Enhance Order Management Efficiency: Best Practices and Experts Advice
Order Management has always been an integral part of an organization. Statistics have shown that order management is critical and let us point out the same with few mind-blowing observations.
- According to a survey conducted in 2017, 36% of businesses are willing to spend their budget on order fulfillment and warehouse operations.
- When interviewed about reasons of late shipment, 34% of the businesses said the reason for late shipments were products that were sold when not in stock.
- Roughly 23% of the companies believe they have to increase their warehouse space in order to cope with the order fulfillment.
- 49% of the companies have hired staff dedicated to picking and checking orders just to prevent wrong orders being delivered to the customers.
Now, while talking about statistics, let us understand why order management is important. Opening an online store is no rocket science today. Leading eCommerce platforms like Magent0 and WooCommerce lets sellers open an online store in minutes.
From offering an intuitive interface to ensuring a smooth purchase process, such platforms are surely helping in the front-end. But what after receiving an order?
You will have to then set up a system of processing the order and delivering the order to the customer. In this blog, you will learn the 4 main pillars of setting up such an order management system, and we strongly recommend using an Order management software to develop such a system. 57% of small businesses wish to use software for setting this process up, but only 38% end up purchasing one. Which one would you want to be?
How you’d traditionally deal with an online sales order:
Step 1: Cross-check with the stock you have.
Step 2: Create and Print picking-packing slips.
Step 3: Connect with shipping carriers to fulfill orders.
Step 4: Communicate with your customers until the product is delivered.
Yep! That’s totally outdated. It only works well with excel sheets and less business in hand.
As the business grows, your amount of orders will also grow for which you need a kept up Order management system which simplifies the complex order management processes. You will be able to save approximately 8.3% of your inventory holding cost using order management system.
A best of class Order management system will have the following technologically supported pillars.
1. Centralize all your orders in one system
Every retailer sells on multiple portals as they all strive for an omnichannel selling- from online to offline. Hence keeping the final track of everything at one place is the need of the hour.
A centralized order management software allows online sellers to easily sync all the orders that come from every selling channel, making it easy to access any information and perform tasks in one system.
Let’s say you sell on Amazon, Shopify, and also have an offline store. If you lack a centralized system, you’ll have to do the cumbersome task of updating and noting orders from each portal. Due to increased complexity in order fulfillment, this practice takes up too much time. On the other hand, a centralized order management software reflects and records orders from all the integrated portals into one synchronized system, saving you time. Using the order management software, you can know how many total orders to fulfill, make better order-based pick-lists, bulk up orders, prioritize & fulfill orders timely, etc.
2. Real-time Sync of Information
Real-time syncing of information like stock levels, order status, placement, shipment, and other order related updates, helps you track your orders. Instant order processing capabilities make your order fulfillment process efficient and on-time, sparing you time to extend your market. You won’t have to worry about updating the stock level after each sale, as it will be done automatically using order management software that syncs in real-time.
Sellers display their full inventory as stock on each platform, to get the highest number of orders. A centralized Order management software has data of every platform, which order processing capabilities use. So whenever an order gets placed on one platform, the system automatically reduces the stock count on the rest of the platforms by that quantity. And the big catch is- the system does it in real-time, which is in just a few seconds!
With all the stock information available in real-time, order management software can match the number of orders with the available inventory constantly. This eliminates chances of non-fulfillment of orders, excess order confirmation or experiencing stock-outs, especially when needed the most. The order management software also helps sellers to manage customers from multiple sources, making it easy for you to quickly gain a hold on the customer database.
3. Automate the Order Fulfillment Process
Automation is emerging as the inevitable force in any and every industry for years. Yet many sellers haven’t realized the importance of automated order management software.
Action-based automation can be set in an order management software which can make your order fulfillment tasks much easier and quicker.
We learned that due to centralization, total stock availability is pre-known and gets updated in real-time. So when the inventory level shows unavailable status, automation rejects the order as soon as it hits your store/portal or can’t be placed at all. This completely strikes off the order cancellation rate.
Split orders: Let’s say you cater multiple categories of products which are fulfilled by different suppliers/ warehouses. Trigger or Action based automation of splitting orders based on the categories of the products can be created. By automating, you can fulfill these orders smartly and you don’t need to specify the form where the product(s) are to be picked every time.
Automation also helps in bundling orders. You might be selling items from multiple brands/ ranges in the form of bundles, for e.g. a beach bag, a pair of shades, a hat and sunscreen- together as a combo. In this case, you can create automation of combining products to fulfill the order, based on the item brand and product SKUs using Automation.
If you have the same product listed across multiple warehouses- instead of taking the hassle of updating stock levels for each of them separately, the order management software will ensure your product counts are in sync across all warehouses you deal with.
4. Integrate with Suppliers
Order Management does not always mean having order issues with customers or when customer orders are exceeding the stock in hand. Order Management issues also arise from the suppliers’ end. There are instances where suppliers don’t always have the product which you are looking for, or they run out of stock, or you need a product immediately but there is no availability. Well, in such cases, you surely wonder, only if you knew a little sooner. This is why it is a good call to integrate with your suppliers.
Once you are integrated with them, you get a full view or transparency about the goods in stock. Also, the suppliers are aware of your stock status, so they can also notify you, when you are low on stock. This way, the process becomes more efficient and transparent. You can always be aware of your stocks and your suppliers stock, prices, availability, and other important information.
5. Maintain Accuracy at all Levels
With the above said 3 sharp pillars, comes the fifth one on its own!
An order management software that centralizes orders and automates them in real-time, should be doing it with the accuracy needed. Otherwise, it’s high time you change your order management software to a worthy one! Know how other businesses like yours prosper using accurate order management softwares.
Accuracy in the orders can be brought by keeping a wide eye open on your metrics! Keep a daily record of important metrics and know where you’re going wrong. Many sellers use reporting and analytic management software that allows them to leverage all their major back-end tasks performance in real-time.
We surely understand that industry leaders’ experiences and strong words do matter a lot.! So, let us find out what few of our experts have to say when it comes to order management.
“As an e-commerce company, we’ve figured out how to improve the order fulfillment process and customer experience…”
said Darren Schreher, Digital Manager for Into the AM.
He explained further, by saying, they could reduce their fulfillment costs and improve the return orders process. They could achieve all this by investing in an automated order management software. He said, their number one priority is customer satisfaction and a better shopping experience. All these aspects have been taken care of by their upgraded automated software.
“The single best way to improve the order fulfillment process is through Inventory Classification,”
said Srajan Mishra, CEO of TSI International FZC
Mr. Mishra added that you need to group the stock into several categories to be more organized. This helps in identifying the fast-moving stocks and slow-moving stocks and can be stored accordingly. Also, by inventory classification, companies can ensure adequate stock levels are maintained in all the groups, specifically, in the fast-moving stocks.
“Investing in a CMS with full e-commerce management and an integrated order processing system has had the biggest impact on our order fulfillment process…”
said Jake Penney, Co-Founder of English Blinds
Jake Penney strongly believes that automation has a big role to play in the order fulfillment process. It helped improve their supply chain and data accuracy for future orders. With the help of the system, the customer information was also up-to-date and the entire process became simpler and much organized.
Re-quoting, “57% of larger small businesses want to use such subscription-based software but only 38% of them do”- now you need to decide which category are you?
I write to express and believe that words are powerful. Long drives and traveling are my weekend goals. I write poems when I am happy and enjoy a solo outing. My mind works best when I am by myself at a cafe with a tall glass of cold coffee and sandwiches. I dance in the rain and heat never bothers me. For me, winters are the worst! I laugh when I cry and bring a smile to everyone close to me. Content Writer at Orderhive, I present knowledge on technical aspects on weekdays and on weekends I write for myself.
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