Manufacturers and retailers spend a significant amount of time, resources and money ensuring orders are accurate and correcting those that aren’t.
Inaccurate orders can damage reputations and lower customer trust, ultimately making it more difficult to retain existing customers and attract new ones. With the prevalence of social media and online review sites, unhappy customers can have a significant negative impact on a business’s bottom line.
Discontinued products. Inaccurate pricing. Inventory errors. Backorders. Incorrect delivery times. These are some of the issues that cause major setbacks for all stakeholders involved in a home improvement project, including designers, retailers, manufacturers, and most significantly, the one paying for the project – the customer.
What are the typical causes of order inaccuracies? How do they impact retailers, manufacturers, and customers? How can we mitigate the risks and better ensure order accuracy?
This article provides answers to all those questions, revealing the true cost of inaccurate orders in the home improvement industry and offering tips on how to reduce errors with higher quality catalogs through visual CPQ (configure, price, quote).
Causes and impact of inaccurate orders
There are many causes for order inaccuracy, one of the most prevalent – and avoidable – being the use of out-of-date or poorly developed catalogs. When the designer does not have access to the latest, most updated version of a manufacturer catalog, they run the risk of ordering items that are no longer available, have longer lead times than advertised, have invalid pricing, or that do not match the published description.
Outdated catalogs waste a lot of time, resources, and capital. Here’s the true cost of inaccurate order placement for everyone involved.
Cost to the interior designer & client
Designers who use catalogs with discontinued products, features that are unavailable, or inaccurate pricing are unable to ensure inventory availability due to lack of visibility into manufacturers’ stock and timelines. If they place an inaccurate order, they have to spend a lot of time and resources on more design iterations with their clients, not to mention the time spent returning the product itself.
Their clients are left dissatisfied, especially if they had their hearts set on a specific product and agreed upon design. As a result, the designer will be less likely to choose that manufacturer in the future out of fear of delaying their projects and adding more work to their already-busy schedules.
Cost to the retailer
If the products are sold through a retailer, the latter will have to waste time coordinating with both the designer and the manufacturer to figure out what went wrong with the order. If the order has been shipped, they will also have to process the return, which means additional time and resources will be spent repacking and restocking the product, as well as placing a new order.
While these steps seem minimal, the monetary cost associated to these processes start adding up, especially if the situation occurs often.
Cost to the manufacturer
There are two scenarios possible for manufacturers when it comes to inaccurate order placement.
- The manufacturer receives an order that doesn’t quite make sense, including out-of-stock or discontinued products or inaccurate prices. In this situation, the manufacturer tries to work things out with the retailer or directly with the designer, wasting time and resources on both sides.
- The manufacturer receives the order but does not catch the error, delivering the wrong product(s) to the customer. The product must be returned and reordered, causing additional shipping and waste costs.
Not only does this incur extra costs, it also damages the reputation of the manufacturer with dealers and retailers and lowers customer satisfaction and trust, potentially making it more difficult to retain existing customers and attract new ones.
Tips on improving order accuracy
If you’re looking for ways to improve order accuracy for your business, choose a service that provides real-time information sharing with the end-user. A service that enables access to manufacturer cloud content is ideal for this purpose and offers many benefits.
Having your product catalog available on the cloud allows for:
- Real-time information sharing to ensure that users always make valid selections
- Built-in product knowledge by only allowing changes that are available
- Error-free ordering/specification that eliminates costly re-ordering of products
- Up-to-date product availability information for dealer networks
- Higher quality catalogs that improve margins, productivity and clean order rates
- Accurate pricing on incoming orders through visual CPQ
Some service providers also offer product usage analytics for catalog items, helping manufacturers understand how, by whom, and how often their products and catalogs are being used. This valuable data helps businesses make important decisions about their products, including decisions related to inventory, production, and discontinuation of products.
Share this Post