How one leading educational publisher slashed purchase order processing

 

Our client:

A leading educational publishing house with a long history continues to reign in a changing learning environment, as the organization has become nimble enough to introduce and adopt multiple digital learning platforms. School districts and universities are introducing and negotiating new selling models such as multi-year consumable ordering. Processing huge volumes of sales orders becomes a challenge – how to transform the process away from mass labor input and improve inefficiencies.

 

The Situation:

School districts can adjust future year consumable quantities within grade levels, assuming they do not exceed the initial purchased quantities. This involved manually updating a multitude of sales order lines within their Oracle EBS environment. This process was identified by the business as being incredibly labor-intensive and inefficient. 

To put this into context:

  • A request to update quantities by one particular School District are sent to the publisher in late February into early April:
  • There are approximately 700 orders – a total of approximately 11,500 lines that may potentially need to be changed.
  • At an estimated 30 minutes per order x 700 orders = 350 hours in labor. However, as the business continues to grow in line with its projections, the demand for bundled School products is expected to increase, meaning labor hours will also have to grow year on year.
  • It was becoming increasingly challenging to meet the timeline between notification from the customer and updating the lines before the DC starts shipping around the end of May.

In addition, they had the bi-annual influx of orders to deal with coming from school districts organizing spring and fall book fairs. These would bring a surge in orders which again had to be turned around quickly. And finally, there was a requirement for “BAU” Customer Relationship management where every school had to be set up as a related Party to the school district in order to complete orders.

 

The Solution:

Innovation and adaptability being native to their culture, the Business Operations Manager scoured the Oracle partner products’ landscape and discovered More4Apps Wizards. These are a suite of accelerator products designed to bring the power of Excel as a user-friendly data entry interface to Oracle EBS.

Sales consultants from More4Apps demonstrated the Sales Order Wizard as a way to work with the large amounts of changes they needed to make. 

It was quickly tested and adopted for the sales order updates and included the following functionality:

  • Entering and booking multiple sales order lines in mass
  • Downloading sales order information and making any updates (scheduled dates, quantities, etc.)
  • Downloading quick ad-hoc orders information on to excel based on specified criteria
  • Adding order attachments
  • Adding/modifying Adjustments on existing order lines
  • Applying or releasing holds
  • Adding or modifying service, contract, or serial information on order lines

Within a matter of weeks, the business had managed to achieve the results required in about a tenth of the time originally estimated.

The savings from the initial project as well as ongoing maintenance during school book fairs or such events more than made up for the initial investment within the first year so the investment has achieved payback almost right away. Now, this iconic publisher looks forward to their continued growth, secure in the knowledge that increased sales pose no threat to their ability to deliver orders in a timely manner.

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