Every business entity exists to serve it customers either in form of goods or services or both. Hence the starting point of a confirmed business transaction is in the form of receiving a purchase order from customers. There are different ways in which customers communicate with the supplier about their needs. In the simplest form it could be a phone call from the purchase department or in sophisticated method it could be an EDI (or equivalent or better) message from customers IT system that is automatically converted into a PO in suppliers IT system.
Variations could occur in this process subject to many factors. If an organization supplies a niche product or service, chances are their customers would be willing to accommodate even if the order process is a bit time consuming. However, if a company is in the business of selling products via a dealer network and face stiff competition, then it has to put in effort to make sure that order entry process is made simple for its customers (in this case dealers) especially when the dealers are not exclusive. Even companies from the SME segment are no exception to this situation.