How to Succeed in a Competitive E-shop Market? Automating Routine Tasks Is a Good Start

Automation
15.10.2019

Czech and global e-commerce market grows at a double-digit rate every year and today it accounts for approximately 15% of overall retail turnover. What is more, experts agree that the coronavirus crisis will further increase the popularity of online shopping. However, in order for you to withstand the heavier demand as well as the onslaught of new orders, you need to prepare your e-shop for it. The growth of turnover brings with it the growth of costs, and e-shops sometimes find out that although they have sold double the goods, the profit increase is barely noticeable. One thing that might help small and big e-shops alike is automating routine tasks—notably in accounting, administration and warehouse management.  

Make your accountant‘s work easier

A lengthy, routine and incredibly annoying task that every e-shop has to deal with. The receiving and processing of invoices.

When an invoice is delivered to your company, your accountant has to:

  • receive it,
  • register it,
  • add a note to it,
  • get it approved by a superior,
  • copy it into the company system,
  • pay it,
  • and archive it.

The costs for processing a single invoice range from 20 to 40 CZK. And because invoice processing is an extremely stereotypical task, accountants rarely enjoy it and often end up making mistakes. For example, Alza accountants have made mistakes in 11% of all cases – these invoices then had to be corrected, which cost the company additional time.

However, today there are tools that simplify and automate the whole process. For instance, the iNVOiCE FLOW solution unifies the receiving of all invoices regardless of whether they were delivered by post or by e-mail. iNVOiCE FLOW receives the invoice regardless of its format, registers it in the invoice log, uses artificial intelligence to read (extract) all data from it, forwards the invoice for approval and, once it has been approved, automatically enters the data into the company system and saves the invoice is saved into a digital archive.  

The accountant only checks at random whether all data is accurate and then only has to deal with non-standard cases. This  significantly lowers the number of routine tasks that need doing and, what is more, speeds up invoice processing given the fact that the approver has all the relevant information regarding each invoice at his or her disposal and does not have to ask any further questions. As a result, the processing of each invoice ends up costing you next to nothing. Now, multiply the amount of money saved by the number of invoices which you process every month.

Automate your document processing

Do you also exchange invoices and other commercial documents with your business partners by e-mail? It‘s time to change that.

E-mails are not secure, take up a a large amount of your time, there is no guarantee of delivery and, after sending your message, you have no way of knowing the current status of the document in question. All you can do is wait for the recipient to reply.  

Electronic data interchange, also referred to as EDI, takes this process to a whole new technological level. For instance, using  the ORiON EDI solution, which is already being used by thousands of companies in the Czech Republic, allows you to exchange orders, delivery notes or invoices via EDI in the form of structured EDI messages, which automate a large amount of manual tasks and by doing so end up saving you an enormous amount of time.

This solution is even more advanced than the above-mentioned automated invoice processing, given the fact that is covers more documents and uses structured data, which permit a significantly higher degree of automation.

Invoices illustrate this point very nicely.

Without EDI, someone at your company has to take each invoice, check it and then register it. Afterwards, this person has to search for its corresponding receipt, check whether the quantity and the price match, copies the data from the invoice into the company system and saves the invoice into an archive.

On the contrary, EDI fully automates the entire invoice receiving process. The invoice is delivered, processed and pre-verified. Is the system detects an error, it sends a message to the supplier about what needs to be fixed. Subsequently, ORiON can compare the invoice with the receipt, delivery note or order and, if everything matches, automatically posts it to the system.

Invoice clerks only deal with specific cases, where for instance the price and the quantity do not match, and they try to resolve this discrepancy directly with the supplier.

Aspects of EDI which e-shops appreciate the most:

All these types of messages are transmitted via EDI in a standardized format, which allows quick communication with your business partners not only locally but also internationally.

Get your warehouse organized

Warehouse workers who wander around the warehouse with a piece of paper in hand, looking for the goods from the order, are inefficient and cost you a huge amount of money. However, their work, too, can be sped up and automated.

With a warehouse management system (WMS) and barcode readers, warehouse workers will be sure to know where to go. There is no risk of them not being able to locate a product or picking up the wrong variety, as the barcode reader will  always lead them to the correct warehouse storage location.

A warehouse management system (for instance our LOKiA WMS) will help the average e-shop particularly with

  • put-away of goods: when the warehouse worker scans the received shipment using a barcode reader and places it in the warehouse location recommended by the system,
  • removing goods from storage: when the system always leads the warehouse worker to the precise location of the goods from the order,
  • handling complaints and returns: when the whole shipment just needs to be scanned using a barcode reader and the system will recommend where to place it.

For instance, Bonus Bona, a company which runs several e-shops, has increased its speed of order picking sixfold after deploying a warehouse management system.

A combination of systems is ideal

All of the above-mentioned systems work great on their own – however, when used in conjunction with one another, they truly get to shine.

For instance, the combination of the WMS warehouse management system and EDI communication is sure to help e-shops speed up the receiving of goods. Electronic delivery notes from suppliers are automatically uploaded into WMS. Another option is using SSCC codes, which allow you to add entire pallets of goods to your stock without having to unpack them. Using SSCC speeds up the receiving of goods by about a third.

We at GRiT have considerable experience in e-commerce—some of the companies we have worked with include Alza, MALL, Rohlík, Parfumerie Douglas, but also a number of medium-sized and small e-shops. We understand the needs of internet shops and are on the lookout for new opporutnies for them in the fields of automation or digitization. Using our tools, we do our best to help them withstand their rapid growth as well as expansion into foreign markets.

If you wish to inquire about the different automation options for your e-shop, please don‘t hesitate to contact us.

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