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Workflow automation 

Matheus Coutinho
Sales Development Representative, NAFTA

Workflow automation in B2B e-commerce is a game-changer for businesses because it helps automate repetitive tasks like order approvals, invoicing, and payment management, significantly speeding up transactions. This automation allows companies to focus more on strategic planning rather than routine paperwork.

For instance, imagine a multinational electronics distributor. Every week, its regional sales managers submit bulk orders to the procurement team for electronic components. Traditionally, this process could be bogged down by numerous back-and-forth emails to get approvals, clarify pricing, or ensure compliance with corporate purchasing rules. With workflow automation, the system flags orders that exceed certain quantities or budgets and automatically routes them to a designated approver with the right authority. This ensures that high-value or sensitive transactions are properly vetted without requiring manual intervention. In the end, the distributor can process more orders quickly, reducing delays and improving customer satisfaction.

Invoicing is another critical area where automation shines. Consider a food and beverage supplier that ships ingredients to hundreds of restaurants each month. Each restaurant has unique billing preferences, with some requiring electronic invoices while others need printed copies. Manually managing this process would involve significant time and potential for errors. However, by using automated invoicing, the system generates and sends invoices based on each customer's preferences. This not only ensures accurate and timely billing but also reduces the workload for the accounting team, who can focus on higher-value tasks like optimizing payment terms and credit lines.

Payment management is also streamlined through automation. A global logistics provider, for example, needs to handle payments from clients across different time zones and currencies. With automated payment processing, their clients receive reminders of upcoming invoices, and the system ensures payments are processed promptly. Automated payment reconciliation matches incoming funds to outstanding invoices, identifying discrepancies quickly and triggering alerts for late or partial payments. As a result, the logistics provider maintains a healthier cash flow and minimizes the risk of overdue accounts.

In each of these cases, workflow automation enhances accuracy, reduces manual labor, and significantly improves the speed of B2B transactions. By automating these critical tasks, businesses can enhance their internal efficiencies while providing better service to their clients, leading to stronger partnerships and streamlined operations.

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