Placing purchase orders is an integral part of a field rep’s daily duties. Because orders are a main source of revenue, they need to be executed in a thorough, correct, and efficient manner. If your business is experiencing consistent Out-of-Stock (OOS) instances, field rep mistakes, or slow delivery times, it may be time to consider using a Digital Ordering Management strategy offered by Field Activity Management software. Here are a few ways software can help you digitally manage your purchase orders:
1. Prevents OOS and Product Voids
Out-of-Stock instances cause lost revenue and diminished brand image. The only thing as bad as an OOS instance is a product void- when your product not only goes out-of-stock, but isn’t reordered and falls out of distribution. In fact, a study done by Foreknowledge found that 81% of stock problems were product voids.
With Cloud-based software solutions, managers can ensure that OOS and Product Voids are caught in time. Field Activity Management software offers field reps a chance to perform retail audits. Back-office managers can create forms which require reps to answer questions about each retail location, such as the number of particular products on the shelf and in storage. The results of the audits can be seen in real time in the back office, empowering managers to stop OOS instances and Product Voids before they happen.
2. Encourages Rep Accuracy
Mistakes on purchase orders cause a whirlwind of issues, both for the retailer and back-office managers. If the rep mistakenly orders too much product, the retailer is charged too much money and will undoubtedly be frustrated with the physical overflow of product in the shop. If a rep orders too little of a product, the retailer stands to lose revenue and you could experience a Product Void. All of these mistakes require administrative fixes, which take away from managers’ focus on core activities. In fact, a study done by Growth Solutions LLC found that managers are disappointed overall with the amount of time they spend on administrative overhead.
Field Activity Management software is available to field reps via their mobile phones or tablets. The simple interface of many systems allow reps to pull up orders at each retail location and with the touch of a finger, add or subtract products. After all ordering has been done, reps often see a summary page where they can take one last look over the order and deduct things like promotions and add on things like taxes. Retailers can even review the order and provide an E-signature showing their approval. This allows both the rep and retailer to check their order before it is finalized. Once the order is sent, back-office managers can see the order in real time. This lets them catch mistakes that they may otherwise miss if the rep was ordering in an unshared place, like a personal computer.
3. Shortens Delivery Time
Because there are always more products than retailers, the brands that do score retail relationships are fast and effective. There is little more frustrating to a retailer than signing on a new product and its shipment arriving late. This seriously inconveniences the retailer. Since they were counting on your product to be on the shelf, they may have spread the word to customers, who then leave disappointed. Or worse, in a panic, the retailer may order a competing brand to replace the absence of yours.
Late arrivals are often a result of late ordering. Some businesses keep purchase order data in excel sheets, limiting the manager’s overall visibility of ordering. Thus, if a mistake is made in the ordering process, managers will not know until a retailer or rep notifies them. To make ordering fast, Field Activity Management software allows reps to make purchase orders on their mobile devices while they’re standing in the retail location. Additionally, managers can use the Cloud capabilities of software to look at all orders in real time and catch any mistakes before retailers even know they happened.
When field teams are enabled with Field Activity Management software solutions, they will be able to effectively and efficiently place orders. This means the chances of OOS instances and Product Voids are significantly lowered, rep accountability is heightened, and retailers get their orders on time without mistakes. The time and money saved by properly managed digital ordering can be put towards growing product lines and focusing on revenue and prospective clients.
Erin P. Friar
Erin Friar is a Content Marketing Journalist Intern at Repsly, Inc. and is completing a Journalism degree at Suffolk University. She is a master of grammar and is passionate about creating fresh content to help foster efficiency and overall success in small businesses.