Order Management article and permission to publish here provided by Dave Joseph at veridian.info.
An order management system (OMS) is the system of record for maintaining orders and handling inventory. In the omnichannel supply chain, order management improvement leads to confident inventory management across all channels.
Additionally, the use of data to understand what is happening, what will happen, what should happen, and how to make the best outcome happen through analytics will result in order management improvement.
Order management begins with visibility, and visibility promotes improvement within inventory management. Such improvements naturally lend themselves to higher customer service levels and benefits throughout the supply chain.
Unfortunately, the value of those benefits for inventory management through better order management is often lost amid the chaos and drive to continuously improve something. To provide some clarity, follow these five best practices when looking to improve order management.
1. Integration Is a Necessity for Order Management Improvement
Channel integration offers benefits that go well beyond just easier management of inventory and systems. As reported by Software Advice, “96 percent [of retailers] say online store integrations reduce processing time.” Additional benefits of integration between your online and physical stores are shown in this graphic.
2. Pay Attention to Insights Driven from Analytics
Analytics applies to much more in the supply chain beyond inventory management. Analytics help you understand fulfillment rates, supplier delays and opportunities, compliance with inbound freight management, carrier management, and many other processes.
Analytics unlock the secrets to near 100% accuracy on demand forecasting and spell out what steps to take to achieve your desired goals. Deploy analytics that stretch throughout the supply chain to understand how what happened becomes what should happen with time.
3. Know the Role of Each Channel Within Omnichannel & Their Relation to Order Management
The creation of an online store is not a small task, and it should be thoroughly considered for its impact on your order management system. Your online store should provide a seamless trail of data from the POS through your dock schedule, and it should also enable effortless navigation for users, fast checkout, rapid shipping, and superior customer service.
These mentioned capabilities are not functions associated with order management improvement, per se, but the capabilities of your online store must keep in mind the role it plays in offering a strong, omnichannel presence and shopping experience. However, when supply chains are strong in their omnichannel approach, including an online store that works in harmony with all other ordering channels, naturally, your order management processes are improved.
A strong omnichannel supply chain, driven by analytics and integrated systems, provides more information about your order management activity, yielding the ability to see the entire order lifecycle.
4. Leverage Supply Chain System Consultants to Get Exactly What You Want & Need
It is also critical to understand potential resource limitations within your company to establish various channels in the quest to omnichannel prowess. Many supply chain professionals think they can create an in-house program or implement modern-day supply chain systems, like WMS, on their own as a way to reduce initial investment costs.
But, without the right talent to tailor the system and solution to meet every tiny detail and want, you could end up spending more man-hours and hard dollars that are over and above the use of an outside consultant to make the system work as you intended. That’s not feasible, and executives will see that approach only leads to the increased total cost of ownership.
Instead of trying to do it all alone, turn to supply chain systems consultants, like Veridian, who can not only help you choose the right systems but also implement the system according to your needs. This is critical to reducing delays and keeping your costs under control to offer fast, free shipping for customers, says Big Commerce. Free shipping might not seem like a necessity, but it is essential in today’s “Amazon” expectations world.
5. Leverage Automation to Collaborate and Avoid Miscommunications
A final step in order management improvement lies in automation and improved collaboration throughout the supply chain. Automation is a broad capability that can apply to any repetitive task, making it an ideal solution for the supply chain.
Automation can recommend new products to customers, eliminate labor costs from the packing, labeling, and shipping side of the operation, and transform inventory management into a turnkey process. Imagine the labor hours saved simply by allowing the connected systems to automatically reorder products based on the POS systems, online cart checkout, and shipping data. It carries additional implications for better collaboration and communication too, says TradeGecko:
“With multiple salespeople working a range of different sales channels, it’s important that internal information is shared in real-time. The last thing you want is for one batch of stock to be promised to two different customers!
Because dealing with wholesale customers involves much larger volumes, having real-time access to current stock levels is essential, particularly if the client makes his or her ordering decision days or even weeks after their last conversation with a salesperson. Using a B2B eCommerce platform to automate internal communications improves the speed and accuracy of doing business.”
Automation may go further, leveraging analytics to recommend changes to the warehouse layout or slotting design to reduce picking time and speed fulfillment. It creates a self-replenishing, self-optimizing supply chain. That same capability will lead to improved order management, reducing the risk of inaccurate orders, damage to products, and upset customers.
Apply These Practices to Boost Your E-Commerce and Retail Success
The best practices for order management improvement might not be as voluminous as the steps to boost the implementation timeline and select a new warehouse management system. However, order management is essential to inventory management and vice versa.
Ensure your supply chain has the resources to succeed and continuously works to improve order management and achieve all its associated benefits by choosing an objective partner in improvement.
Also, remember that order management begins and ends with visibility, so always stay focused on how each change will add to your level of visibility.