Esker Automates Industrial Wholesaler AgoNow’s Order Management Processes
Esker, a global cloud platform and leader in AI-driven process automation solutions for finance and customer service functions, has implemented Esker’s Order Management solution for AgoNow, a pure industrial wholesaler and channel solutions provider to reduce manual process errors, increase efficiency and reinvest saved time into premium customer service.
“An unexpected benefit of this implementation was that it helped us uncover other inefficiencies we wouldn’t have even been aware of without Esker’s workflow solution.”
Esker’s automated Order Management solution combines AI and RPA technology to transform the repetitive, low-value areas of order taking all through one secure, centralized, cloud-based platform. Any email, EDI, fax, mobile order or portal can be electronically processed with accuracy, visibility and efficiency.
As a pure industrial wholesaler, AgoNow primarily services distributors to provide a better channel for strategically spending their capital when purchasing from manufacturers. Distributors can avoid manufacturer’s order restraints, such as minimum order limits and free shipping qualifications, and maximize discounts by bundling orders through AgoNow.
Offering those strategic buying decisions requires high-quality customer service from AgoNow, but manually rekeying order document information was bogging down its employees. Despite having a website offering and EDI relationships, many businesses still place orders via phone calls, emails and faxes.
AgoNow embarked on Esker’s eight-week fast track program to implement order management automation. Esker’s cloud-based solution integrated directly within AgoNow’s 100% cloud-based ERP system NetSuite without disrupting its current ERP landscape.
In the first three days, AgoNow selected customers and processed small batches of orders to test the automation and get comfortable with Esker’s platform. By the fourth day, AgoNow felt confident about opening the floodgates and processing every order they received via email.
“Esker is incredibly user-friendly, making it easy to train our end-users. Their support team has been very responsive to address issues almost immediately,” said Kristen Dolen, AgoNow VP of operations. “An unexpected benefit of this implementation was that it helped us uncover other inefficiencies we wouldn’t have even been aware of without Esker’s workflow solution.”
AgoNow is already seeing benefits from Esker’s Order Management solution, including rapid entry of orders, reduction of errors for manufacturer partners, avoidance of back-orders and overall drop in operational costs. That gained productivity enables AgoNow to strengthen its competitive advantage and help position its customers to win more business.
“We’re not looking at efficiency to eliminate jobs. For AgoNow, efficiency involves automating tasks that take a lot of time such as data entry, so that our employees can add value for our customers,” said AgoNow COO and Co-founder Mike Denning. “Our customer service representatives now have time to call customers and ask how we can help or to let them know of great deal opportunities. That’s where we see the true value.”
Esker’s AI engine provides high data recognition and extraction rates from day one and continuously learns as it processes more documents. This helps organizations overcome their own nuanced data difficulties. The differences between the customer’s and the manufacturer’s units of measurement can be a nightmare; the same item could be described as a pack or a box depending on the manufacturer or distributor. Esker’s AI engine will automatically learn how to convert units of measurement along the way.
“Esker’s ability to quickly build its knowledge engine around how AgoNow, our manufacturers and our distributors handle document layout and data was a key factor in our decision. Picking up on those differences in the data and being able to then build some logic around it is where I think Esker’s solutions really stand out,” said Denning.
Accounts Payable (AP) automation with Esker is next up on AgoNow’s automation journey to alleviate the pain points of their employees still manually keying in invoices from manufacturers. Esker’s AP automation platform with three-way match verification automatically checks for the corresponding purchase orders (PO) and goods receipts when a PO-related invoice arrives.
“It has been a pleasure to automate AgoNow’s order management process to help them better serve their customer,” said Steve Smith, Esker U.S. COO. “Esker respects and aligns with AgoNow’s customer-first focus and mission to build value among the manufacturers and distributors in its ecosystem.”