One thing I am constantly stressing to my clients is the importance of Information Technology in their business. Take the following scenario as an example:
Sales Man A is on the road with a docket book and pen. When he makes a sale he fills in a triplicate docket. He manually fills in each price from the price list. On Mondays when he’s a bit sleepy from the weekend he might enter in the wrong price or the wrong product.
Each customer has a seperate pricelist so he’s a lot of paperwork with pricelists.
When he gets back to base every evening the dockets are stored to be entered into the accounts package the next day. In the mean time dockets can disappear leading to lost revenue. When the dockets are being entered into the accounts package there is another ‘opportunity’ for human error for example wrong product entered, wrong customer account entered or docket not entered at all.
There is also a reporting problem in that it may take a day or two for the accounts clerk to enter the dockets so the sales manager is waiting on this information.
Sales woman B is on the road with her snazzy new handheld device. Her route is stored on the device so as she arrives at each customer they are next on her list. When she makes a sale she scans the barcode on the product the handheld brings up the product and the price spefically related to that customer. She then hits print a professional delivery docket is printed for the customer to sign.
Before she even gets back to the office the sim card in her handheld device has downloaded the data onto the company network and the accounts clerk can intergrate it into the accounts package with the click of a button. By 17:30 that evening the sales manager is reviewing the days sales and margins.
From a management point of view critical performance and margin information is timely. From a finance point of view there’s a far less chance of error.