Through smart automation of the order processing, Optimodal is able to achieve a (volume) growth of 8% in 2021, without expanding employee capacity and without increased workloads. Furthermore, the automation enables employees to spend more time on personal customer contact and further optimises the planning. We interview Rémon Kerkhof, Deputy Managing Director at Optimodal, about the integration of the NexusZ Customer Service Optimizer and the great results that this automation project has yielded.
Manual order entry
In 2020, a business case is developed to further automate the order processing process. At that time, about 45% of orders are still entered manually. Large volumes are often involved, which results in a lot of repetitive tasks. The remaining orders are entered via EDI interfaces.
Rémon: “The B2B EDI Interfaces are often complex to build and you do not always achieve the 100% data exchange that we are aiming for. As a result, you must continue to manually enrich data.”
The automation of manual order entry in particular is expected to yield promising results.
Rémon: “When drawing up the business case, we used a stopwatch to calculate the average lead time of an order. This showed that automating the manual order entry would result in a saving of 0.6 FTE. It is good to see that we have been able to actually realise the results in practice. For example, 8% of the growth in 2021 comes from customers who do not submit orders via an EDI interface. This growth has been absorbed by the same team without our colleagues noticing.”
Responding to a tight labour market, improving customer communication and optimising planning
Above all, the automation of order entry is aimed at more optimally responding to the current tightness in the labour market. Furthermore, it is important that the time of employees is used as effectively as possible. Repetitive tasks are not very inspiring for colleagues. Automating the order entry creates much more room for personal customer contact and allows for customer communication to be further optimised. The positive carry-over effect is also reflected in the planning.
Rémon: “Entering a large batch of orders can put a lot of pressure on order entry, which also means slower insight into the planning. Automating the order processing has yielded improved insight into operational processes, which also means that information can be shared more quickly with customers.”
Customer Service Optimizer; partnership Modality & NexusZ
The manual order processing is automated by integrating the Customer Service Optimizer (CS-Optimizer) from NexusZ. This module ensures that, among other things, PDF and Excel orders are automatically processed into operational Modality orders. With the CS-Optimizer, information is read from orders that are presented in different formats (XLS, PDF, TXT, or CSV). This information is processed in the system via the Modality API. As a result, data no longer needs to be manually entered here. More information on how the CS-Optimizer works can be found in our article ‘4 Ways to automate order processing in intermodal container logistics.’
After having previously collaborated with NexusZ and partially in response to the wishes of Optimodal, the idea arises to intensify the collaboration. At the end of 2020, Modality and NexusZ consequently enter into an exclusive collaboration.
Implement and subsequent steps
In total, the process from tender to successful implementation in the first pilot projects takes just over a year. Currently, about 60% of manual order entry has been automated. This means the investment costs are recovered within 1.5 years. In addition to also migrating customers with smaller volumes to the CS-Optimizer, Optimodal is implementing a number of other interesting projects in parallel as well.
Rémon: “In combination with the automation of manual order processing, we are now also rolling out the truck planning. It is precisely this combination of different automation projects that has a strong positive impact on our processes. Our wish list furthermore includes the implementation of the truck app and the quotation module and we also want to start using the CS-Optimizer to further optimise order entry via EDI interfaces. This makes it possible to also read loading information in the body of an email, thus turning two data sources into one.”
Would you like to learn more about automating your order entry or the CS-Optimizer? Please contact us right now!