Software: Order Entry System Reduces Shipping Errors
Problem: Jack Stack Barbecue wanted to reduce shipping errors due to improperly keyed data in its contact center.
Solution: The company implemented Data Management Associates’ MACH2K as its order entry software.
Results: Order entry errors were reduced by more than 50 percent; shipping errors nearly were eliminated.
Jack Stack Barbecue, a multichannel gourmet barbecue products merchant, implemented in 2004 Data Management Associates’ (DMA) MACH2K order management software to reduce order entry errors.
A catalog company born in 2003 as a side business to three family-owned restaurants, Jack Stack Barbecue used an order entry system (OES) that required customer service reps (CSRs) to scroll through a series of pages to process and verify each order. Dale Johnson, director of customer services for the Kansas City, Mo.-based food merchant, estimates that 2 percent of all orders were entered into the system incorrectly. As Jack Stack CSRs processed up to 4,000 orders per week during the company’s busy season, Johnson recalls that errors began to pile up.
While a few errors typically were misspelled names, others involved staff incorrectly entering item numbers, or misapplying discount codes and gift certificates, says Johnson. He further notes that due to the gift friendly nature of Jack Stack products, a customer often would provide a receiving address that was different from his or her billing address, which resulted in shipping errors when staff didn’t properly verify these addresses. Additionally, Internet orders were delivered to the contact center as e-mails, which CSRs then manually entered into the OES, creating another opportunity for order entry error.
Johnson knew a more streamlined OES would make it easier for his CSRs to verify customer information. In interviewing vendors offering possible solutions, he favored systems where all data for a particular order were entered on a single page. Other delimiting factors in his search included:
¥ the ability to process far more orders than Jack Stack did at the time, to allow for future growth;
¥ custom reports that easily could be created without the assistance of the vendor’s support team; and
¥ the option to pay for the OES incrementally.
Jack Stack officials ultimately chose DMA’s MACH2K software in the spring of 2004 for their 10-seat contact center. Johnson, accompanied by Jack Stack’s chief financial officer and general manager of shipping, traveled to DMA’s Cincinnati office for one week of preliminary training. Following that, two DMA representatives spent another week at Jack Stack installing the software and training the CSRs.
Larry Maher, vice president of sales and marketing for DMA, notes that a basic MACH2K package for 10 concurrent users costs from $40,000 to $50,000, depending on additional software modules, such as programs for product personalization or continuity business.
Here’s how the MACH2K system works: When a customer places an order with a CSR, the billing information is entered first. The system then prompts the CSR for a shipping address and asks whether or not this address should be the same as the billing address. All of the order information is visible on one page, allowing the CSR to verify with the customer the entire order without scrolling from screen to screen.
Internet orders are sent in batches from the Jack Stack’s Web site every 15 minutes to a CSR who reviews the orders to make sure the company has the items in stock. Once reviewed, the orders automatically are loaded into the OES. Both Internet and phone orders are fed through a separate address quality program to reduce keystroke mistakes and standardize addresses.
The results? “Order entry errors were reduced by more than 50 percent, and shipping errors were virtually eliminated,” says Johnson. Additionally, he points out that order entry time was cut by one-third, allowing Jack Stack to handle more calls without adding personnel. While processing Internet orders previously required several CSRs to key orders manually, now all Web orders can be handled by one person.
As an added bonus, a new CSR can be trained on MACH2K in less than a day, compared with the three days the old system required. Says Johnson,”Since the system is so intuitive, [CSRs] have a better chance of accurate order entry.”