In the wines and spirits business, a customer on COD with one distributor is on COD with all distributors within a state. This is true at least in New York and New Jersey. It is vital for customers to pay their bills within terms or risk that they will be reported to the state as being delinquent. This could be devastating to the customer’s business as they would lose their ability to pay on terms. Additionally, as customers are reported to the state based on each distributor’s individual posting schedule, they could go on COD at any time during the day. Finally, customers could just be put on full hold due to lack of payment and therefore orders would not be shipped to them. This is worse than COD as they would not have merchandise to put on their shelves. Once the customers were in this situation, they wanted to rectify it as soon as possible and at any time of the day in order to get their orders moving.
The problem we were approached with was to create a solution that would bridge two gaps. The first was to give the salespeople access to their orders and allow them to select how the customers on COD were going to pay – Check to Driver, Check to the Salesperson or ACH to the Office. The second was to give the Accounting department at the distributor the ability to release orders from hold when the customer satisfied their balance so that their orders could be taken off of hold. Regardless of the situation, the orders were not be sent to the warehouse for picking until the salesperson denoted the payment method or the accounting office released the accounting hold on the orders.
The Microsoft Power Apps Solution
We solved this problem for this distributor using the same software solution. We used Microsoft Power Apps to create 2 different apps for each of the solutions that were required. Although the outcome was different, the premise behind the solution was really the same. In the situation of the customer being on hold, we needed to present the sales rep with an image of their customers on COD with open orders and to give them a pull down to decide how the payment was going to be made. With the situation of the on hold customer, we needed to give each accounting manager an image of their customers and allow them to release those customers who were no longer delinquent.
Power apps gave us the ability to create 2 different apps using the same basic skin for the look and feel of the process but allow the data that was presented to vary based on the user. Additionally, Power Apps allowed us to pull and push data directly from a sql server so that the data shown on the screen was refreshed real-time and the updates made to the data wrote back to the connected SQL server immediately. Once the accounting or sales team made their updates, the orders were released and flowed to the warehouse for picking and shipping.
The solution solved both situations for our customer and allowed the users to access their functions on a pc, tablet or phone instantaneously and seamlessly and was easy to use.
The solution was exactly what they were looking for.