No doubt about it, email orders cause friction for B2B companies. Even if customers use approved templates for their PDF orders, you can still encounter problems.
Granted, customers may appreciate the convenience of ordering via email, as they can export a document from their own procurement system. But the internal problems for the seller make email orders a thorn in the flesh.
Here are the biggest problems with email orders—and how to solve them through automation.
Biggest problems with email orders
Whether email orders contain errors or not, they’ll always cause friction within your organization. Even a 100% perfect email order needs a customer service rep to type it into SAP. That’s an expensive way to consume orders.
But most email orders aren’t 100% perfect.
When your customers build these orders, they can’t check them against your SAP ERP business rules. This means there are infinite ways for email orders to cause problems. And every error adds to the time that a customer service rep has to spend on the order.
Here are the most common issues that SAP companies encounter with email orders:
- Wrong pricing. The customer used outdated data that doesn’t reflect their latest negotiated pricing.
- Wrong SKU. The customer chose an SKU that they aren’t allowed to buy, or one that’s been discontinued. They have no visibility into SKU substitutions, so they can’t see this issue before they send the order.
- Wrong quantity. The customer doesn’t have access to minimum quantity information, or they assembled the order by hand and didn’t check minimum quantities.
It’s worth noting that customers can avoid all of these issues, provided 1) they place orders in your B2B ecommerce portal rather than through email, and 2) the portal has real-time SAP integration that provides 100% accurate data. (Hint: This is the thinking behind the Corevist Platform.)
Of course, not every customer is going to switch from email orders to self-service B2B ecommerce. That’s why it’s essential to automate email orders. Ideally, you should also plan to reduce email orders by launching a self-service B2B ecommerce portal too—but that’s a topic for another day.
In the meantime, here’s how to automate email orders.
Step 1: Choose an email automation solution
You’ll need an intelligent software solution that can read incoming email orders, compare them to the relevant business rules in SAP ERP, and handle them appropriately.
Ideally, your solution should recognize problem orders (those with wrong pricing, wrong SKUs, etc.) and log them for customer service to review.
For error-free orders, your solution should post them to SAP ERP automatically, hands-free.
(Hint: This is how Corevist BuyBot works.)
Once you’ve chosen your email automation solution, it’s time to configure it for your business.
Step 2: Identify your highest-volume email order accounts
Which accounts are costing you the most with email orders? Those are the ideal accounts to start with. They’ll provide the most ROI quickly so you can bake those cost savings into new initiatives.
Maybe you have 3 customers who each send you 100+ email orders per month. That’s a lot of lost productivity that you can address with automation.
Step 3: Gather PDF examples from these accounts
Corevist BuyBot comes with 5 email order templates in our standard package. Template-based processing allows maximum accuracy without driving up costs.
To make the most use of your templates, your implementation partner will need to examine how your typical email orders are configured. Data like ship-to, sold-to, payer, and materials all influence the configuration of your templates (and how many you’ll need).
When you’re gathering sample orders, you’ll want to present the most typical cases, but also edge cases. This will help your implementation partner determine how best to configure the solution for maximum efficiency gains.
Step 4: Configure and test your B2B email order automation solution
You’ll want to point your email automation solution at your SAP QA environment for testing, then set it up to read emails coming to an address that’s available for testing purposes.
Next, you’ll want to create PDF orders that are formatted like the target customers’ orders and send them to that email address. This is an iterative process in which you’ll uncover any issues with the solution—and your implementation partner will address them with configuration changes to your templates.
If you choose Corevist BuyBot, our SAP experts will manage the testing and refinement process, collaborating with you. They’ll also configure the solution, working with you to ensure it honors your unique processes and business rules.
Step 5: Launch (and watch your email orders post to SAP)
Once your email order automation solution is working properly, it’s time to turn it on for your customers and set it up to post orders to your SAP PRD environment. It’s an exciting day!
If you followed a rigorous testing and configuration process, you should have very few issues when you turn the solution on. Still, a partner like Corevist will work with you closely during a 2-week HyperCare period after launch, ensuring everything is stable. After that, you’ll transition to regular production support with the Corevist team.
Corevist BuyBot: B2B email order automation for SAP companies
Corevist BuyBot is a powerful email order automation solution for companies running SAP ERP. You get our prebuilt, configurable SAP integration—which also supports customer portals and B2B ecommerce, should you decide to expand your offerings in customer experience.
BuyBot works fast behind the scenes to reduce your operational cost—while still supporting customers who prefer to send email orders.
Ready to learn more?
Schedule a demo of Corevist BuyBot.
Email order automation for companies on SAP ERP.