Software and Solutions for the Construction Materials and Aggregate Industries

    Tightening up the invoicing cycle (#1 in a series on implementing Compass software)

    In soccer, the very best teams play "one touch" football, handling the ball deftly and quickly, and passing it on with 'one touch'. Learn how to apply this principle in your company using the Invoicing cycle as an example. We describe the benefits that accrue in tightening up your Invoicing cycle, and finally, how Compass software will help you to up your game.

    In working with construction materials customers and implementing Compass Software, we've developed various approaches for ensuring that implementing our the software benefits your bottom line.

    It's important to always begin with goals for the business, not purely technical goals, in order to improve profitability.  Generally stated those goals are: to improve operational efficiency, to facilitate communications and better teamwork, to support effective decision making and to improve customer service.

    In terms of operational efficiency, we look at tightening up work flow cycles. Compass enterprise software touches on a number of business cycles, especially those involved with moving material by truck.  Daily cycles include balancing cash, closing dispatch tickets, and scheduling deliveries.  Weekly cycles include invoicing, sales reports, and there are also monthly cycles.  

    One specific area we try to improve is the weekly or bi-weekly invoicing cycle. How long does it take for you to produce invoices, including all steps from close of business until the invoices have been printed or e-mailed. If your cut-off is Friday or Saturday, are you printing and e-mailing invoices 15 minutes into your Monday work day or does it take until Wednesday or Thursday?

    There is no universal answer as to how long the process should take, but most companies can improve and tighten up their invoicing process.  The basic idea is to take tasks that occur after the end of the week, and perform them as the week goes along. 

    For example, you may look at reviewing and correcting scale-house, transfer and inventory tickets each and every day, instead of weekly.  Compass's batch editing and review process, using Microsoft's .NET user interface,  makes it easy to find errors, and bring up a given ticket for easy correction.  The process is designed so that it can be easily run in the office, every day.

    Pricing deliveries and charging out trucking can be another time consuming exercise when left to week's end.  Compass makes it easy to maintain a real-time pricing system, so you can price as you go, whether from price lists or price quotes.  Effective dates on all price lines make it easy to review and increase prices ahead of time, and you can charge delivery based on a ton-mile or zone system. Footer charges such as MNR levies, fuel surcharges and sales tax are all taken care of in the software.

    The goal is to have in place a 100% fully automatic pricing system that incorporates all features of your pricing strategy. If pricing is not fully automatic, then manual over-rides are necessary, and these slow up the invoicing cycle, and can be a source of errors, especially if they are missed.

    Compass also allows you to mobilize your sales team with a formal quote system, so that all prices are put in place correctly and completely ahead of time.

    Why tighten up your quotation, pricing, ticketing, and invoicing cycle?  Just add up the benefits.
    1) Work load for the office staff evens out across the week; no more "crunch" time. Rushing at "crunch" time is a source of errors and costly shortcuts.
    2) Information accuracy increases when a system is able to capture data in real time.  By that we mean that data capture or entry should occur in sync with the conduct of your business.  Not later in "catch up" mode.  Thus, put in pricing information when the deal is negotiated; don't wait until later when key elements may be overlooked or forgotten.  Capture all delivery information, and ensure quotation and price determinants are in place when the load goes out.
    3) Timely information 'in' means timely decision making support 'out'.  For example, Compass can send a KPI report to all managers overnight with shipping and budget information up to date to the end of the previous day. But the report is not useful, or impossible, if delivery and pricing information is incomplete at time of delivery.
    4) Billing errors have a very negative impact on customer relations. You work hard to deliver the right material on time, and then lose that good will when the invoice is wrong, causing aggravation for your team and your customer.  

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    In soccer, the very best teams play "one touch" football.  They touch the ball once, and it moves on.  This is what you want to do in handling information within your operation.  Fill out a quote once, correctly, and move it on.  Have a delivery ticket that is complete, accurate and properly priced (in the system),and it moves on to the next step. Apply this principle to all the information you handle.  Part of the process in implementing Compass software is to find the "traps" and "fumbles" so you can execute more successfully as a team, and ultimately, score more goals than the competition.

    Compass Software is designed to fit the needs of a construction material company, providing good quotation software, easy ticket review and correction, a pricing program that covers 100% of your pricing needs including MNR levies, fuel surcharges and trucking charges. So that you can work better as a team, and up your game.  Be Barcelona!

     

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