Sales Planning and fulfilment process is the complete process starting from a sales inquiry till the receipt of final product at the customer's premises. At a broad level, this process would refer to how a firm would respond to a customer order. Based on how long it takes to manufacture and product; and how long the customer would be willing to wait for the order to be completed, a firm can opt for (i) made- to-stock, (ii) made-to-order, (iii) assemble-to-order or (iv) engineer-to-order strategy. The strategy chosen by the firm has strong implications on how firms customize their products or deal with product varieties.
Possible stages in the fulfilment process include:
A good demand fulfilment process goes a long way into building a company's reputation in terms of adhering to customer service levels and simultaneously minimizing its inventories and accounts receivables. Also, it helps in reducing the amount of returns and status updates on the orders are promptly conveyed to the customer. The netting of forecasts and customer orders (in a made to stock strategy) and ATP (Available to promise) functionality enables committing a realistic order fulfilment date to the customer; thereby increasing customer satisfaction and improving the overall performance of the supply chain. Also, ERP software, coupled with web enabled technologies and EDI have resulted in considerable shortening of order fulfilment lead times. Standardized processes and use of advanced technologies allows use of real time data which goes a long way in shortening the lead times as well as making the firm flexible enough to respond to any changes in a more efficent way.
- Processing of Forecasts: receipt of sales forecasts, consensus review and moderation of forecasts
- Inquiry: Initial sales enquiry from the customer about offerings
- Quote: Quotation sent by the firm to the customer
- Order booking: Receipt of Sales orders from the customer
- Order confirmation: confirmation that the orders are received / booked
- Order changes: Communicating changes in the order to the customer, e.g. change in promise dates, prices, quantities etc
- Outbound Delivery process: This includes picking, packing and staging for shipment at the warehouse
- Shipment process: Shipment and transportation of goods
- Invoicing: This involves sending the commercial invoice / bill to the customer
- Remittance: The receipt of payment of the charges for the goods
- Returns: Taking back the goods from the customer in case the goods are not acceptable by the customer
Forecasting demand and linking it to production and sales remains one of the biggest challenges for supply chain managers. Inaccurate prediction affects bottom lines and results in loss of customers. Aqua MCG’s advanced algorithms utilize the enterprise’s knowledge like sales history, promotional plans, the quantity of inventory, etc. to arrive at reliable demand predictions. We believe that firms must develop superior fulfilment capabilities by identfying and targetting new market opportunities and being dynamic enough to adapt to changes in the industry. Aqua MCG lays great importance to flexibility, standardization, optimization and use of advanced technology in order for the firm to have exceptional fulfilment capability, thus serving its customers better.