Many companies see O2C automatization – digitalisation is their next biggest opportunity to improve cash flow, and bottom-line results.
This approach brings a new set of problems to the business. More pressure on I.T. teams, Organisation changes to handle new processes, connectivity to other areas of the value stream and to the customer. To name a few. Solutions are many, yet real success stories are only few. O2C teams are stretched, burnout rate increased, despite of the support digital tools may provide.
When really the answers we are looking for are much closer to home. Inside our existing organisation.
Increasing Process efficiency, Optimising Workforce, and Improving Customer Experience, is hardly a new concept. We should be calling it the Business life Cycle.
What is ever evolving is the way we approach the issues. According to the solution providers digitalisation is the Golden Chalice.
Automation in the Accounts receivable area, to a large degree, can play a big part in productivity and efficiency improvement. There is a lot of evidence to support this. But connectivity to the whole value stream is often missing. In too many instances we invest in solutions to handle the problems, instead of fixing the problems.
O2C starts with a customer. Is there a perfect customer? Are all sales created equally? receipt of order. Is there such a thing as the perfect order? Followed by Order fulfilment which often drives dispute management. All these areas are potential Cost drivers to a business and there is no better resource to fix these problems than the people who handle these situations daily in your own organisations. You just need to know how to harness there potential.
Therefore, assessing and adjusting the O2C process in its entirety, is the most obvious place to address the Cashflow challenge!
Deciding to transform the O2C process and realising the full potential, takes a lot of commitment and buy-in from all the relevant stakeholders; everyone, from the CEO, the CFO, Process owner of the Supply chain and the Order to cash, including Credit, Cash collection and Query management.
The understanding of the full value stream is imperative. (Customer to Customer) The goal is to create Flow through the whole value stream. When this occurs, any breakdown in flow can be fixed immediately, by the teams. Think in terms of a car manufacturer. The car assembly track moves, and seamlessly moves as different derivatives of a car is added. When there is a problem the car assembly track stops. Everyone involved with that assembly line knows there is a problem, and everything gets done to fix the issue. Once fixed the assembly starts again. There are no reasons why any processes (O2C) cannot be based on the same ideal.
The experts are the employee. Those who work within the process should design their own world class O2C process, using applicable tools. There would be no frustration and no concerns to the new working practices. Short, medium, and long term indicators would be agreed and the change would be staged until the designed destination is achieved.
To optimise the full benefit of a lean transformation there are 3 areas to focus on.
- Always start with the customer. The goal here is to truly understand your costs to serve the customer. Not all sales are created equally.
- Process optimisation. Create Flow in the O2C value stream using Lean tools.
- Organisation review is the final piece to the transformation. Any changes in the customer interaction and any process improvements, may have an impact on the organisation structure.
Following these three-focus points productivity would increase; workforce would be optimal and customer experience would improve – easily generating profit gains of 1-10 %.