06 Feb Save $12,800 With On-Site Payment Processing
Benefits of On-Site Payment Processing
Printing invoices at the time of delivery give route sales drivers the opportunity to review them with customers, providing many of the same benefits as receipt printing. Adding on-site payment processing will have a significant impact on cash flow.
The alternative to on-site invoicing is for drivers to turn in sheaves of paperwork to billing clerks at the end of each shift. This creates another opportunity for errors to enter the system as clerks rerecord the billing information. More significantly, it also adds costly delays to the billing cycle. Consider a driver who finishes his or her Monday shift and turns the daily invoices into the billing department. In the best case, the information will be entered into the billing system and invoices mailed the next day. The customer will receive them in the mail two or three days later, a total of three to four days after the visit. Companies that follow this standard business practice are thus at a three or four-day cash-cycle disadvantage compared with their competitors that bill on site. They also build postage expenses into each order.
The cash-cycle advantage can be accelerated significantly by using mobile printers to accept payment on delivery. Many companies routinely wait 30 days or more to pay invoices. Requiring payment on delivery eliminates the billing lag time and invoice processing delays, improving the cash cycle by at least a month. Mobile printers with integrated credit card readers make it convenient and simple to accept mobile payment and improve cash flow.
How Grupo Elektra save $12,800
Grupo Elektra, the largest home electronics, furniture, and computer retailer in Mexico, save hundreds of hours in administrative time a day by issuing mobile printers and computers to its collection force. Elektra has about 3,000 collections professionals who each visit between 30 and 40 customers each day to take monthly payments. Previously, all transactions were recorded by hand onto paper forms. Each night, approximately 800 regional supervisors entered all the information into the computer system, a process that took hours and was rife with mistakes.
Elektra automated these operations by giving collection professionals handheld computers and Bluetooth®- enabled Zebra mobile printers to record all transactions and generate receipts. At the end of the shift, information is uploaded from the mobile computer to the host system in minutes, instead of hours. The system enables workers to collect and access more customer information, resulting in improved collections and more customer visits per day. Ultimately, such solutions enable organizations to service more customers without adding route staff, which produces significant labor cost savings.
An emerging application is the use of wide-area wireless data networks for credit card payment authorization. Route agents swipe the credit card through a reader integrated into a Zebra printer, which transfers the data to a mobile computer or cell phone through either a cable or short-range wireless interface. The cellular network or other wide-area wireless data service is then used to send the credit authorization request. The transaction is processed securely and efficiently in seconds, eliminating the need for batch processing at the end of the shift. Zebra mobile printers offer WPA and WPA2 security, which meet the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard for payment card processing over wireless LANs.
Cutting Expenses and Improving Customer Service
On-site payment processing is also beneficial to companies because it reduces the resources needed to support the route sales operation. Billing departments have fewer invoices to process and customer service has fewer calls to resolve because customers will review and approve invoices with their route sales representatives. Assuming billing inquiries take an average of 15 minutes to resolve, companies can save $640 in invoice processing expenses for every 1,000 orders billed, a breakdown of $250 in reduced customer service labor and $390 in postage. At 10 percent margin, the savings is equivalent to $6,400 in new sales, or $12,800 at 5 percent margin.
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