Automation

Streamlining Operations in an Automotive Company

Streamlining Operations in an Automotive Company

Streamlining Operations in an Automotive Company 700 500 Xcelpros Team

By the Numbers

  • 10.5 millionThe projected sales of fully electric and electric/gas hybrid passenger vehicles in 2022 worldwide. China accounts for nearly 6 million followed by Europe at 30 percent with the U.S. in third.
  • 6.5 million and less than 4 millionThe number of these vehicles sold in 2021 and 2020.
  • 75 percentThe anticipated increase in zero emissions delivery van and truck sales in 2022.
  • 2000,000The production cap per manufacturer for a full $7,500 credit per vehicle. As of Jan. 19, Tesla and GM had already hit it. Toyota, Ford and possibly Nissan may also reach the cap this year.
  • Less than 1 millionThe total number of electric passenger vehicles sold worldwide in 2015.

Introduction

Automobile manufacturers, and the thousands of people who supply and service them every day are in the midst of three simultaneous revolutions. Each one of these revolutions by itself is set to be a major disruptor. Managing them all together will require even established companies to rethink how they do their business. Even incremental improvements to efficiency will be paramount to success.

These growing revolutions include:

  1. 1.The rise of Electric cars
  2. 2.The development of autonomous and connected vehicles
  3. 3.The growth of Digital mobility

The rapid adoption and sales of electric vehicles is only going to increase as gasoline prices continue to rise thanks in part to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict in 2022.

As computer controls become more and more commonplace—backup cameras, for example, have been a required safety feature in all new American made cars since May 1, 2018—mechanical linkages and parts are being replaced by computerized versions.

A 2019 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concluded that while ‘rear cameras alone reduced collision rates by only 5 percent, combining a camera with rear parking sensors reduced the backup collision rate by 42 percent, and adding automatic rear braking to the camera and parking sensors lowered the collision rate by 78 percent.Hagerty stated

These autonomous controls are now becoming commonplace. One study shows backup cameras in the Honda Fit LX. Its base model had a list price of $16,190 in August, 2020.

So what do these numbers mean for companies in the automotive industry, especially operations managers?

They mean the former way of running a shop isn’t going to cut it any longer.

Diversifying the Supply Chain

Improving operations management in the automotive industry requires a focus on ways to streamline operations and improve efficiency. A critical area is supply chain management. Today, that means building a supply chain that looks radically different than it did ten years ago.

Ongoing supply chain nightmares leftover from Covid-19 are still impacting every industry, including consumer electronics. These days, that includes cars, not just computers.

Quoting a U.S. Department of Commerce study, the median inventory of computer chips held by consumers, which includes automakers, fell from 40 days in 2019 to less than 5 in 2021.

“If a COVID outbreak, a natural disaster or political instability disrupts a foreign semiconductor facility for even just a few weeks, it has the potential to shut down a manufacturing facility in the US, putting American workers and their families at risk,” the report noted, a danger that isn’t lost on car companies,” Cnet states.

The ramifications, especially for electric car manufacturers, means an inability to meet demands. Projected shortfalls for some major automakers, in large part due to the chip shortage, include:

  • 1.25 million vehicles: Ford’s shortfall last year
  • 1.15 million vehicles: Volkswagen’s shortfall
  • 1.1 million vehicles: the shortfalls for GM and Toyota

Relying on a single supplier or vendor for a key part is no longer viable. Car manufacturers need a supply chain that is robust and has alternative suppliers for all critical parts, including computer chips.

Lacking critical parts in any industry, not just the automotive, can put the brakes on production.

Learn how you can streamline the operations of an automotive company

Learn more

The Car Manufacturing Process

The car manufacturing process includes stamping sheet metal components for the side frames, doors, hood and roof for each vehicle. Key pre-assembled components are the engine, transmission and gearbox in a gasoline vehicle. In an electric vehicle, they are much simpler motors.

The Tesla Model 3 electric cars use one or two centrally-mounted drive units. Each drive unit has a three-phase electric motor, inverter electronics, reduction gears and open differential that drives a pair of wheels in a simple arrangement. Vehicles with two drive units have one in front and one in back, providing all-wheel drive. Tesla’s Model S/X Plaid uses three traction motors: one for the front and one for each rear wheel.

These differences can cause logistical headaches for automotive supply chain managers, warehouse managers and vendor managers, especially when they use individual software packages.

Automation in Automobile Manufacturing

“There is very little in the assembly line or supply chain that is not fully optimized, and even less left to gain,” one business insider states when speaking about automating the automobile industry.

According to this article, U.S. automakers buy one of every two industrial robots sold globally. The robots handle everything from welding to assembly and painting on the production floor. Their computerized “cousins” are also common in sales, handling customer queries in finance company call centers, scheduling service appointments, sending alerts and running diagnostics.

All of this automation consumes and creates one product: data. “A self-driven car produces about 1 GB of data per second,” this article states.

Managers do their best trying to make sense of this information to ensure their supply chain delivers what is needed, when and to the right location. They are also responding to inquiries from sales, letting warehouse managers know what products are coming in and going out.

The only effective way to manage this deluge of data is by working with a supply chain management software product designed from the ground up for data integration.

Using Software for Data Integration

Modular software designed with data integration in mind reduces bottlenecks and speeds decision making. How? By taking information from multiple points—the inventory of computer chips in the warehouse, the number of outstanding electric vehicle orders, vendor deals on a specific paint color, the number of available skilled technicians for key assembly steps—and presenting it as a uniform whole.

By processing information in close to real-time, a modular, secure cloud-based system can provide insights to business leaders. It can help explain where supply meets demand. What key components are critically low in supply and which are adequately stocked?

Using technology tied to these modular software components prevents automobile decision makers from pushing products they can’t produce while letting them use business intelligence to respond to changing demands.

Final Thoughts

The days of car makers cranking out gas-guzzling giants are already over. Electric vehicles are quickly becoming the new kings of the road. Taking advantage of the new technology requires stepping up your supply chain management software so you can respond to change when it happens.

A modern, modular enterprise resource planning (ERP) package has more than enough under the hood to help your automotive-related company keep running smoothly.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company and delivers transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

streamlining-the-label-management-process

Streamlining the Label Management Process

Streamlining the Label Management Process 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • $10 million: The average cost of recalls to food companies that can are caused in part by inaccurate labels.
  • $65,000: The average cost of incorrect labeling based on a 2020 survey. Of that group, 61 percent said mislabeling costs exceeded $50,000.
  • 10-26%: The number of products mislabeled every year according to a survey of 300 IT directors in the U.S., UK, France and Germany.

Introduction

Labels serve three primary purposes in a consumer’s eyes. Labels help to:

  1. 1.Identify the contents of a product
  2. 2.Identify the product name
  3. 3.Promote the brand image

In combination with well-designed packaging, certain label parts could be considered one component of an effective marketing campaign. From a business perspective, though, labels need to do much more than tell consumers what is inside. Efficiently labeling and tracking is the best way to monitor a product’s performance, along with ensuring customer safety is the best it can be. This is especially true when it comes to certain industries like pharmaceuticals.

Packaging and Labeling

There are many key points to note when it comes to packaging and labeling, including the following:

Definition:

Labeling refers to the text, design, symbol, logo, instructions and use suggestions printed on the product package. Labels are designed to inform and attract customers by providing information.

Objective:

Labeling provides all information required by the governments in the geographical location where the product is marketed, sold and used.

Focus:

While exterior packaging is about appearance, labeling focuses on what’s inside. For example, products are required to accurately list the primary ingredients and their nutritional value when it comes to food. Labels on medicines must include active and inactive ingredients, allergic reactions, and harmful side effects.

Label designs are usually simple and formal. They may follow a government or company template. These can require a set list of data fields such as country of manufacture and expiration or “use by” date. Hazard information is typically posted where a customer can see it before making a purchase.

Effective label designs also include inventory tracking options while also meeting government requirements.

Inventory Tag Controls

“When paired with a competent asset or warehouse management system, inventory tags can be scanned to inform your supply chain of changes in your current inventory. This practice helps build end-to-end visibility among all parties, from supplier to customer, as your inventory moves through your warehouse,” according to a blog post by CamCode.

Inventory tags can be integrated into a product’s label design. The most common inventory labels we see doing this are bar codes. Barcode are a series of vertical lines—generally black—of varying widths interspersed with white gaps. QR (i.e., quick response) codes are a form of bar code generally in a square or rectangular format with black blocks and white spaces.

Speed is the main advantage of using a barcode or QR code label. Handheld and machine scanners can read the barcode information, sending it to inventory tracking software. That software can then automatically update inventory counts, eliminating the need for manual checks. The result is a fast, more accurate inventory update. A critical part of inventory tagging with barcodes is using the right type. Before creating any labels, companies should ensure they understand any regulatory or equipment-based requirements for the barcode type, label size, and label material type.

Figure: 1Components of a Barcode

Example of a Barcode

Schedule a free consultation to streamline your label management process.

Book Now

Different Types of Barcodes

Barcodes primarily come in three different types:

  • Numeric only with a row of numbers beneath the bars
  • Alpha-numeric with a row of letters and numbers
  • Two-dimensional (QR is one example) using a series of small dots arranged in a unique pattern

The type of barcode a company chooses often depends on its industry and how the product will be used. For example, the Postnet format encodes destination information using long and short lines. Retail items often use the Universal Product Code (UPC).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has several requirements for barcodes. While the FDA does not require a specific code format, it mandates the barcode include the drug’s national drug code (NDC) number. Machine-readable information on blood and blood components must be on those labels.

“This new system is intended to help reduce the number of medication errors that occur in hospitals and health care settings,” according to the FDA.

These FDA rules apply to manufacturers, repackers, labelers, and private label distributors of human prescription drug products, biological products, and over-the-counter (OTC) drug products to protect consumers from dangerous side effects or worse.

Labels alone are not enough. However, companies need to be able to accurately track their inventory as well as safely manage any recalls or other issues with products. This only works when you have the right software in place.

Inventory Tracking Software

Software like Microsoft Dynamics 365’s Supply Chain Management includes several powerful inventory management features helping these businesses thrive today. For example, Supply Chain Management can automatically assign serial numbers based on manually entered (or scanned) batch numbers.

Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management also makes creating and tracking barcodes for released products easy. This modern inventory management software also works with the GS1 bar code and QR formats for use on shipping labels.

Microsoft says, “Unlike older bar codes, GS1 bar codes can have multiple data elements. Therefore, a single bar code scan can capture several types of product information, such as the batch and the expiration date.”

With a system like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, you can use a predefined list of application identifiers to define the meaning of your data and connect it with GS1 codes. Microsoft suggests, “The setup of the application identifiers defines how the system should interpret a bar code and save it as a value in the system.”

The Bottom Line

With today’s focus on consumer safety, proper labeling and tracking of products, especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals and medicine, will continue to be of utmost importance, including efficiently dealing with government regulations. Today’s businesses need to ensure they’re taking advantage of inventory tracking software that lets them easily create labels that help track the flow of raw materials, from work in progress to finished goods.

Programs like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management can create unique QR codes that contain a list of ingredients, allergy information, serial and batch numbers, hazardous warnings, and safety data sheets. Solutions like these let your warehouse staff scan products and send information wirelessly to any device on the network more efficiently than ever before. Is your labeling solution up to speed?

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company and delivers transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Corporate Purchase Order Automation - Best Practices

Corporate Purchase Order Automation – Best Practices

Corporate Purchase Order Automation – Best Practices 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

Chemical company purchasing focuses on boosting profits through a simple chain of obtaining required materials and services. In today’s rapidly moving digital world, purchasing requires a comprehensive strategy that can adapt rapidly changing conditions.

Is your company still using manual archaic systems to manage purchase orders? An antiquated purchasing process can easily lead to mismanagement and simple user errors, reducing your profits.

Times, however, have changed. Using a technology-driven approach that automates the entire supply chain and includes real-time supplier collaboration saves time and money. These systems increase efficiency while boosting profitability.

Figure: 1 Integrating the Purchase Order Process

Integrating the Purchase Order Process

Companies using software tools lacking a common design and style, especially those made 3rd-parties, are looking to cause data errors. Having a common suite of tools for daily use that can share information goes a long way to reduce errors and improve efficiency.

For example, connected business solutions from Microsoft help streamline internal processes. They automate repetitive tasks so your people don’t have to.

43%

of companies agreed that there are loopholes in their PO practices.

64%

of organizations reported having plans for addressing purchase order management inefficiencies in the near future.

Source : A survey of Finance Personnel, 2017

Figure: 2 The Purchase Order Lifecycle

The Purchase Order Lifecycle

Procurement and the Purchase Order Life Cycle

Buying raw materials and finished components starts with negotiating terms and then acquiring goods or services from approved vendors. It also requires establishing payment terms and evaluating suppliers based on past transactions. Other steps are sending purchase orders, receiving purchased goods and processing invoices and payments.

The purchase order lifecycle has six core steps:

1.Vendor Selection: After receiving supplier quotations, buyers shortlist the ones meeting company requirements and budgets. While that happens, the procurement team verifies the supplier’s integrity, taking stakeholder input to reach a unified decision on which suppliers to use.

2.Negotiation and PO Dispatch: Buyers and suppliers negotiate the delivery timeline, set on time in full (OTIF) key performance indicators (KPI), establish a payment process, agree on quality standards, dispute resolutions, confidentiality, risks, change in requirements and other details. Suppliers and buyers sign purchase contracts, locking in the price and other terms.

3.Purchase Order Creation: Once the procurement team receives approval on purchase requests, it creates a purchase order containing product details, pricing, delivery terms, freight methods and other details. When dealing with multiple line items, some buyers’ systems may create purchase orders for each item.

4.Receiving goods and quality checks: Vendors send shipments according to the buyer’s instructions and terms in the PO. After receiving the supplier’s shipment, the buyer conducts a standard quality check, confirming it matches the PO’s requirements and packing slip. The receiving clerk verifies the item count is correct and conducts a surface level check for damages, noting any errors or damage. When the shipper and receiver numbers and quality levels do not match, relevant parties are provided details on what was found. After disputes are resolved, the receiver records the receiving information into the inventory management system.

5.Processing invoice payments: The supplier invoices the company, which routes it to the Accounts Payable(AP) Department. An AP clerk inputs the invoice, verifies details and charges against the PO and posts the PO or invoice. The transaction creates an open invoice against the supplier in the system. The open invoice now appears on an aging report.

6.Processing the payment for the purchase: As the invoice due date approaches, an AP clerk prepares a payment proposal that follows a standardized company workflow. Approval typically depends on the invoice amounts with higher figures requiring higher-level executive approvals. After getting approval, another AP clerk prints checks or sends electronic payments before posting the payment and clearing the open invoice.

What do these steps tell modern businesses? Each overly-simplified step shows that being detail oriented is a primary requirement. Anything that reduces human error and improves the overall accuracy of the purchase-to-pay lifecycle must be considered.

Small companies may skip the PO process, relying on strong relationships with only a few vendors. When verbal deals break down into a battle of “he said, she said,” the result is often an unnecessary legal battle. Having an automated written process keeps everything documented, safeguarding your company from potential losses.

Underlying Reasons for a Purchase Order Failure

There are plenty of reasons, including human error or process failure, why a purchase order system can fail. Some of the reasons are:

  • Authorization limitations

    In most cases, only an authorized person should sign a purchase order, obligating the company to pay it. Situations may arise when the authorized agent doesn’t receive the PO or forgets to complete the sign-off. In such cases, Accounts Payable may refuse to accept the invoice.

  • Using wrong codes and supplier names

    The person assigned to complete the purchase may lack crucial details such as the full supplier name and business code. Incomplete or inaccurate forms wastes time and money.

  • Not completing all essential columns and boxes

    When handling POs manually, there are no system reminders to fill in every mandatory data field. Missing data in one field can have a domino effect on other areas.

  • Failing to use the preferred suppliers’ list

    In an automated PO management system, a preferred supplier list is given preference. It forces the buyer to stick to what is listed. Choosing suppliers outside the approved list requires providing an explanation to management, even when the altered decision benefits the company. Automated systems often have a trigger, requiring management approval before the PO progresses. Manual processes are challenged to monitor approved supplier checks.

  • Delivery Delays

    One of the apparent problems faced in manual Purchase order processing is enhanced visibility in delays of goods/ services delivery. Typically, a high volume of orders or errors results in the supply system slowing down or losing track of vendor shipments.

Automation as a Solution

While digitizing purchase orders requires a significant initial investment, it’s a long-term solution resulting in a tangible return on investment. The sooner a company upgrades to automated electronic invoicing solutions through enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, the faster it sees the benefits. Producing electronic POs in an older ERP removes paper but doesn’t end manual processes. Buyers still need to extract the PO from the ERP and email it to the supplier.

Having an automated PO system that easily fits your business requirements makes purchasing more efficient. It should have features such as automatic purchase order creation and approval routing. It should notify suppliers via email or through an alert triggered in an online supplier portal.

When your advanced ERP—like Microsoft Dynamics 365—has an online supplier portal, your vendors can receive purchase orders, make modifications, send order acknowledgments and generate accurate invoices.

Get a Free Assessment to Begin Your Digital Transformation in Purchase Order Automation.

Get Started

5 Steps to Creating an Automated PO System

There are five steps required to create an automated PO system:

  1. 1.Integrating the purchase order system with ERP
  2. 2.Creating an electronic PO requisition and approval process
  3. 3.Transmitting electronic purchase orders to suppliers
  4. 4.Providing suppliers with easy online access to view your POs, acknowledge orders, and send advance shipment notices (ASNs) instantly
  5. 5.Streamlining supplier transactions to help manage your purchase-to-pay process

Key Benefits of Automating Purchase Order Process

Chemical and pharmaceutical companies plus their suppliers gain several benefits from using an automated purchase order system. These benefits include:

Providing suppliers with 360-degree views of orders, invoices and payments

PO requisitions automatically route for approval

Increasing invoice accuracy and reducing duplicate data entry

Saving time and resources while making users more compliant

Minimizing inconsistencies and reducing opportunities for error

Streamlining the entire PO process, promoting faster speed and better efficiency

Enhancing productivity by managing multiple orders simultaneously

Reducing long-term expenses

Streamlining inventory management and improving decision-making capabilities

Figure 3 Upgrading to an Automated PO System

Improving Supplier Interactions with Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 works with Microsoft Office 365 to simplify and automate daily tasks, letting your procurement team focus on managing purchases.

For example: Your buyer receives an email from a supplier requesting additional details on a quote. The system recognizes the sender, enabling the buyer to easily pull up prospect cards within Outlook. From this dashboard, the buyer reviews the account that includes the supplier’s existing quotes, ongoing orders and purchase history. While the buyer manages the quote, supplier and product information auto-populate, helping him get it done faster.

Another example is while your buyer is sending a purchase requisition, a message is sent to their inbox from a potential supplier they recently interacted with at an event. The system recognizes the supplier’s email address is not in the supplier database, prompting the buyer to add it. Without leaving Outlook, the buyer creates a profile in Dynamics 365 Finance.

Both of these examples show how automation reduces time spent on administrative tasks, allowing your purchasing team to quickly respond to quotes and ultimately improving overall customer service.

As a business owner, imagine receiving an email from a high-priority customer needing an order delivered fairly quickly. Fulfilling that order depends on receiving materials from your suppliers. Without leaving your inbox, you can check inventory and discover that you don’t have enough stock on hand to fulfill the order. Your sales team can quickly send a PO directly to the Buyer with “approval to proceed.” In the same interface you create and send a purchase order to the vendor and a quote to your customer.

With Dynamics 365 and Office 365 working together, you can take quick action right from your email – allowing you to spend more time managing your business and connecting with customers.

Key Takeaways

Efficient purchase order automation increases the point of revenue, makes the operational process easier and reduces error rates.

The mature and robust functionality of an automated purchase order system ensures better functioning of the Purchasing department, with a cloud-based procurement solution offering greater transparency on purchase order management with even greater ease of access.

CONTACT US and get started with your Purchase Order automation process using Power package with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain!

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Customer Service Keys Benefits

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Customer Service: Keys Benefits

Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Customer Service: Keys Benefits 700 500 Xcelpros Team

At a Glance

  • Customer support professionals face constant challenges trying to understand customer requirements while making connections on an emotional level.
  • Emotional connections with customers has become an extremely important requirement for companies looking to boost their bottom-line.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) for customer support coupled with machine learning (ML) helps analyze large volumes of customer data using tools like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and advanced voice recognition, to generate.

Introduction

Today’s customers want more affordable, convenient services that cater to their unique needs. Significantly more business is transacted seamlessly across both physical and digital channels. This is a result of increased trust in day-to-day technology which has led to increased sales, along with an easy way for customers to recommend products and services to other people, creating a whole new network of promoters. To take advantage of this change in behaviour, more companies are working harder than ever to deliver better services and provide great end-to-end customer experience.

67%

of customers are willing to switch brands looking for a better customer experience.

Source: Forbes

A lot of brands fail to create a positive emotional experience which directly impacts customer loyalty. This dissatisfaction results in customers switching between brands due to a poor customer experience.

Companies that excel in customer experience can uplift their revenues by 4%-8%.Source: Bain

Understanding this, more companies are beginning to come around to the benefits of investing in AI-automated technologies, with some choosing to focus on boosting their revenue, and others favoring customer experience over price and quality. This doesn’t ignore pricing, but let’s companies place more emphasis on the user experience. Additionally, most of these systems can be automated, further increasing the benefits.

80%

of the customer interactions will be handled by AI eliminating the presence of human agents by 20202

Source: A Gartner Study

Enhancing the customer experience with AI

In a digital world where every minute is important, it doesn’t make sense to have multiple virtual customer service agents set up to manage small issues. Using AI-based solutions to answer simple questions can help control costs to your company along with offering a host of additional benefits such as:

  • Providing faster issue resolution
  • Answering customer questions 24/7
  • Sorting and routing messages
  • Ability to transfer to live support as necessary
  • Freeing of asset availability to manage high value incidents

This is accomplished by analyzing large volumes of data much faster than a human. AI also uses high-level voice recognition to identify the voices of customers, understand the problem and provide the necessary responses. This all allows for faster prediction of market requirements with much higher accuracy.

Another tool born of AI, Natural Language Processing (NLP), analyses human language to understand context and determine outcomes seamlessly, and often undetected. NLP works in a union with voice recognition to ensure faster problem resolution for customers, reducing frustration. These solutions are deployed as bots and can even be set up to transfer to a human assistant in the event the system is unable to assist. This is important to remember as AI isn’t a replacement for human interaction, just a tool that facilitates an improved experience.

Using AI for enhancing customer experience helps organizations achieve a number of sought after benefits including minimizing pain points, and reducing the number of hours spent by customer agents on simple tasks. AI driven automation with advanced machine learning helps empower your support agents to do their job more efficiently, creating more opportunities for up-sell and cross-sell activities designed to increase sales.

In today’s Age of the Customer, personal, emotive customer interactions play a critical role in bridging the gap for what disruption and digital innovation alone cannot solve. For brands to compete – and win – in CX in 2018 and beyond, service leaders must ensure their teams optimize processes and communication in ways that create positive emotional experiences for customers.

Dennis Fois | CEO of NewVoiceMedia

Harness the power of AI for effective customer services. Get started with a free assessment.

Register Now

Exploring options – How Dynamics 365 can help

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Customer Service insights let’s businesses leverage AI-driven insights to improve their customer service experience. Microsoft has included the following innovative features designed to help track performance across various channels

  • Dashboard Reference
  • Data Subject Rights (DSR) requests under GDPR

The dashboard reference comprises of various dashboards such as –

1.KPI summary dashboard This offers a macro-view of customer service experiences in your company, displaying topics currently generating the highest volume along with emerging issues.

2.New cases dashboard This is an overview of all the newly added customer cases in your system.

New cases dashboard

3.Resolutions dashboard This is a company-wide view of all case resolutions. AI helps identify the issues that impact resolution time.

Resolutions dashboard

4.Customer satisfaction dashboard Offers an overview of all the customer satisfaction scores in your company using AI automation to track the topics which have the highest impact on CSAT scores.

Customer satisfaction dashboard

5.Topic details dashboard This is a detailed overview of key performance indicators(KPIs) for specific topics using AI automation to showcase the impact by product and channel on customer satisfaction scores and resolution time.

Topic details dashboard

Aside from built-in dashboards, visual filters, and interactive charts that give an overview of operational data across all channels, Dynamics 365 also offers actionable insights based on critical performance metrics and emerging trends from your customer service system, highlighting areas that could benefit from improvement and could significantly impact business growth.

Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service Insights provides a number of valuable benefits including

Improving customer satisfactionBuild brand loyalty by resolving issues before in a timely fashion. Gain a comprehensive understanding of CSAT scores used to calculate customer satisfaction.

Increasing operational efficiencies Streamline operations with insights from case resolutions, historical comparisons, and backlog trends to evaluate customer service agent performance. Monitor case volumes and expected support topics to optimize efficiency.

Enhancing visibility Dynamics 365 helps with effective visualization of customer engagement patterns, customer service operations using various AI-automated dashboards, machine learning capabilities and agent performance, and more. Discover and share critical insights using interactive charts and filters with AI for customer service.

Key Takeaways

While things like sales, pricing and quantity is often the main focus of businesses, it’s important to understand that developing good experiences with customers is just as important, sometimes more. Satisfied customers become extremely effective promoters of the brand simply by recommending your products or services to people they know. This helps businesses expand as loyalty leads to an emotional connection.

As we continue to see newer, more advanced technologies designed to simplify and enhance customer service experiences emerge, understanding the simple fact that people never forget how you made them feel will be even more important. The future of AI in customer service is indeed very bright.

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com

ENTERPRISE PROCESS AUTOMATION TRENDS

Upcoming Process Automation Trends That Will Transform Your Enterprise

Upcoming Process Automation Trends That Will Transform Your Enterprise 700 500 Xcelpros Team

Introduction

The ultimate goal of any enterprise is that of speeding up processes, reducing errors, and increasing business output for better revenue generation. With the onset of the digitization era, companies have upgraded their technological prowess to adapt to process automation. It is important to understand that in the rapidly transforming world, process automation is not just a technological ability to speed up processes but a strategic movement towards better use of software to streamline workforce, introduce better work practices and mitigate cost inflations. Since COVID-19, process automation has turned into a need of the hour to improve operations that are built with adherence to process compliance and yield better outputs with a limited workforce. This means process automation will transform enterprises at a larger scale to increase agility and reduce dependency on manual work.

Manual Vs Automation

Is your business still operating through manual handoffs, excel macros, and cumbersome reporting? As businesses are integrating automation in more rapidly in different facets right from HR to Marketing, Production, Sales, and Information Technology; there is a considerable reduction in human intervention for mundane and simpler tasks. A component of efficiency will be introduced with the implementation of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in process automation. According to a leadership piece by Sogeti (1), enterprises will look into integrating robotics process automation (RPA) with AI to extract more business value. Read on to know why an enterprise should consider intelligent process automation for complete transformation and the latest trends that will help businesses along the path of said transformation.

Why Embracing the Latest Process Automation Trends and Techniques is a Necessity for an Enterprise?

As an enterprise, you need to ask yourself a key question: Where should the business’ attention be?

While at face-value this question may seem trivial, the entire enterprise architecture revolves around this key aspect. The more attention your skill base gives towards the latest trends like the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, Cloud, Advanced Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and automated-integrated workflows, the better streamlined and agile your workforce would be. Hence it is highly significant for enterprises to explore deep into the latest process automation trends and make their employees acquainted with these trends for a competitive edge.

There is no doubt about the fact that legacy systems need upgrades and modernization to encompass latest trends of digitization, modern technologies and to become aligned with the fast-paced, changing business demands. Process automation plays a key role here. If not for process automation, the IT systems would face the brunt of not being able to keep up with business process improvements (carried out usually at a large-scale), leading to lesser productivity and overall loss of revenue. Automation helps you form ‘bundles’ of data and migrate them to platforms for systematic records management. Process automation can help your enterprise reduce the error rate, and increase productivity at a lower cost. But one point to remember is that the process automation described above would only make sense if your company has already transformed into a modern ERP system.

Figure 1 8 Reasons to Automate Your Business Processes

1.Handling the Unstructured Data Challenge: While data on systems has been very much taken care of by current process automation tools, enterprises and their related facets still struggle with unstructured forms of data such as hand-written notes, bills, invoices, images, etc. With the introduction of machine learning and artificial intelligence, businesses are digging up automation solutions that will not only recognize this type of data (with the help of Robotics), but also assimilate and use it in processes similar to structured data.

2.Low-Code Solutions for Faster Results: Robotic process automation when integrated with low code solutions forms a golden bridge of zero human intervention and faster application development. These low code solutions enhance efficiency as well as help in transforming core processes like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

3.Integration of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with Business Process Automation (BPA): Interdependent workflows have always been a part of large enterprises and the IT skill set in an organization has mostly been at the helm of managing these interconnecting processes in a complex workflow system. The latest automation tools will help in integrating RPA with BPA resulting in the formation of intricate workflows and implementation of all the related processes.

4.Real-Time Automated Decision Making: Enterprises will see more and more management of big data with the help of artificial intelligence and this will facilitate the way for flexible tools for IT operations that will preempt glitches and provide real-time solutions. This will help in better resource-allocation, lesser communication gaps, and fewer outages.

5.A Chance Towards Skill Set Upgrade: When computers were introduced as a tool to reduce human effort, they were met with a lot of apprehensions. In fact, many considered them as machines that would make a human contribution to technology obsolete. Similar apprehension and even cynicism can be seen in the case of process automation tools and software. After all, process automation eliminates the need for human intervention, making many technical jobs outworn.

However, enterprises are now looking up to this advancement in process automation as a chance to upgrade the skill set of their current employee base and make them adept in the latest technologies and tools. This will not only help the IT personnel move from labor-intensive, monotonous jobs to skill-based, dynamic ones, but it will also create a learning curve in the industry resulting in more innovations. When put in perspective, automation is not the cause for losing jobs, it is instead an opportunity for companies to fill the skill set gap and enhance the expertise of their IT personnel for innovation and better strategic output.

By 2023, AI-enabled automation in data management will reduce the need for IT specialists by 20%Source: Gartner report

The Changing Landscape

An enterprise cannot deny the fact that adapting to the need of the hour with the latest process automation trends is going to work in favor of its core business value. Numerous users across organizations will gain access to data, automated workflows that will be systematically prepared, and actionable insight that will aid towards building an agile enterprise. In the current market being agile as a company will be your strong suit. As they say, the cards are laid on the table; it is up to the businesses now to play their hand wisely!

Remote work is becoming more prevalent post-COVID-19. Companies are looking for more ways to streamline operations, engage the workforce, and yet meet the needs of customers. Process automation plays a major role in volatile market conditions during COVID-19. A combination of Microsoft’s Power Platform, AI – ML, Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 ERP, integrated with Teams allows users to streamline their processes and build needed visibility for management to effectively view the progress of operations remotely.

In fact, a successful use case off-late within various companies is to integrate Dynamics 365 with flow, teams, planner, and SharePoint to enhance compliance of process, coordination with team members remotely, track processes that are running in each department and provide task execution clarity for each employee within a department. More companies are adopting this suite of tools to improve productivity and simplify workforce engagement. All major functions of a company – be it Procurement, Sales, Manufacturing, Quality, Finance or HR, when unified together help a business stay afloat during challenging market conditions and support the over well-being of a business.

Key Takeaways

  • Introduction of Automated workflows, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Big Data, Machine Learning, and Advanced Electronics has changed the face of process automation for better and faster results.
  • Enterprises will need to invest more in advanced process automation tools to stay ahead in the competition and to gain critical business value.
  • Evaluate low-cost solutions for process automation that is easily customizable for your business and build enhanced visibility of how your company is performing in a challenging market.

Reach out to us for your company’s Digital transformation

Get Started Now

About XcelPros

XcelPros is a Chicago-based company delivering transformation through technology. We offer business and technology solutions with deep industry experience in Chemical, Pharma, Life Sciences (including Medical Devices, Bio-Medical & Biotech), Insurance, Discrete Manufacturing, Process Manufacturing, Distribution and Food & Beverage.

XcelPros is a Microsoft Gold Partner, Direct Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) and a Systems Integrator (SI) offering software licensing, implementation and consulting services for Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Business Intelligence & Analytics (Power BI), SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure (Cloud, IOT, Microsoft Flow amongst many others).

Our mission is to provide integrated technology solutions that amplify impact and empower our customer’s businesses. We believe technology is the key enabler of exponential growth for us and our customers.

Contact XcelPros today to transform your business.

Call us toll-free – 1.855.411.0585 (or) visit www.xcelpros.com