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Optimizing Order Processing Workflow - 5 Steps

A person typing something into a laptop with a graphical representation of a workflow floating above the laptop
  • 11 mins

Order processing is one of the most important tasks within a company. The success of companies of all sizes and in all sectors depends on it. From start-ups to large corporations, they all share a common core objective: strengthening and optimizing order processing. The fact that customers - whether in the B2B or B2C sector - expect fast, intuitive and customized processes plays a major role in this. In this article, we will therefore show you step-by-step how to optimize your order processing workflow and gradually make it as efficient as possible - along the entire value chain.

Order processing: Efficient processes for greater customer satisfaction

If you want to satisfy your customers, the first step today is to rely on efficient processes. The faster and more reliably you take care of their needs, the more successful your company will be. The more smoothly your order processing works, the faster and more economically you can process your orders and the more time you have to take care of new contacts and maintain your business relationships.

You avoid interruptions caused by error-prone processes and offer your customers a pleasant customer experience - from the initial enquiry to the receipt of the order through to full processing. It's fair to say that good workflows, in which everyone involved works together productively and all responsibilities are clear, are essential for your success. In other words: order processing workflow = essential for business success.


What difficulties do SMEs have when processing orders?

Particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises, it is important to optimize workflows in order processing and thus overcome obstacles from order intake to the completion of a transaction.

A central point here is data entry, which is still done manually in many SMEs today. This may be due to a lack of expertise, but also to limited resources. Many are also reluctant to say goodbye to old habits and automate their processes [more on this in the article on digital order entry]. However, the traditional way of working is not only time-consuming, but also prone to errors. This can lead to delays in processes, misunderstandings and, unfortunately, dissatisfied customers. By implementing modern order software, you can reduce your workload, save a significant amount of time, improve your response cycles and free up personnel capacity for tasks that are relevant to your success. Ultimately, this will help you boost your revenue.


Manual order entry vs. automated order entry

Manual order entry is no longer up to date. As technology advances, automated solutions offer you more and more advantages. With modern order software, you can speed up your processes, eliminate errors and ensure a wide range of improvements. As a result, you can increase your competitiveness in the long term and offer your company sustainable added value. In this section, we look in detail at the benefits of automated order entry.


Difficulties with manual order entry

If you still rely on manual order entry, orders are usually received by e-mail or phone. The main disadvantage of this is that not all order data is immediately available. Your clerks check the orders and enter the data into the ERP system.

Because this is time-consuming and error-prone, some companies use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software for this step, for example. However, this only relieves you to a limited extent: The automation is usually patchy, you have to spend a lot of time training the software with this type of solution and OCR does not cope well with the variability in documents. Especially with poor scan quality or handwritten notes, errors can occur when working with this type of tool. It can also happen that the OCR software does not recognize formatting or tables correctly. It cannot validate data independently and is generally more prone to errors.

Further difficulties with this method of working lie in the language dependency (OCR software is usually specialized in certain languages or language groups) and the difficulty in dealing with more complex documents. You face similar problems when working with RPA tools.


Benefits of automated order entry

With modern, AI-based order software, you can automate various manual steps and thus increase your efficiency. AI algorithms can automatically process incoming orders, extract data accurately and then convert it into the correct format. This eliminates the main source of errors.

  • Intelligent data processing: AI-based order software is able to recognize and analyse correlations. Intelligent data processing also ensures that the AI recognizes deviations or errors within orders and informs you in good time so that you can react promptly. It intelligently reads relevant data, validates it against the master data and transfers it to the ERP system. Error detection is excellent thanks to the high degree of automation and state-of-the-art machine learning.
  • Digitalization through efficiency: Modern AI software makes the process efficient and scalable for you. This means that with a tool of this kind, you can actively drive digitalization in your company.
  • Optimized customer service: faster response cycles and lower error rates lead to greater customer satisfaction. The time saved through automated order entry gives employees more time for service and consulting.

Overall, you can make your order processes more precise and efficient with AI-based order software and eliminate errors. With AI software, you can automate tasks, save time and money and offer your customers a better service.


Ensuring smooth processes with optimized order processing

Both internal and external stakeholders benefit from optimized order workflows. This starts with enquiries and incoming orders. Modern software interacts with your IT systems and, of course, the experts in your company's departments to ensure smooth processes. The more intuitive these are, the more efficient the processing and the more satisfied your customers will be.

You should generally avoid non-transparent steps within your process chain. If you notice any after the changeover, you should identify them as part of your workflow management and switch them off promptly.


Organizational processes of order processing

There is much more to order processing than simply fulfilling your customers' orders. Numerous organizational processes are associated with it and depend on it. Some of the most important of these are:

  • Incoming orders
  • Orders
  • Enquiries
  • Order handling
  • Order entry
  • Order processing
  • Dispatch
  • Customer Care
  • After Sales Service

Reliability, flexibility and simple, well-structured processes are essential to ensure that all these processes work promptly and that you fulfil your customers' wishes when processing enquiries and orders. The order processing workflow should function reliably and remain uninterrupted. You will strengthen the trust and loyalty of your customers in the long term.


Order processing workflow: Five tips for optimization

Optimized and automated processes for all orders - this is the ideal situation. If you want to optimize and automate your order processing, you should proceed step by step. With these five tips for optimization, you can make your order processing significantly more efficient and transparent:


1. Determine the status quo and identify deficits

Before you optimize your order processing workflow, it is important that you determine the current status quo and identify possible deficits. Analyse your existing process thoroughly to identify bottlenecks, delays or inefficient processes. This first step allows you to target the right areas and recognize the potential for improvement in your company's order workflows.

2. Restructure and develop new processes

Based on the findings from your status quo analysis, you plan the possible restructuring of your order processing. Identify possible improvements and develop more efficient processes. In practice, this can also mean optimizing certain steps, removing redundant activities from the workflow or using new technologies to speed things up.


3. Using modern AI software to automate processes

One of the most effective ways to optimize your order processing is to use modern AI software for process automation. Artificial intelligence can take over repetitive tasks and analyse data. Workist, for example, can be seamlessly integrated into your IT environment, providing state-of-the-art end-to-end automation. You connect your business processes and avoid repetitive work. The AI captures your order documents fully automatically, highly efficiently and absolutely reliably, saving you valuable time.


4. Carry out comprehensive analyses

Once you have implemented the new processes and technologies, you should evaluate the success of your optimization measures. Carry out regular analyses to check whether you have achieved the desired improvements and whether they are effective in the long term. Analyse metrics such as throughput times, error rates and customer satisfaction and identify areas where there is still room for optimization.


5. Readjust if necessary

If you want to keep your order processing workflow effective in the long term, a continuous improvement process is crucial. Take the time for regular reviews and check whether your processes still meet current requirements. If you identify weaknesses or new opportunities for optimization, adjust your workflow accordingly. To continuously achieve the best results, you should remain flexible and always be open to change.


Important: As a first step, get an overview of possible interfaces, for example to e-mail programmes, your ERP system or your workflow management tool! If you want to work with order software in the future, it should integrate seamlessly into your existing systems and processes.

If you continue to identify weaknesses in the individual stages of your order processing workflow after your optimization, react immediately. One particularly important aspect that you should never lose sight of is that you should constantly review the system and the process steps with regard to further optimization options.


Conclusin: AI software in use = operating with a system

If you want to optimize your order processing workflow, you need future-proof tools. An important building block here is high-quality order software, with which you can shorten the throughput times of your orders, reduce the error rate and ensure more time for success-relevant tasks such as customer service and sales. This agile approach allows you to work systematically.

Software such as Workist automatically identifies and processes relevant data, and you can integrate the application seamlessly into your existing systems in no time at all. This not only speeds up the processing of your order documents. Thanks to validation by your master data, data extraction is also noticeably more reliable. Time-consuming checks are a thing of the past and you can relax and concentrate on your strategy.


Frequently asked questions on the topic of "Optimizing order processing workflow"


What is the difference between process and workflow?

The term process primarily refers to the business aspects and the sequence of work steps that a company carries out on the way to a specific goal. A workflow, on the other hand, is a control element that ensures that processes are successful with all information, systems and employees involved. Certain people ensure this by carrying out certain activities in a specific order.


What is meant by workflow management?

Workflow management refers to the digitalization of individual processes, including the management of results. Two important goals here are to identify weak points and to gain a better overview of process steps. Workflow management software helps you to create, execute and manage workflows. You use it to control, monitor and analyse your digital business processes and workflows.


How does digital transformation work?

With the digital transformation of your order processing, you can noticeably improve customer service in your company. You also ensure greater efficiency and transparency. By automating your manual processes and integrating modern tools, you can optimize your order structure. As a result, an order moves through the process chain much faster. The best way to make the switch is to analyse your needs in detail in advance, and then compare the tools in question. You can find detailed information on this in our article on order software.


What is the goal of order processing?

In order processing, you pursue the goal of processing your customer orders. The term includes all organizational processes within a company with regard to order fulfilment and customer care - from the initial enquiry to order execution and after-sales service.