Updates and Upgrades: Soup Up Your Ride
Giving a boost to your operations doesn’t always require a monumental change. Sometimes, there are small changes you can make that have a huge impact on your order-to-cash process. Here are a few changes that are small in execution and big in profitability.
1. Update or Upgrade your Software
You’ve probably found yourself in a situation where you’re busy working on your computer or phone, and a notification pops up saying, “A new software version is available. Would you like to download it now?” You’re in the zone, so you ignore the notification, telling yourself you’ll perform the update later. Before you know it, several weeks (or even months) go by, and you still haven’t made the update. Sound familiar?
It’s easy to push software updates aside because they feel like a nuisance. However, by neglecting the latest software versions of your business-critical applications, you risk missing out on critical updates in security and functionality.
Remember the Equifax data breach from a few years ago? 143 million Americans were potentially affected by hackers who accessed the credit reporting agency’s data through a known vulnerability. This hole could have been fixed two months before the breach had Equifax stayed on top of their software updates.
This example is likely more extreme than consequences you might encounter by failing to update your own software applications regularly, but it serves as a good illustration. Pushing updates aside can end up costing you far more than you’re willing to spend.
Beyond correcting system security issues, software updates can also include new features, better program stability, and improved compatibility with different devices or applications.
The ultimate goal of software updates is to make the experience better, and for you, that means a supercharged order-to-cash process. Regular reminders to update your software might come as an annoyance, but over the long haul, updates and upgrades will improve your experience. Why not get the most out of what you’re already paying for?
2. Use integrations
Enlisting the help of an integration partner will go a long way in upgrading the functionality of your order-to-cash operations. And when there are many options to choose from, you have the power to optimize your processes in a way that works best for your company. Integrations don’t require the time-intensive setup of standalone applications, either. They’re a relatively small investment that packs a major operational punch.
Think of your business software suite as a team of superheroes — the best work gets done when everyone cooperates and plays to their strengths. New members can be added when needed, and those beloved, older members who have put in their good time but now need to take it easy can retire with dignity.
Because integrations can elevate a software suite’s overall performance so well, they play a vital part in pushing your operations to the next level. If you’re not at the very least exploring the integration options available to you, you could be missing out on some awesome performance upgrades.
What it all boils down to is this: teamwork really does make the dream work. Take a look at what integrations you’re currently using and which are available, then get to work creating your company’s ultimate dream team.
3. Use Automation
Pressing the start button every time you need to initiate a common task seems pretty old school, wouldn’t you say? If there’s a step in your order-to-cash workflow that involves clicking a button, there’s room for automation.
The main goal of any automation solution is to save a company time and money. This is accomplished by providing ways to trigger redundant business tasks (such as emailing a customer when their order has shipped or creating a vendor receipt when inventory is received) through the use of a software application or module.
Automation unifies and facilitates communication among all departments and within your organization. Because of this, you can expect to see improvements across a wide spectrum of processes and functions. Chief among these is the way automation leads to a significantly improved economy of scale, often without an increase in headcount. Automation leads to the highest possible throughput with the least amount of spending, with the greatest amount of consistency.
Beyond keeping headcount down while increasing productivity, automation enables shorter lead times, quicker delivery, and greater efficiency with inventory management. All these equate to a significant boost in profitability. When you add a little automation, your bottom line will thank you.
4. Get help
Sometimes, you’re just too close to your own business to see the forest through the trees. Another set of eyes can help you see your operations from a different perspective. Getting some outside help is a small investment that can turn into a productivity game-changer.
Something like a Business Process Review (BPR) could be just what the doctor ordered if your company has been stable for some time but unable to produce the new growth you’ve been pushing for. A BPR is a deep dive into your business, its products, operations, and processes. We want to see you shine — and a BPR is the first step in helping your systems get you there.
Whatever the reasons behind your desire for continuous improvement, a BPR kickstarts your productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Often, the recommended changes are easily doable, and putting them in place starts saving time and money right away.
The End Result: Faster Order-to-Cash
Making big changes to your bottom line doesn’t always mean taking extreme measures. While none of the updates listed above are earth-shattering, they all share the potential for increasing the profitability of your business.
If you find you need a little help identifying some of the small changes that can make a big difference, drop us a line! We’re eager to help you increase the efficiency of your order-to-cash operations.