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Speed and accuracy vital in supply chain

Processing orders is an essential component of doing business, but for companies in the food industry like Paulig, which manufactures and distributes perishable goods, speed and accuracy in the supply chain is critical. Additionally, the food industry is experiencing continuous growth, and companies within the industry are facing the challenge of handling increasing order volumes without adding new staff and maintaining employee satisfaction.

As part of its strategy to continuously improve business processes, Paulig’s Belgium-based branch and Tex-Mex-brand, Poco Loco sought a global automation solution that could automate non-EDI order entry, handle increasing order volumes and integrate with its Microsoft Dynamics ERP system. Esker’s Order Management automation solution provided Paulig with a strong digital foundation, which has improved the speed and efficiency of its order management process.

Agility and flexibility
With many customers sending orders via fax and email, Paulig needed a flexible solution to address its needs and ordering form templates. The customer service department wanted to handle the orders themselves without input from customers, or having to ask customers to adapt their templates.

“We were looking for a flexible solution for our customers with order volumes too low to switch to EDI, or who were not interested in moving to EDI,” said Pieter Vandecaveye, project manager at Paulig.

Orders received from multiple countries (including Belgium, France and the U.K.) are now automatically processed, managed and archived, streamlining the entire order cycle for all stakeholders.

Increasing volume and managing growth
“The goal was to be able to deal with new and increasing orders in the future and to reduce processing time,” said Nathalie Vandeburie, customer service manager at Paulig. “After six months of using the Esker solution, Paulig is on track to reach its goal of processing 17,000 annual fax and email orders through Esker. And with Esker AI-driven technology, orders are processed faster. The average time to manually key in an order into our ERP system has been significantly reduced. Some orders are even processed in less than one minute. It took a lot longer with our manual process.”

Improving user and customer experience
Esker’s user-friendly Order Management solution and interface were well received by the customer service department and user adoption was almost immediate.

“Esker’s Train-the Trainer sessions were very well prepared and delivered. And after just two training sessions from our super users, the whole team was ready to get started,” said Vandeburie. “There were very few hiccups when we started going live, and we received positive feedback from the onset. If they encounter a problem, it can be solved by our super users. We haven’t had to call Esker Support much in the past few months. It’s a nice feeling to know that we can handle it ourselves.”

Today, thanks to automation, staff have more time to manage customer relationships, including addressing customer inquiries, answering customer calls and providing quotations.

“We wanted an automated digital system where we could easily find all information to facilitate the way we worked. Thanks to electronic archiving, we no longer need paper archiving, and we don’t have to upload the orders in our ERP system,” said Vandeburie “The cabinets used to be full of paper orders; now they’re empty.”

Facilitating business continuity
Being able to easily manage the ordering process during staff holidays, or while working remotely has been a great asset to Paulig’s customer service team.

“Esker is a great help when staff are on holiday. With all orders in the system, everyone can see what needs to be processed and who needs help, and staff can easily cover for those out of the office,” said Vandeburie.

Paulig has maintained business continuity during the pandemic while  transitioning to a remote workforce. They continue to be operational and process orders with confidence knowing that every order makes it into Esker’s solution and no orders are lost.

Project implementation was very smooth.

“The support we received really made it feel like we had a partner. The Esker consultant was very competent and knowledgeable. He made sure that any issues were solved and that everything was working fine before our official go-live. He was 100 per cent invested and really did an amazing job,” said Vandecaveye.

The few times Paulig has had to call Esker Support, answers and solutions were provided quickly.

“It’s nice that we can rely on the support provided by Esker,” Vandeburie added.

Following the successful project in Belgium, Paulig plans to expand Esker’s Order Management solution to Santa Maria, a Paulig brand in Sweden.

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