Simply SOP: All about Sales Order Processing

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Introduction

SOP is a system that controls the process between a customer placing an order and the product going out for delivery.  It can also be known as an Order Management System (OMS).

Most businesses that supply goods and services have an order processing system. Many are simple manual tasks some are highly sophisticated automated business process systems. If you have a manual or disconnected system would you benefit from automating some of these processes within your business?

There are many applications for a Sales Order Processing System from sending a simple pre-paid product(s) to a customer to much more complicated systems such as creating an order for a bespoke kitchen.  The latter that will involve many different assemblies and subassemblies.

Types of SOP systems

Some systems just deliver an order processing record for manual processing, others include all the processes required to dispatch and/or deliver the goods and services required.

  • Accounts system modules
  • Stand-alone SOP systems
  • 3rd party add ins to standard accounts systems
  • Integrated bespoke system

Standard sales order processing systems will rarely meet the requirements of the unique points within your business.

Data Sources

Data for a SOP system could come from one or more of the following sources

  • Manual data entry
  • e-Commerce website feed
  • Estimating/Job Costing System
  • Email
  • Disconnected database
  • Automated email

SOP Functions

SOP systems can have many functions each automating individual functions such as:-

  • Data Validation – check and resolve data issues
  • Pricing – multi layered pricing algorithms
  • Document Production – invoice & despatch notes including all cost and tax calculations
  • Repeat/Scheduled Orders – no need to enter the order data again
  • Delivery Scheduling – arranging deliveries convenient to the customer
  • Batching – similar orders for production batch processing
  • Cost Price Monitoring – protects against reduced profits when costs go up
  • Sales Analysis – detailed management reporting
  • Multi-Currency – export & import
  • Compliance – certification, customs documentation
  • Picking & Despatch Control – consolidating picking routes
  • Web Site Portal – allowing customers to pick preferred delivery times etc

SOP Integrations

Most SOP systems will have one or more of the following integrations.  Integrations ensure data is moved efficiently across multiple systems.

  • Sales Ledger – prevent re-supplying a client who is overdue on their account
  • Stock Control – ensure all goods are in stock
  • Purchase Ledger – ordering goods not in stock
  • Despatch Services – produce trackable mailing labels
  • Invoicing – automatically create and post invoices into the Sales Ledger
  • ERP – live data feeds with the production system
  • CRM – handing all communications on an orders progress via email and SMS
  • Quotes – populate order automatically from data in a quotation
  • Job Costing – factoring labour costs for supply and build order types.
  • Payment Processing – getting paid for pre-paid orders

The SOP Conveyor belt

When designing a bespoke SOP system, we analyse your complete business process. We create a virtual conveyor belt with the order rolling along the conveyor belt as in navigates the various stages of your business process. This conveyor belt will also have shunts and points to allow orders to be parked for any reason or pushed down a different conveyor belt route.

Benefits of Bespoke SOP system

Many businesses use spreadsheets to plug holes in their order processing process. Whilst this may help when the ‘hole’ is first discovered an increasing amount of time is wasted as time passes and the volume of orders increase. With a non-integrated process, errors can start to creep in resulting in a costly outcome.

The primary benefit of a bespoke system is that the system can de designed to meet your company requirements exactly.  No ‘holes’ to plug.

These days nearly every software system vendors provide API’s  (Application Program Interface) that allow software developers such as ourselves to push and pull data into their system.

When your systems start talking to each other the magic happens. Your business runs as a highly efficient and profitable enterprise.  Your business is then leaving your competitors who do not have an integrated SOP system behind as they struggle with day to day inefficiencies.  With an Integrated and automated SOP system your customers will appreciate a fast, efficient service with competitively priced goods.

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