, but a chemical company I visited explained that CSRs are their secret salesperson. CSRs are not seen as sales, yet the customer trusts them as a seller since they work with them on a regular basis. The chemical company explained that freeing up CSRs to build relationships and allowing them to travel to meet customers has generated additional revenue. In some cases, their customers even noted on their order that they’re buying more because of the phenomenal service they received.

I’ve met CSRs that hold Master’s degrees and even a Ph.D. There are smart folks in customer service who are unable to put their analytical problem-solving skills to work because they have to hit their line entry quota. When given more time and the right technology they can do things like:

  • Always call the customer when there is an issue with ship date, quantity etc.
  • Educate customers who continue to issue wrong part codes, descriptions, obsolete products
  • Track all field changes and determine if an issue is related to the customer or internal master data
  • Move into coaching and supervising new hires and CSRs creating errors
  • Transition into other departments such as IT, logistics and inside sales

Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Empire, is famous for saying “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”  Happy, engaged employees will always go the extra mile to serve and delight the customer. What I saw over the last three weeks was our customers giving their CSRs the ability to that.

What would it be worth to your company if you could unleash the full potential of your CSRs?