Resolution: Make my ordering system more user-friendly — part one

September 18, 2017By Behind the Shelf Blog, Data Analysis and Management, Resolutions

by Mary Hart, senior data assets specialist, for the Resolutions blog series

Ordering systems are vital to your business, but many times there aren’t associated business rules and processes. Because most systems only allow a limited number of characters, abbreviations for product names must be generated. Often they are derived solely based on whoever enters it and their idea for the best option.

Unfortunately, what’s one person’s idea of a “good” abbreviation doesn’t always translate to all. And if there aren’t any business rules or guidebook to reference, all that is left is their perception of what makes sense. In many cases this may work, however, any time there is a product that a customer can’t easily find or interpret because of a poor abbreviation, sales could be lost, and that shouldn’t be overlooked. Does this sound like your ordering system? Then it’s time to develop business rules to standardize the item setup process. No matter who enters a product, every user will be able to interpret the abbreviated product name because it will follow guidelines that leave no room for subjectivity.Pharmacist ordering products

I understand the magnitude of undertaking a revision of a system that touches the majority of your organization as well as your customers. And I recognize that the initiative might sound overwhelming, but when you consider the sales you may be missing out on, isn’t it worth it?

With a project such as this, my first piece of advice is to look for an objective outside company to assist you. Choose someone with experience in the industry that will need minimal time to understand what is required to achieve your goal. The transition will go much more smoothly if you work with a company that understands the industry and can “speak the language.”

The company should also have proven project management expertise. It will be difficult to retrain staff to use the new business rules for entering product names and descriptions. It’s hard to change what has been learned and probably in practice for a long period of time. Especially when the old way is efficient because it’s become secondhand. A company with strong project management experience can help guide users through training and make sure the project reaches budget, time, and resource goals.

My next post will offer an additional suggestion to even further streamline your ordering system. Making your order system as user-friendly as possible can only result in positive outcomes, like improving sales.