One TradeCentric customer is a publicly traded leader in biotech research tools.
In 2015, the company partnered with TradeCentric to integrate PunchOut catalog capabilities with its customers’ eProcurement solutions. The goal was to better service buyers, which consisted of approximately 30 organizations in the higher education industry.
The addition of PunchOut catalogs proved to be an appealing feature for buyers. In the first year after implementation, the company saw revenue growth between 20% to 30% on average, and as much as 60% for some customers, such as buyers in the biotech industry.
After seeing successful results with PunchOut, the company decided to invest further in B2B connected commerce solutions. The next phase of growth included digital ordering and invoicing capabilities through TradeCentric’s cloud-based integration platform.
Buyer satisfaction has always been a priority for the company, but with 150,000+ orders annually and heavy reliance on manual processes, customer service resources were stretched thin. Customer service representatives received PDF documents and would have to manually rekey those orders into the proper format within their ERP system.
Despite understanding the need to streamline processes, the company lacked the internal information technology resources to implement an automated ordering and invoicing system. Nevertheless, the company knew it needed to advance its technical capabilities. The opportunity cost of not investing in customer experience improvements was too high. Without integration, the company would risk losing future sales and even existing customers.
The company initially turned to a third-party provider of ordering and invoicing solutions. Over time, the solution failed to generate the desired operating efficiencies. Customer service representatives still had to receive orders in PDF form, the only difference being that they then manually rekeyed the orders in their system using EXML (encrypted XML) before they could be digitally sent to customers.
“It was kind of a hack, and really manual on our side.”eProcurement manager
By 2018, the company began to evaluate a better way to integrate automated ordering and invoicing capabilities. Achieving buy-in across the company was challenging at first, as the solution needed to satisfy requirements for several departments including customer service, IT and eProcurement.
The tipping point came after the company conducted a study on time savings of implementing connected commerce solutions. By some estimates, more than 7,000 hours a year of manual labor could be reallocated to revenue generating customer service functions by eliminating the rekeying of orders.
Having quantified the potential labor savings and increase in customer revenue from implementing automated ordering and invoicing, the company gave the project a thumbs up.
“Cost savings and revenue growth got the project approved by leadership, but the driving force behind the project was helping customers buy the way they wanted and aligning ourselves with where the market was going. We’re able to meet customer needs and move faster which saves time and money. It’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have.”eProcurement manager
The company has achieved a significant reduction in order processing time, lowering it from 8 minutes per order to less than 2 minutes. In addition, they have saved the equivalent of 3.5 full time employee hours. The automated ordering system has also netted approximately 50,000 automated orders in 2021.
Today, the company generates 6,500 orders per month and is on track to generate 80,000 automated eProcurement orders annually. Based on those figures, they project it will save 8,000 hours in manual labor that can be reallocated to other revenue producing tasks, a substantial jump from its initial projections and an even higher return on investment than expected.
The integration has also expanded their customer base, especially among biotech firms, which are now proactively seeking them as a supplier. Previously, outreach to biotech and pharma companies was challenging. Once the company began offering PunchOut catalogs with automated ordering and invoicing, its eCommerce capabilities became more attractive and the company saw an increase in inbound sales calls.
“TradeCentric’s solutions have allowed us to bring on more and more buyers, which has been very beneficial in driving revenue.”eProcurement manager
The initial success of leveraging TradeCentric in the US market led to a wider global implementation of connected commerce solutions in the European and Asia-Pacific (APAC) markets.
“PunchOut is our virtual sales rep. The automation through PunchOut provides us with a competitive edge.”eProcurement manager