Businesses all over the world are making the move to the cloud and uncovering hidden value that will give them a competitive edge. But have you ever wondered where this value lies? From business benefits such as efficiency and improved cash flow the advantages of its integration are endless, but key to its popularity is that it helps businesses do more with less. Mike Cockfield, CEO and Founder of Khaos Control, lays out 10 ways an effective cloud system can be the competitive advantage your business has been searching for.
Being able to process orders efficiently is crucial to any business that wants to uphold consistently excellent customer service. Therefore, having a reliable system in place that is able to automate each phase of the customer order management process ensures that customer service remains central to operations. Keeping all of the data in one place, whether this is through processing or tracking orders ensures fewer delays and guarantees customers access to up to date information. As a result, customer-focused order management software both enables businesses to remain routinely efficient and helps by streamlining complex processes, which in turn increases its value.
The purchasing process
Reduce both hassle and time from the purchase order process through powerful cloud procurement, which can both help accelerate the purchase order pace and help effectively track, manage and control cash flow. This is a way of allowing businesses to gain more control over their financial operations through facilitating increased workflow prioritisation based on individual customer requirements. Everyday examples include identifying fiscal commitments and creating shorter lead times on back orders, all of which enhance the overall customer service.
Managing supplier data in the cloud gives you an instant and real time view of your supplier activities. Being able to access information about supplier returns, product prices and details about re-ordering quantities gives your business increased leverage commercially. Easy to share, transparent data which simplifies supplier information is a level of visibility useful for current and future stakeholders to access.
Inventory management software can provide businesses with visibility, flexibility and scalability. Being able to maintain real-time visibility over your stock level data wherever, whenever, allows time to plan for unexpected changes and meet customer demands. Furthermore, it gives you multi-site flexibility, meaning that inventory can be tracked and reports can be run over a number of sites simultaneously. This mobility allows for stock levels to be analysed proficiently and ordering levels to be monitored for precise re-ordering. This ability to scale is a significant advantage as it allows businesses to constantly adapt and change their needs.
Not only meet your customer needs but exceed them with warehouse management software that allows you to filter your orders and automate your priorities. An integrated cloud system means prioritising parts of the process such as collections, delivery service and the individual customer through powerful filters and invoice roles, and therefore the picking and packing method becomes more efficient. Automating your processes means automating your businesses priorities, from the barcode to picking and packing, the headache of manual, mundane and time-consuming processes is as a result, removed.
Find the opportunity in customer returns and refunds by managing the process from beginning to end through a fully integrated returns process. Using an invoice manager means that any challenges arising as part of the returns process can be managed efficiently, and with that helps improve service in the customer return journey. Through access of unified data, and an increased visibility through the reverse logistics value change, an end-to-end returns management process helps you work more efficiently, and overall improves customer service and satisfaction through a simpler and faster handling of returns, meaning you are one step closer to not losing your customer over that first hurdle.
The efficiency of a cloud-based accounting solution can save your business both time and money. Automated bank feeds means that your files and data are constantly updated in real-time, therefore not only are your account balances always accurate but information is kept secure. Another proceeding that cloud technology handles is debt management. As a task that can be both time-consuming and challenging it can be managed effectively through the recognition of debt and credit risk patterns. With the facilitation of updated secure data, which requires one data file and reduced data entry time, businesses are able to improve client relations by ensuring no system downtime, thereby delivering better quality information.
A cloud based courier management system can transform day-to-day courier activities from bookings and hub rates to customer and company data. Not only does this streamline the dispatch process but it also ensures that your data is automatically being passed onto the customer, which is vital to supporting a growing business. Giving customers the ability to access up-to-date information about their parcels ensures that deliveries are on time and eradicates the capacity for re-keying errors, therefore making the courier delivery process smoother from both ends.
Data is a business asset beyond imagination; therefore you cannot fail to understand the importance of data. Data gathering software can allow businesses to make decisions based on statistics, analytics and up to date information, putting it at the heart of your business. By embracing a new analytical approach, software generated reports can mean value from your data by reviewing what orders have been processed, and what stage of the pick, pack and dispatch process they are, consequently stock can be allocated productively. As a result, businesses can extract full value from their information and generate business growth and revenue improvements.
Single customer view
With an expectation for customer experience to be provided across every area of the business, customer relationship management in the cloud can help businesses add value by establishing a consistent online, single customer view. By doing so, you can conveniently access and meet your customers needs through a 24/7 mobile system. Tracking customer interactions and managing the sales pipeline means businesses can offer the most relevant customer support and an omnichannel experience that they expect.
Failing to embrace the cloud could lead to potentially missed benefits, and in an era with a drive for technological change and advancement, a gateway has now emerged offering increased business control and growth. Being able to manage your business efficiently through actively reducing delays which are caused by a number of factors including planning, purchasing or delivering allows a shift in the business focus to emerge, moving from deployment and concentrating on enhancing strategy. Beyond days of something to fear, the cloud could be core to the positive business change you need.
Mike Cockfield, CEO and Founder, Khaos Control
Image Credit: TZIDO SUN / Shutterstock