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How to Build a Workflow for the Backoffice Staff Based on Alfresco for a Supplier of Promotional Products?

7 mins read 1094 views
How to Build a Workflow for the Backoffice Staff Based on Alfresco for a Supplier of Promotional Products? article image

The promotional products market in the USA depends on the growth of advertising expenditure thereby boosting production of branded corporate items. Imagine, only digital advertising in the US is expected to reach $83.00 billion in 2017 (eMarketer) not to mention spendings for offline media channels. So, what does it mean for suppliers in the advertising specialty market?

Chart 1. US Digital Ad spending chart shows industries consumed investments as of April 2017, eMarketer

What forces the market

Corporate identity gives a business of any size web and offline presence, engaging new followers, growing the army of brand advocates, increasing sales and revenue. When researching to gain the understanding of the field of promotional advertising, we have seen many things which could be branded. It helped us in our work a lot.

There were bolts, piggy-plugs, meat business cards and other unlooked-for items, occasionally spotted along our diving way. It is great that we are living in such world full of diversity.If we advert to figures, they will show more temperate ambitions in popularity of items. The US companies preferred bags to apparel or stationary as gifts and giveaways in 2016, as Statista shows.

Chart 2. Leading promotional products in the US by Statista

No doubt, all seen helped us while developing the custom workflow for a supplier of promotional products.

About inevitability of back office automation

Why should B2B suppliers do it fearless? According to Forrester, 68% of B2B buyers in general at our time will do business online rather than through sales representatives. The latter just join to solve problems as consultants at this point.

Futurists are fond of saying about robotization occurring everywhere. The shocking reality is in hand. Forrester predicts that 1 million sales reps will be displaced by 2020. Yes, but back office processes except selling are a matter of high priority to be automated.

Why do companies need to go into automatization of workflow for the back office staff?

Suppliers of promotional items and corporate apparel always have to catch the hype of innovations. The range of offered products counts thousands. It is too complicated to keep an eye on all processes and set up a complex workflow using multiple applications, managing different file storages, requesting and confirming tasks manually, and partnering with several 3rd-parties.

There is only one way to pass all Dante’s circles and give consumers desired things. It’s automatization of the back office.

What if to build a back office that will change the routine workflow and save from the idle mode?

As the importance of prompt requests is a chief priority for B2B/B2C companies in the marketing and advertising sector, it is the only sure way to go into automatization the work of a back office staff.

We got thinking about features which make the back office being world-class and how to build a health technology solution. Which changes can lead to major improvements and how they can be done with Alfresco you are pleased to look at the table below.

Table of comparison workflow processes before and after Alfresco integration

Before After
An order came via an application form on the website. An order came via an application form on the website passing by the manager directly to Alfresco
A manager received an inquiry processing it in the back office of website. A manager starts working with an inquiry being logged in Alfresco where a smart enterprise-oriented workflow begins.
Being a mediator between the client, a design team, 3rd parties (printing offices) entering data in payment gateways, CRM and accounting system, the manager wasted a lot made unpredictable mistakes, played games with enormous XLS files up-and downloading them to the executors and getting back. Here it is enough one manager instead of squad to deal with incoming flow of orders. A Centralized document storage allows keeping all working documentation under control in one place avoiding third-party software to complete the order processing.
The process of data inputting accompanied with lots of manual work Now tasks assigned to design team go directly to responsible specialists without additional person as manager. No email is used.
Confirmations of orders, approvals and requests needed a human factor permanently. It anchored a workflow for long at one critical stage. Confirmations of orders, approvals and requests are carried on via an Alfresco custom workflow. It saves time, excludes a human factor and barriers caused by manual operations.
A process of making prototypes absorbed a lot of time because of converting file and continuous sending XML files there and back. prototyping was made in a local portal (additional local software). New updates and approvals of prototyping are handled by Alfresco avoiding emailing XML files. Now designers work in Alfresco directly.
Finished prototypes were sent via email to the manager who forwarded them to the client for approval. Prototypes for approval are sent from Alfresco to the client via email.
After that a confirmation from the client was emailed to the responsible manager that the order to be sent to the printing office. It was difficult to coordinate a timely arrival of prototypes to be printed. Now the communication with third parties such as printing offices, payment gateways and a CRM is carried out on via REST APIs instead of emailing.
Payment process was carried out manually by the manager when the order was agreed with the client. A client can be charged online with paperless invoicing. Supplier gets cut processing costs up to 60%.
Client database was always being replenished with the help of extra CRM software with manual efforts. For the large-scale promotional products supplier it became easier to manage relations with clients after integrating the current CRM with Alfresco using RESTful API.
When the order was completed a tracking number with delivery details came to the client via email passing a manager’s check. When the order is completed a corresponding notification is sent to Alfresco to fix that fact and delivery details are sent to the client.
A permanent muddle with sales when managers aquire and balance several clients having no defined sctructured flow. As a benefit of Alfresco integration can help the client to define and measure KPIs and reducued significantly the number of staffed managers.
Top management can’t measure of full value the operational rates. There is always something in the shadow. Business owner of the firm of promotional products will manage to analyse and improve the performance of his business for the first time.
Communication is carried out oral through calling or in writing through email. After integrating via API between supplier and promoting factory it can be possible to send a waybill directly to the customer passing manual checking by manager but synchronizing the delivery information with Alfresco.
*Table of compatison is prepared by Aimprosoft Alfresco experts based on their common expertise in developing automated back office workflows for enterprise level companies. Enterprise level solutions of Liferay, Alfresco, Hybris.

After improvements, the company-supplier of promotional products can leave behind its “batch and queue” system giving preference to arranged continuous flow.

After all

Simple theory matters not many without a concrete guide. There is a short list in the way of business regeneration:

1. Make a list of improvements you want to manifest in concrete expressions.

2. Find a synergetic partner with proven expertise.

3. Get a quote for your project.

4. And dare upgrade your business.

Well, now you got the perfect formula how to make a world-class automated back office. Today is the perfect day to act.

Next time we will tell you about 10 freezing obstacles which stand in the way of revenue. Stay tuned.

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