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Process Improvement Quick Wins

Thu, 11 Feb 2021

The benefits of process improvement are obvious, but where to start might not be. Here are some ideas for claiming quick wins.

Our January article, “How you can ‘Build Back Better’ in 2021”, referred to a recent article called 6 Myths About Process Improvement.

Few would argue against the merits of improving business process efficiency, but when the advice includes process mapping your entire business, then developing strategic road maps, it can be daunting. That's especially so for a smaller business, so we condensed the core ideas from that article into a few more digestible take-outs, including:

  • It need not break the bank - there are low-cost software solutions available.
  • Help is available – seek advice and support from your solution provider.
  • Look for quick wins - plan, prioritize, and get started.

Orchid’s affordable Sage 300 add-ons tick the first two boxes, so that just leaves the question...

Where to start?

In an ideal world, you’d perform a thorough review of all your core business processes, then do a cost-benefit analysis to prioritize.

In the real world, sometimes you just need to roll up your sleeves and get started. A few quick wins can build confidence, gather momentum, and gain management buy-in for more ambitious changes.

Our January 2021 Webinar looked at some of the ways Orchid modules can support Business Process Automation. We focused on common customer management processes we felt many businesses could identify with. Watch the video to see them in action, but here are a few highlights from the scenarios we demonstrated.

Scenario One – Order Management

  • An Extender Workflow is triggered for management approval when a user tries to increase the Customer Credit Limit, or an order is entered that doesn’t meet a defined minimum sales margin.
  • Remote Action Service and/or Workflow Anywhere help to keep workflows moving when key team members are away from their desks.
  • Notes and/or Document Management Link (DML) are used to increase transparency, making relevant data readily available to workflow action approvers and other staff.
  • Extender screen customizations streamline associated tasks. E.g. click a single button to create an order confirmation or invoice PDF and email it to the customer.

Scenario Two – Returns Processing

  • Return Material Authorizations (RMA) provides a single source of truth for data related to a product return or repair, and lets you define and enforce repeatable processes for managing such requests.
  • An Info-Explorer cube is used to support analysis and approval of returns, with Process Scheduler automatically refreshing and distributing the cube.
  • Upon completion of the RMA process, Extender kicks in to automatically generate the associated Credit Note.

Scenario Three – Finance Team processes

  • EFT Processing is used to send an approved refund directly to the customer's bank account.
  • Extender Workflow is used to enforce checks and balances when customer bank account details are entered or modified, and when payment batches are created.
  • EFT Processing also automates the distribution by email of remittance advices.

Now process this...

Last year we looked at some surprising statistics showing that the average Sage 300 site manages 8 entities. This opens up further opportunities for quick wins that could make a huge dent in your finance team's workload, e.g.:

  • Inter-Entity Transactions can keep entities in balance by automatically generating offsetting loan account entries.
  • Inter-Entity Trade will automatically generate reciprocal documents when related entities trade products or services with each other.
  • Process Scheduler, the star of our February 2020 Webinar, for automating recurring Sage 300 processes across multiple companies. E.g. run day ends, post batches, close and open fiscal periods.

We hope these ideas inspire to you to pursue some quick wins to kick off your own process improvement journey.


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