Yesterday, we posted a blog sharing the importance of the perfect order.  Today, we'll tell you how to create the perfect order.


How can I create the perfect order?


  • Define clear parameters early on. By working with your customers to set specific, agreed-on perfect order standards up front, you can eliminate ambiguity and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Align efforts to rewards. Error elimination comes at a cost, so don’t overshoot the mark in your quest for perfection. Define acceptable variances for each process based on its value to you and your customer (e.g., it may not make sense to spend 200 USD tracking down a 40-cent mistake). Then continue to adjust metrics as your business environment and requirements change.
  • Embrace automation. Leverage technology and network capabilities to reach your goals, and take full advantage of the capabilities they offer. For example, Agilent realized 80 percent touchless processing with one customer by using the Ariba® Network to accept orders, send ship notices and order confirmations, and invoice electronically. This enabled them to book orders as soon as they arrived, resulting in fewer errors and a more consistent customer experience. Adding PunchOut pushed touchless processing closer to 95 percent. The results? “Fewer obsolete part numbers, fewer unit and measure problems, less touch on the buy side, less touch on the fulfillment side, and a better customer experience overall,” Lawler says.
  • Prioritize and pilot. Examine current customers for the best candidates to work with first—e.g., top run rate accounts that will benefit the most the fastest, or those most likely to offer good growth partnerships—and launch a perfect order pilot program with one or two. Measure your results quarterly to track ROI, then use those numbers to encourage other customers to participate.
  • Use standardized platforms and solutions. Common platforms like the Ariba Network help drive efficiency, since the capabilities and resources you develop with one customer can be leveraged with others. “We like common platforms,” Lawler says. “The standardization is great; we don’t have to build 50 independent custom connections, it helps us to scale better and faster, and for everybody it keeps costs down.”
  • Manage culture change carefully. “Culture eats strategy for lunch,” Lawler points out, noting that careful pacing and management of the new approach are crucial to ensure success. “Don’t try to do too much too fast, or organizational antibodies will kick in,” he adds. “At the same time, you have to nurture execution of the strategy, or you’ll get death by a thousand paper cuts.”
  • Plant seeds, then assess progress. Socialize key messages throughout the company, and monitor the way employees interpret and implement new strategies through their daily choices and actions.
  • Don’t underestimate the magnitude of the change. “View it as a transformation from top to bottom,” Lawler advises. “It’s not just about e-invoicing, it’s about being more strategic with customers and helping them drive efficiency into that perfect order as well as within their organization.”


Where can I learn more?

To hear the entire session, go to