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Dealing with Backorders

What is a backorder?

By definition, a backorder exists when there is a promise to fulfill an order which has not yet been fulfilled. In that case, a backorder is essentially a strategy allowing businesses to sell inventory, despite not having stock on-hand.

Why do businesses use backorders?

Backorders are implemented for a number of different reasons, the most common being an inequality in levels of supply and expected demand. Sometimes businesses incorrectly anticipate consumer demand to be less than it actually is. When a surge in demand occurs, backorders allow customers to continue placing orders, meaning businesses can continue to sell product.

For other businesses, backorder purchase options are intentionally used to generate hype and exclusivity, particularly for new product releases.

How to handle backorders?

Keep customers informed: give an ETA on the product, update the website ASAP with accurate information, encourage a discussion if customer’s have questions or concerns.

Consider offering an incentive if you’re worried about losing sales: free shipping, discount etc.

Choose how you want to fulfill the order (and tell the customer): offer to partial ship OR ship the whole order once the product arrives.

If it happens often, consider re-evaluating your stock management systems (perhaps by switching to a more efficient CRM-stock management product) and automating as much as possible based on historic data.

What are the issues with backordering?

Customers may abandon their order and decide not to purchase – this may continue into the future if the backorder is not made transparent initially.

Reduced revenues: both in the short and long term. In the short term, backorders will contain unprocessed payments for products that have not been fulfilled – revenues may need to be recorded in different periods. In the long term, customers who have been deterred from purchase may continue to take their business elsewhere – reducing long term revenues.

Extra shipping costs: if the products are shipped in two batches, you’ll need to choose how to absorb this cost.

What are the benefits of backordering?

Guaranteed sales that you can fulfill at a later date.

Data for future inventory purchases and better consolidation of inventory management systems (CRM stock control) and marketing.

Creates hype by promoting a sense of exclusivity – people want what they cannot have.

How to track and optimise stock levels?

Collect real time data.

Make predictions using historical data.

Have a back-up (e.g. extra vendors who can fulfill orders).

Automate inventory systems (or CRM stock management processes) with triggers and cues so the ordering process completes without involvement.

Project Management updates in Tall Emu v4

Quite a few of our customers run projects and tasks in CRM, and this module has been given a bit of an update in the latest version of Tall Emu CRM version 4.

  • Templated projects with many stages.
  • Automatically create projects based on items sold
  • Kan Ban style visualisation of project status

First of all – we’ve added different types of projects, and each type of project can optionally have different stages.  It means that there’s not a one-size fits all approach for deciding what stages to use in your delivery process.

KanBan style Visualisation of project Status

We quite often see clients using whiteboards with columns drawn on;  or paper files clipped in groups on the wall for customers to visually see where projects are at.     Taking a leaf from our Web CRM, we’ve added a KanBan style project view to version 4 CRM.

kanbanThe projects can be dragged from stage to stage (it updates CRM) for a real intuitive way to see what stage open projects are up to.

 

When run on a flat screen TV, the view gives you an easy to digest summary of project status without having to move magnets around or draw on white boards.    As the project status changes in CRM, the display will refresh and update automatically.

Close up of kanban

Template Projects & Tasks
Template projects and Tasks makes it quick and easy to generate projects to track and manage the delivery of your projects.  Templates help to save project managers’ time, provide consistency and enforce standards.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Define your project types – you can have as many types of project as you like.
  2. Decide what stages each project has – each project may have its own stages)
  3. Create template tasks for each stage.

You can now create a new project, manage it through stages and all tasks will create automatically in the right stage.

Automated Task Actions

Aside from automatically creating tasks, when a task gets (or doesn’t get) to a specified stage, we can trigger actions.

Actions may trigger based on:

  • Starting a Task
  • Rescheduling a task.
  • Completing a Task
  • When a task falls overdue.

The types of actions that can be triggered are:

  • Send an Email (with optional report)
    • To the person the task is assigned to
    • To the person another task is assigned to
  • Run a workflow
  • Update the project status
  • Update the task status

When a Task gets to a specified Stage, an Action can be automatically run. Action examples include:

  • Email the responsible person that their task is ready to start.
  • Email the project manager when Tasks complete with a report showing the progress of the project.
  • Alert the project manager when Tasks are overdue.
  • Email a customer when a Task is complete to show progress.
  • Email a customer with reports.
  • Run a process to create and send invoices when Tasks are in progress.

 

Create Tasks( or projects) based on sales made

It’s now possible to make a template set of tasks in CRM which can be created when a product is sold.  This allows you to automatically create a set of tasks (with dependencies or child tasks) when the sales order is processed.   If you have a large number of tasks, it’s possible to have them grouped for you into a project too.

For example:  You have a business selling cakes.

A customer orders from you, and your normal process would be to make a task to make the sponge, and then a task to ice the cake.

In Tall Emu, it’s now possible to have these tasks automatically generate based on the number of cakes sold.

The tasks can then be managed in the Tall Emu Time tracker – with staff members ticking off tasks as they are done, seamlessly keeping everything up to date.

New Hosted CRM option from Tall Emu

Many of the people we’ve spoken to have loved the possibilities our CRM offers, but don’t have the infrastructure to install it – or the IT skills on tap necessary to maintain it.

We’ve got some great news –  we’re offering our Enterprise CRM in a SAAS/Hosted cloud fashion.

For those of you who use MYOB Accountright live you’ll be familiar with this approach.  You download the program – but the database and infrastructure is all managed by someone else (in this case Tall Emu and Microsoft).

This means we can do it cheaper, faster and better.   You don’t need to worry about servers, storage space, SQL Server or any of that technical stuff.    Simply subscribe, download and configure.

This is still enterprise software, and so there’s work to do in helping you get going with the software – but there’s less “grunt-work” for you to pay for meaning that we can get you up and running quickly.

The main differences between our Enterprise CRM and the hosted version are:

  • The Hosted version does not require a server; does not require SQL Server.
  • Hosted will NOT support Reckon, EXO or Accountright Classic- these are on-premises applications that are (for now) too hard to support.
  • Hosted WILL support MYOB Accountright LIVE (and soon, XERO and QBO).
  • Webforms, webquotes, webmarketing and clickstream will all use  ‘tallemu’ domains and won’t require any server configuration in your office  making them available to more customers more easily.

We’re even making it possible to sync our Web CRM with Hosted for those that need mobile and tablet based solutions.

If you’re a company that needs fully featured CRM/ERP without a crazy price tag, and without switching from MYOB – get in touch.

CRM that works with Reckon Accounts Hosted

As a long time Reckon Partner, we’re pleased to announce that in Version 4 of Tall Emu CRM we have added support for Reckon Accounts Hosted.

For those that don’t know, Reckon Accounts Hosted is a cloud version of Reckon’s desktop product which runs in the browser.   It’s the same powerful Reckon product as the desktop – just accessible from anywhere.

So – if you are a small biz considering sticking with Reckon and want a CRM to match – you’ll be able to use Tall Emu CRM as soon as we finish testing.

Moving Office

After 10 years at 99 York Street, we’re moving on – down the road to 83 York Street!

Our move will be happening over the 18th to 20th of July, and during this time our service will be limited.  We will do our best to keep the disruption to a minimum, but do ask that you bear with us during the move.

Love Reckon Accounts, but hitting the limits?

Hitting the limits with Reckon

If you’re hitting the limits with Reckon but you don’t want to change accounting systems or you’ve just realized that its not a substitute for a CRM.

For warehousing:

It’s common that people use lots of paper and excel spreadsheets because Reckon doesn’t really have a pick, pack, ship process. Reckon just does the accounts.

As a result there can be lots of paper based process, running around with dockets, re-keying data between courier systems, excel, Reckon.

For example quite often:

  • Sales order entered
  • Special prices or custom pricing manually handled.
  • Printed
  • Taken to warehouse
  • Picked, packed
  • Sales order comes back to admin with notes
  • Invoiced & Invoice printed
  • Data entered manually into Australia post for labels.

Tall emu extends Reckon to deliver some process in the warehouse.

  • Enter orders into CRM or download from Shopping cart
  • Special pricing automatically applied.
  • Auto print picking slip
    • When picked, tick and flick in CRM
    • Auto printing of delivery label.
    • Auto printing of invoices (if required)
  • Transfer consignments automatically into Australia Post, Star Trak, Fastway (can add your courier too).
  • Transfer invoices automatically into Reckon
  • Email to the customer automatically.

Not just that – but can get the core crm features too:

  • Outlook integration with our Inbox 360
  • Phone integration
  • Email marketing
  • CRM database
  • Rich info about products
  • Process Automation
  • Website and Shopping Cart integration

and on it goes. We are happy supporters of Reckon but we make it better and help your business work smarter.

Web CRM Sync

Need Cloud CRM?  

Existing customers can try it for 6 months FREE*

We have connected our Desktop CRM to our web-based CRM due to customer demand for a field-solution for mobile and interstate staff.    The Sync process will sync your office CRM (or hosted Tall Emu CRM) giving you the best of both worlds.

WebCRMImage

Why Tall Emu Cloud CRM?

  • Simple to use – log in and get access right away.
  • Cloud hosted – no new infrastructure required.
  • No complex setup – syncs your data securely and automatically.
  • Links to your existing Tall Emu – Low risk, no loss of function.

 

What features are available?

  • Mobile and tablet access of company, contact, opportunity and project data [core fields only]
  • Tasks, Meetings, Notes data – Create, View and update
  • Map, Grid and Kanban views of Companies, Opportunities, Projects
  • Send SMS messages
  • Access to financial data while on the Road
  • Projects & Task in our Kanban view
  • Sync back to your Desktop CRM
  • …and shortly the ability to quote on the spot and get digital signatures.

We’d previously looked at (and postponed) this project – however – the benefits of having this are too great to ignore.  For example – you can use the Enterprise/Desktop CRM to manage and delegate tasks, plan meetings and manage sales and accounts.      When on the road, you can use the driving directions and speech recognition features of CRM to get to meetings and quickly record notes.

Over time more features will work between desktop and cloud CRM, including field service functions, charts and dashboards – but right now web CRM combined with desktop is compelling for in-field staff.

* The not-so small print:

  • We’ll give you a free trial if you are an existing or new Tall Emu desktop/enterprise customer with a current subscription licence.
  • We’ll set it up free.
  • You can use it for all your licenced users in your business
  • Try it for 6 months (all features)
  • At the end of the 6 months if you don’t think it’s worth paying for we’ll shut it off, and not charge you a cent for it.  If you want to keep it it is $10 per user per month (where you already have a licenced desktop user).
  • This is available to existing and New Tall Emu customers with a current desktop subscription.
  • First installations should start on 1st August 2018.
  • Installations done on first-come, first-served basis and are subject to provision of access to your systems, and normal business as usual support takes priority over free installs.

Merry Christmas and Happy New year – and some news

It’s been a long year here at Tall Emu – and we’d like to thank all of our clients, suppliers, partners and resellers for their support on our journey so far.

2018 will be an interesting year – our Cloud CRM has been in limited release to selected early adopter clients during 2017, and we’ve secured a few interesting and sizeable reference sites.    We’ll see the general availability of our Cloud CRM next year.

Our Enterprise CRM and ERP users aren’t going to be left out;  though we haven’t blogged in quite a while we have quite a few new things available now – or will be shortly available in version 4.

Courier Integration

We’ve integrated with Australia Post, Fastway and Star Trak to automatically generate consignments and print labels.  This means that on marking your shipments as “Picked” and telling the system what packaging you’ve used, it will automatically consign with the carrier; produce the labels – and manifest at the end of the day.     We’ll be adding more couriers to this system over 2018 based on demand.

Mobile Pick and Pack

Rather than run around the warehouse with bits of paper, we’ve developed a mobile pick and pack system.  It allows the team to grab a tablet or smartphone and pick, pack and ship orders without running back to the computer or carting bits of paper around.

This is ready for testing and will be generally available in Q1 2018.

Maps in Dashboards

Our Web CRM has some lovely mapping functions;  due to a requirement from one of our key clients (and some pretty good suggestions too) – we’ve decided to pull some of that mapping function into our Desktop CRM.   You’re able to see all of your customer/lead data on the map, and then slice and dice based on criteria such as ‘last visit’ or ‘total sales’.   This will be generally available as part of the v4 Dashboard system in early 2018 (though the client that suggested it will get it this week – it’s only fair!).

Google/SEO/SEM

We’ve extended version 4 of Tall Emu to be able to load offline conversion data back to Google, as part of our “clickstream” enhancement.  If that sounds like gibberish – talk to your Google consultant – they’ll tell you how cool it is.    It’s valuable for those clients who don’t sell online, but generate leads that way – and will help your Google consultant attribute those offline sales to the online activity.

 

There’s a lot of other changes in the CRM (and in the pipeline for ERP and Web CRM) but this was supposed to be our Christmas message and it’s already gone on for too long.

So, once again – Merry Christmas from the Tall Emu team and looking forward to a successful 2018 for everyone.

Cloud CRM Registration

If you’re an Australian or New Zealand based business and would like to be notified when our cloud accounting system is available please complete the form below and we will add you to the list.

Please indicate in the comments if you’re interested in seeing the preview version (when available), and if you’re migrating from another CRM system or excel list.   Mentioning your accounting system will also be helpful

First Name*:
Last Name*:
Primary Email*:
Phone (Work)*:
Number of users:
Accounting System:
Description:


Version 4 – New Features

It’s been a while since we released a new version of Tall Emu CRM, and we’re just putting the finishing touches on Version 4, for a release in Q1 2017.

Here are some of the new features that we’ve added, and a brief description.

Multi-Bidder/Tender based Opportunities

In CRM we are able to have many types of opportunities, each with different stages of pipeline. We have now added the possibility for a “Multi-Bid” opportunity type.

A multi-bid opportunity is where your client is not the final customer, and the people you’re selling to are themselves tendering for the business.

For example, suppose a second harbour tunnel was being built and three companies bid for the overall project. You may supply quotes to all three companies but only one of them can possibly win. Therefore, only one could be successful.

The challenge is how to track (correctly) the pipeline when you have 3 people bidding for a deal that only one can get – and how to correctly track and communicate with them.   The multi-bid opportunity in Tall Emu solves this neatly.

Parent/Child Opportunities

Parent/Child opportunities allows us to have one over-arching opportunity  (for example “Construct a building”) – but then allows us to have separate sub-opportunities – for example for dealing with separate trades or sub-contractors.

Automated Lead Allocation

When web-forms create leads in the CRM, they can be automatically be allocated to sales people based on rules.  These rules include the type of opportunity, the number of open opportunities and whether or not that person normally receives opportunties.   For example, you could “round robin” leads to your main sales team, until each of them had 10 – and after that new leads could ‘overflow’ to a sales admin person.

Recurring Invoices and Automated card payments

Version 4 of Tall Emu now adds a recurring sale (subscription) product type, with optional contract.  It is possible to make a sale, which will then automatically invoice the customer on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis thereafter – including charging the credit card via eWay.     This process can be completely automatic – and will transfer to the supported accounting system.

Quote Changes

Quote Revisions

Quote revisions allows us to have different versions of quotes. Depending on your needs, you are able to use the following options for revisions:

  • None (Default) – Quote revisions are not enabled.
  • Alpha – Quote Revisions are numbered Alpha (Q-1 rev A, Q-1 rev B, Q-1 rev C)
  • Numeric – Quote Revisions are numbered numerically (Q-1 rev 1, Q-1 rev 2, Q-1 rev 3)

You may revise a quote simply by choosing “New Revision”.

The new revision does the following:

  1. Updates the status of the prior quote to ‘Replaced’.
  1. Updates the ‘Original Quote’ and ‘Replaces Quote’.

There is also a “prior revisions” tab for fast access to earlier versions. This allows us to see at a glance all prior revisions, which revision replaces which earlier revision – and we can even make revisions based on earlier quotes (for example, make revision F based on revision C if the customer has changed their mind).

Minimum Order Quantity

Field “Min. Order QTY” in quote allows you to specify the minimum amount the quote is valid for. You may specify the same item many times on a quote if required, so you can easily offer variable pricing for different purchase quantities.

Copy as Special Pricing

Any quote may be copied to special pricing. This allows you to quote a client for pricing – and if agreed – quickly implement the agreed pricing rules inside CRM, including minimum order qty.

The product, Price and location are all used. If the quote has an expiry date this is used for the date the special pricing ends – otherwise the pricing stays in effect until updated.

If MOQ is specified, this is also used.

Set to Margin/Markup

On a quote, sales order or invoice new columns have been added per line for “Margin” and “Markup”. You may set any margin up to 99% (or 100% with zero cost price).

There are no limits on markup.

Transaction Categories

A new feature has been added on quotes, sales orders and invoices which allows these transactions to be grouped.

It also has a flag “Exclude from Financial Reports” which allows you to exclude transactions from financial reports and KPI reports (note this doesn’t impact accounting).

For example:

  • You may wish to exclude sales to whales, or one-off sales from team-based sales targets, or
  • You may wish to send a quote as a price confirmation/offer of supply and not count this in “Number of quotes sent” or “Value of quotes sent”.

Sliding Scale Prices (Qty Breaks)

  • Sliding scale prices now supported for cost and sell prices

 

Commercial Changes

  • Woo Commerce shopping cart integration – is now FREE in version 4.
  • Online Quoting system – is now FREE in version 4.

Our Woo Commerce and Online Quoting software is completely free for current and new CRM customers. Fees apply only for installation, set-up and customisation or professional services. Applies only to desktop CRM.