A few wholesale facilities still use manual data entry to record their customer names, the amount received, and other information they gather from paper bills, orders, receipts, and invoices. Many have used it for years and have stayed in business; hence, they do not see the need to switch up things. While there may be a bit of truth in this, how efficient is this system?
Years ago, manual data entry was limited to writing pieces of information about sales and purchases in a ledger book.
The definition has since evolved to include manually transferring data from paper bills and invoices into computer databases and spreadsheet programs.
Businesses have begun to shift away from this, and it may be the right time for your produce business to do so as well. Manual data entry is more prone to errors and could potentially lead to compliance issues, reduce productivity and cost a lot of time. 60% of businesses agree with the error claim and insist that they do not trust the quality of data obtained from their manual data entries.
What’s more? Here are the most important reasons to upgrade your produce business from manual data entry.
1. Loss of files
A malware attack, fire outbreak, or miscalculation by an operator can lead to the loss of files and ledger books or other books of record. Once these files are lost, it becomes challenging to track invoices, receipts, revenue, and salaries paid to staff members.
If automated via an ERP software solution, the data can be shared with other units within the same produce facility and along the supply chain. This makes it nearly impossible to lose records. A simple-to-use produce ERP software like Silo will do. Check out https://usesilo.com/customers/wholesale-distributors to learn more about Silo.
2. Potential financial issues
Fresh produce businesses that manually process invoices and orders are often prone to financial issues resulting from data entry errors.
Especially when it concerns many invoices, orders, and receipts, errors in manual entry may lead to billing a customer twice or not billing them at all. This has its financial implications, which may be grave or not, depending on how large the order is.
Errors like these need corrections, which may take some time to process because the source of the error needs to be traced. This may delay sending out invoices and potentially delays payment.
An automated entry system mitigates these problems by helping you create an invoice automatically. Rather than manually entering data, it automatically pulls the information needed from your inventory to create an invoice. It helps if you use an easily integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to help you manage and trace all aspects of your business.
Once the invoice has been created, the system automatically notifies your accounting department of the invoice and pings the customer to let them know about the pending invoice. The customer may then pay online at their most convenient time. The most considerable flex is that with ERPs like SIlo, customers can pay directly and digitally from their invoices.
3. Poor turnaround time
Entering data manually on spreadsheets and other computer programs can be time-consuming, even for data entry specialists. The average data entry professional logs in about 10,000 to 15,000 keystrokes per hour or 40 words per minute. That leaves time it takes to read and understand the data they enter into the spreadsheet, especially where complex information is involved. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end here.
Putting that into context, if a form averages about 600 words to enter, you will be taking an average of 15 minutes to fill a form. This translates to attending to only about eight customers in 2 hours. That’s a lot of time for so little work!
On top of that, you have to hire excellent entry operators who are not just fast but proficient at getting this result. But even the most proficient of them is still prone to errors.
On the other end of the divide is an automated entry system whose data collection method is quicker and less prone to errors. In the automated process, data is collected via scanners and computers, which read the ID tags on each packaged produce. Once read, all relevant information about the package is logged onto the system automatically.
It can be argued that manual data entry is cheap. But is it? To begin with, there’s the cost of getting data entry specialists. Although the rate per hour may not be on the high side, it adds up when they work long hours, which is nearly inevitable if you have a lot of orders to process.
There is also the cost of botched data-entry logs. Research has shown that incorrect data costs most businesses 30 percent or more of their profits. The popular 1-10-100 data entry theory lends further credence to this. It states that it costs $1 to verify the accuracy of the data, $10 to correct any errors made when the data is processed in batches, and $100 or more for each record if no action is taken.
An automated entry system may cost you some money on setting up but serves you better and costs comparatively less in the long run. This is especially true if you go by ERPs with low implementation fees. You should also go for one that’s easy to use, to lessen the pressure or burden on your IT unit.
It is evident that the advantages of an automated data entry system far outweigh those of manual data entry. Businesses are therefore encouraged to begin to automate their processes. For example, it’s imperative in the produce business where food recalls may happen. Automated entry systems help prevent food recalls and aid in tracing the origin of the contamination if it happens.