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Why AI is a game changer for your order management

As the supply chains of manufacturing companies become more complex, advanced order management is required to be able to deliver the right goods at the right time. Many manufacturing companies and their subcontractors work on a just-in-time basis, where the idea is to produce and deliver goods in the exact quantity and at the precise time they are needed. Just-in-time is effective in theory but was put to the test during the corona pandemic as limited inventory combined with shifting demand created significant delays throughout the supply chain. In that situation, smooth order management is a must to be able to handle customers' incoming orders.

Customers' demands of the buying experience are increasing

At the same time that the order process needs to handle more complex supply chains, the customers' demands of a smooth shopping experience are also increasing. All customers expect to receive the right product, at the right price and at the right time. It should be simple and easy to first place an order and it then be straightforward and pain free to get in touch with the manufacturer. Read more about the customers’ shopping experience in the article Business system for B2B trading - what shopping experience do your customers get?

The reality for many manufacturing companies is that they are drowning in orders and have great challenges in managing the order process in a simple and stress-freefree way. According to a single study by IBM, the participating companies reported that their main challenges in order management were:

  • To manage the order on time
  • To complete the order correctly / without error

It is not uncommon for an order to contain errors or to require changes and because of this, it is important that incoming orders are registered quickly so that the changes can also be handled as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Streamline your order management with AI

One way for companies to streamline and improve order management is to use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. AI speeds up the process because it is possible to get an order into the system faster compared to manual handling. AI is also not as person-dependent as manual processes. By using AI, you avoid the traditional order management process that relies on key people being in place. AI also works 24/7 with tasks that are often quite repetitive and tedious for your employees. Instead of sitting down and entering the information themselves, it is enough for your employees to monitor the process. This frees up time that can be spent on more value-creating tasks in, for example, sales or customer service.

AI and machine learning can also:

  • Analyze and digitalize processes
  • Optimize inventory levels by generating inventory status in real-time
  • Analyze data to find patterns in the order process, which provides new and important insights
  • Find patterns and create models to shorten delivery times and reduce costs
  • Detect and predict limitations, disruptions, and opportunities for improvement within the order process and the fulfillment process

Simply put, AI and machine learning can optimize order management and make it a competitive advantage for you as a manufacturing company.

Man monitors AI – human-in-the-loop

However, using AI and machine learning in the order process does not mean that people could or should be disconnected completely from order management. An employee can instead be responsible for monitoring the order handling and making regular quality checks. The system becomes more and more sophisticated over time and staff can then focus on handling deviations and taking care of customers, to ensure that the customer's buying experience is as good as it can possibly be.

This is how you get started with AI for your order management

Given that you are now convinced that you need AI for your order management, the natural follow-up question is - how do you get started? We share our best tips in the following articles: 4 steps to streamline your order management. You can also read about the most common difficulties when it comes to automation.

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