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the Quote to Order Process (S&OP)


Addressing customer complaints and order errors was the path to revenue growth.

"We knew we were having problems in sales but suspected that the problem resided not within the sales force, but within the internal organizational functions that supported revenue generation and our customers. Our Six Sigma measurement oriented culture required a standard of high measurability to any recommended solution."

A large food service manufacturing company was receiving complaints due to a significant number of order errors resulting in expensive re-work and customer dissatisfaction. Simultaneously they were experiences difficulties in hitting their sales targets. Executive management suspected that this was a contributing cause to revenue shortfall and wanted to diagnose and implement a solution that was both effective and highly measurable. The situation was further complicated by an ongoing Oracle implementation that would impact many operational processes.


Business Unlimited utilized our operational assessment Customer Support Solution Framework to diagnose the problems leading to the flawed quote to order process and develop a series of specific, phased recommendations for operational change. The analysis was comprehensive and included a detailed review of several operating locations, workflow, management processes, organizational structures and the current usage of IT support tools.

Stages in the engagement included:

• A visioning session to create a single quote to order process across all locations and aligned with Oracle

• Development of metrics to establish baselines, measure current performance and provide requirements for Oracle reporting design

• Organizational process alignment to support ongoing process improvement

• Engagement of the customer service reps in implementing process improvement changes

• Implemented accountabilities for inside sales, engineering and purchasing while removing non-value added workflow from each group

• Development an interim solution for one critical location to bring near-term improvements

• Redesigned front end processes and data collection tools

• Deployment of a pilot of the new solution prior to enterprise-wide roll out

• Development of a communications strategy and plan to address the significant change management issues that were identified in the initial assessment


The implementation of new processes, changes in workflow and measures and metrics resulted in a rigorous quote to order process based on Six Sigma requirements. Due to the significant amount of change required and the lack of an imminent system roll out to support new processes, an interim approach was successfully implemented to achieve near-terms results. Management realized an improved data capture process from sales channel partners and obtained business requirements for their upcoming Oracle system implementation, which enabled the achievement of the full benefits from the overall set of recommendations.

A key outcome was the development of a process to motivate a legacy and tenured workforce to change their procedures and adopt recommendations that would drive improved top line revenue growth. The pilot was successfully implemented and has led to a full organizational roll out.

Copyright © 2012 Business Unlimited. All rights reserved.

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