Order to Cash [O2C] Definition
As you might know, ‘Order to Cash’ (OTC) is a common and important Financial as well as Sales&Distribution integration scenario; In this blog post, I will walk through the simple ‘Order to Cash’ steps. The generic term thus encompasses many different sub-processes. These include the receipt of the customer order, i.e. the purchase order, the execution of the order, the creation of the invoice, and the monitoring of the receipt of payment. Please be aware, that this is just a simple introduction, ‘Order to Cash’ has a lot of useful functions not covered in this blog post.
Process Mapping in the Order-To-Cash Process:
An order-to-cash process can be roughly divided into four phases or areas:
- Pre-sales activities
- Order processing
- Invoicing, i.e. the issuing of the invoice
As we can see that the process chain of the order-to-cash process is long and very detailed. It ranges from pre-sales activities to the processing of an order and the shipment of goods or the provision of a service to complete accounting. Order to cash is critical for organizations in an increasingly digital economy because of the more efficient and accurate the processes, the better the company’s financial performance. Order to Cash [O2C] provides users with a process to follow an order all the way from initial order receipt through payment.
Better managed invoicing and collections improve cash flow, while improved order placement and fulfillment help enhance customer relationships. Similarly, failures in invoicing or collections negatively impact company cash flow. Poor performance in order fulfillment — either through delayed or non-delivered products, improper declination of credit, or other O2C-related failures that result in a poor customer experience can contribute to dissatisfied customers, and could be a reason for customer churn.
Order to Cash [O2C] stages:
Pre-sales activities include the actions that take place before an order is processed. It starts with the contact between the customer and the company. Already from this, the wish for an offer can arise. In most cases, however, the customer makes a non-binding inquiry in advance. This involves comparing their needs with the product or service. This is followed by the offer with all the important facts for a potential order. Pre-sales activities also include the contract as well as a delivery schedule containing the number and delivery date of the respective products or services. Don’t forget: everything that ultimately goes over before the order itself is optional.
Processing the order:
The processing of the order is one of the central variables of the order-to-cash process. In a modern ERP system, the order itself contains numerous details such as:
- Information about the price
- Key data on the exact goods and/or services
- Information on the delivery quantity and delivery date
- Information about the shipment
- Information on billing such as payment terms
The order processing is followed by the shipment. As an alternative to the shipment of goods, service companies are considered to have provided the respective service. Important for the documentation of the shipment is the transport order with packaging and transport details. This is followed by the goods issue and the actual shipment.
Once the goods are delivered, the next step is the payment process. Normally, payment is made as soon as the customer has received the ordered goods or service. However, advance payment is also possible. Invoicing also includes receivables management and the possible creation of credit notes.
Driving Order to Cash [O2C] with Automation:
Integrated automation is critical to an efficient O2C process that drives a magnitude of business benefits. Anytime automation can hand off details and automatically trigger the next step in the process, it eliminates the errors and delays inherent in human intervention. Automation also frees up staff from mundane data entry tasks to address more value-added work.
Leading companies are quick to adopt automation in the process because they see benefits, including:
- Reduction in days sales outstanding, essential in improving a company’s cash flow
- Reduction in order-to-fulfill cycle time
- Greater visibility of exceptions, for faster intervention and resolution, resulting in fewer and less impactful order to cash interruptions
- Faster conversion of receivables
- Expedited collections
- Improved accuracy of invoicing, collections, and cash flow reports
- Reduced exceptions
- Improved ability to resolve customer disputes due to better visibility across the entire O2C process
From customer onboarding, the O2C system should complete order management, with properly organized orders and notification to the requisite stakeholders in the supply chain for the timely and accurate fulfillment of the order. Where appropriate, the order management system should also trigger any needed credit approval, automating approvals when the customer meets the company’s established credit parameters, issuing automatic denials where appropriate, and flagging those areas in the middle for further review.
Benefits of a single integrated automated solution for O2C process
An automated, integrated end-to-end platform is the digital foundation for all our O2C needs. This would enable the Organizations to have a stronger, more resilient business model built on positive-sum growth.
Sales order processing is tied to customer experience as well as the company’s O2C success. Any loose ends and the whole thing can unravel. An automated order processing system uses AI and RPA technology to address the most manual areas of order taking through a centralized, cloud-based platform.
The automated Credit Management solution optimizes the entire credit approval and risk monitoring process, empowering credit teams with actionable data to make the best credit decisions possible. By transforming credit management into a more secure and efficient process, revenue is secured and customers are prevented from slipping through the cracks.
Automated O2C solution can automate the delivery and archive of customer invoices via any media (e.g, paper, e-invoices, EDI, etc.) — all without forcing customers to change or sacrifice compliance and all while providing real-time visibility into invoice delivery status.
To ensure timely invoice payment, today’s businesses need online payment capabilities at different steps of the O2C process — pre-order, deposit, at the due date, or during the collection process. Automated O2C provides online payment capabilities, customers will have no reason not to pay and even benefit from early payment discounts by paying before the due date.
Reduce DSO with rule-based task lists & CRM-like data centralization.
With Automating software like DBSync, it becomes easy to automate your Order to Cash process and save on time, money, and compliance issues.