In today’s B2B economy, there is a persistent focus on the customer. With products being commoditized, the customer experience becomes a competitive differentiator. Companies are leveraging new technologies to add value to every customer interaction. Customers demand more information, faster, and are beginning to recognize that they are in the driver’s seat.
The shift in power is beginning to show in the ways customers are dictating to do business. Suppliers are hearing the customers’ message of “my way or the highway.”
I attended a chemical industry discussion with the CCSMG group last week and the primary focus was on portals — customers are asking suppliers to go into their portal to get an order. The customer doesn’t want to do extra work or change their process to send orders to the supplier. Now the suppliers spend inordinate amounts of time navigating to these portals to obtain orders, and they’re thinking “There has to be a better way.”
The suppliers now face new obstacles: the additional cost of sale, legal terms and conditions, and transferring business to distributors to offload customers who will only transact through portals. It proves that being easy to do business with is more important now than ever before.
A new technology being utilized to help with this dilemma is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Using RPA, a robot automatically awakens at a certain time, or by receipt of an email, to navigate to the portal, retrieve the order, and submit it for processing. This alleviates all the wasted time spent on these manual tasks. When companies combine that with an order management solution, it becomes a win-win. Now all orders arrive in one platform, where they can be validated in a couple clicks, or processed automatically, without all the manual steps that cause errors. Suppliers can monitor each order channel to track the value of those orders and be armed with data to make operational decisions in the future.
With all the technology available in the market today, there are various ways to meet, and