Distributors are always looking for ways to work smarter, which means finding ways to be more efficient and eliminate unnecessary steps that simply aren’t adding any value.

Despite technology advances, it feels like our wheels are spinning faster than ever. With no shortage of tasks on your to-do list, feeling overwhelmed has become the norm. But it’s becoming harder and harder to endure a plate that’s constantly overflowing. As a result, everyone is looking for ways to cope with too much to do and too little time.

It’s long been accepted that data entry is a necessary business function. As a busy distributor or manufacturer, it’s critical to order processing. Customers submit purchase orders via email, fax or phone. Then employees re-key the critical data into the existing ERP system to create a sales order. Sound familiar?

Alleviating the burden of manual order processing is part of a movement to work smarter. Many have turned to EDI and web-order entry to eliminate the tedious, data entry. While both are incredibly effective once set-up, it can be quite difficult to persuade customers to become EDI-enabled because of the mountain of work involved to get started.

So most companies feel stuck as they continue to process the bulk of their purchase orders with the customer service team. But here’s the thing. Pushing paper is exhausting. CSRs are frustrated by tedious, repetitive tasks and they’re yearning to do more than just process orders. But what else can you do?

A great solution is switching to sales order automation, which eliminates the manual components of order processing. Instead of touching a customer order several times from printing to archiving, automation makes data flow seamlessly without human intervention. Customer orders are automatically processed as sales orders in the existing ERP system within seconds rather than hours or days.

Automation may sound complicated, but it isn’t. It’s surprisingly easy to implement in less than a week. And once it’s up and running, your employees can begin to enjoy their jobs more. They can focus on higher value tasks that deliver serious business value. Like building actual relationships with your customers. Or analyzing purchase history data. Or maybe even generating revenue. The choice is yours to make.