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Online Ordering is Already Here

Heidi Ellsworth Online Ordering
June 24, 2020 at 6:00 a.m.

RCS Influencer Heidi J. Ellsworth says that online ordering, delivery and payments are here to stay.

COVID 19 has brought great grief and wreaked havoc on our economy, but as with every hardship or challenge we adopt changes that help us adapt to a new normal.  One of the societal changes of COVID has been the exponential leap forward in the use of technology in roofing.

For many it has been an easy change to move from manual procedures in the office to working remotely in the cloud.  We were already used to ordering from Amazon and catching an Uber.  COVID took us one more step in the direction of technology with the everyday use of Door Dash deliveries, online classes for our children and virtual meetings of every type so we could shelter in.

For business, it also made the final move to the cloud a lot faster.  Roofing distributors and manufacturers stepped up quickly to provide the tools for remote operations for the back office, sales and finance.  One of the biggest pushes has been online ordering, delivery tracking and online bill pay.  If your company has not made this switch yet, it is time.

Contractors can now connect with distribution and manufacturing in new and productive ways.  By incorporating online ordering, sales, estimating, purchasing and operations can effectively communicate with their distributor and each other keeping jobs productive and on time.  It enables roofing teams to order all their building material supplies online and the technology for office staff to work at home while effectively managing jobs and accounts safely and remotely, keeping the business of roofing running efficiently.

And just like Amazon and Door Dash, the technology to track the roofing orders has taken a leading role.  Crews are able to find out where their materials are in the delivery process.  Office personnel can be sure that they are getting the needed materials to the jobsite on time.  And it is a living documentation of what was delivered and when.  It is that type of Uber type technology that is now defining material delivery in the roofing industry.   All team members can stay on track to finish projects, no matter where they are working. 

A final piece of this online ordering puzzle is then paying bills and that has been made simpler too.  Online bill pay, helps contractors to schedule future payments, access invoices and payment history, download billing information to business accounting software, and email notifications of new invoices and statements.  With the number of employees who are working from home and most likely will continue working from home, this is more important than ever.

By implementing these services and processes, the finance department can focus on customers, collections and improved profitability.  In fact, as you are paying online with your roofing distributor, you may want to consider offering a similar service to your customers.  This is an opportunity to truly automate not only accounts payable but also accounts receivable.  It is worth researching and asking your vendors about potential help in setting it up.

Online ordering, delivery tracking and online bill pay are saving time and reducing risk while also reducing potential conflicts.  Automated systems take the redundancy of entering numbers several times through the many steps of any process away.  Enter it once, check your work and let the automated process make it happen.  Talk to your roofing distributor and ask about what technologies they can help you with.  It provides a way to streamline payments and collections with less conflict, better vendor relations and overall improved customer service. 

Heidi Ellsworth is owner of HJE Consulting Group and a partner in RoofersCoffeeShop.com. See her full bio here. 



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