The Importance of Order Management To Your Supply Chain
Whether you have one DC or a network, fulfillment success starts with your online ordering process. Some sources suggest mobile commerce is gaining ground. Additionally, as our past blog pointed out, recent news sources have noted the importance of notifying customers if items will be out of stock and maintaining accurate inventory management.
Collecting the right data at the point of the order is crucial to ensuring that all of the subsequent steps in your supply chain are done correctly, and doing so digitally is essential.
Unique Concerns in the E-Commerce Space
We’re proud to work with companies from international giants to innovative new startups. Businesses in any stage of their journey face challenges, and for companies starting out in e-commerce, there can be a few hurdles.
- An E-Commerce website is responsible for capturing orders and setting accurate delivery expectations for customers. It's easy to underestimate how much you need to invest in inventory management & checkout workflows to get this right for your customers.
- Whether companies are starting from scratch and launching a new E-Commerce site or connecting an existing site to the system of a fulfillment partner, it's important to take the time to map the order & fulfillment process and determine what systems are accountable along the way.
- Your E-Commerce system doesn't have to own all the logistics, but even if it's referencing a third-party system for inventory levels or estimated delivery times and costs, you need to ensure that these details are displayed.
That’s why our team works closely with clients to assist with the onboarding process. But, we’re also sharing a few of our tips here, so that you can start getting set up for success right away.
Choosing the Right Order Management Software
As we’ve explained in several past blogs, order management software connected to the rest of your network is essential for this. For best results, your order management software should help collect all of the data you need to provide.You should ensure:
- Your online ordering system has a real-time inventory count, by location. This ensures you provide visitors with an accurate inventory count for their delivery location.
- You can provide accurate delivery time estimates and costs by customer location.
- You are collecting good quality customer shipping details - accurate addresses reduce costs, time, and incorrect deliveries.
Whether you manage your own distribution centres or use a 3PL partner, you’ll want to ensure you have the technology and processes in place to:
- Communicate real-time inventory counts from your WMS to your online ordering system. This gives customers a realistic idea of what is in stock.
- Calculate customer delivery costs & time at check-out, setting expectations you can meet and exceed.
- Communicate customer sales orders automatically to the correct DC for fulfillment.
- Automatically notify customers of their order status and any order adjustments, to manage expectations and save your admin team’s work.
When Working With a 3PL
We know that many e-commerce operations work with a 3PL to arrange the final delivery of their products. We recommend ensuring all of your partners are tech-enabled because, to reap the benefits of supply chain digitization fully, data should be able to flow from end-to-end seamlessly.
Because of that, our team recommends that if you’re choosing a 3PL partner, look for 3PL service providers that are tech-enabled.
Here are a few questions that we suggest asking:
- Are you able to take the time to understand the complexities of our e-Commerce business and ideal customers?
- Do you have a WMS system that can be easily integrated with your e-Commerce website?
- Are you able to provide us with a real-time view of the fulfillment status of your network?
These businesses might come with slightly higher up-front costs, but we’ve found that 3PLs using our technology are able to deliver greater savings to their customers in the long term. Tech-connected 3PLs also help prevent issues like lost or expired products and help maintain accurate inventory counts.
Learn More or Contact Us
Whether you’re looking for a software solution to meet your needs, a recommendation for a 3PL provider, or need assistance getting your e-commerce supply chain where it should be, we’re here to help. Browse our blogs or contact our team through the form.