As your business grows, there will come a time when implementing an order management system becomes necessary.
An order management system will allow you to keep track of orders and manage the processes, employees, and external partners required to fill them.
It also involves tracking inventory to ensure that you have enough to fill orders, important customer data, and information pertaining to the external vendors who ensure that you have stock on hand.
It is essentially an ecosystem that consists of everything that is involved with taking and filling customer orders.
When you realize just how much an order management system (OMS) involves, it becomes easy to get bogged down in all the details of choosing and implementing one.
But, if you step back and consider the bigger picture, it’s not as daunting as you think. Get a demo of the SkuNexus platform, and you'll never want to switch again.
All companies are different and may have varying experiences when implementing an OMS. Leave a comment below with one thing that makes your process unique!
How to Implement an Order Management System
Here are the steps we recommend for implementing your new order management system:
#1 – Understand Why You Are Implementing an OMS
This is the most essential step to the process.
When you understand why you are going to begin using an OMS, you are better able to set goals and expectations for your ordering process.
It may be helpful to consider the following questions as you complete this step:
- What is your goal for the new system?
- How will you track and measure your progress to know when you have reached that goal?
- What will you do if you don’t meet your goal?
- What are your next steps when you do reach your goal?
#2 – Plan Smart
Anyone can sometimes forget just how valuable smart planning is.
An OMS has the capacity to perform thousands of functions, but that doesn’t mean that the system can take effect immediately – like throwing a switch to the on position.
When you implement an OMS, you should have a project management team assembled to identify possible risks and interaction among departments that are involved in order fulfillment, warehousing, manufacturing, and any other affected areas (including stakeholders).
It’s important that everyone affected has a voice in the process.
Additionally, during the planning stages, you have to consider the budget and timeline that you are working with for the implementation.
As you plan, you should consider
- how much the implementation of the OMS will cost over the next five years (one year is no longer enough for accurate forecasting).
- What are the fees involved (implementation fees, subscription fees, etc.)?
The timeline of the project is also important. How will you roll out the OMS?
Some companies are able to have an OMS fully operational within a few months, but for others, it takes much longer.
Try utilizing information from other similar companies to benchmark a likely timeline for your business.
#3 – Document Every Stage of the Process
As your implementation begins, it’s important that you document the process.
This will provide you with the ability to go back, look at where you started, and measure your success.
During this step, you should create a list of your company’s needs and expectations. As new areas of the implementation are completed – a deliverable has been met – you can sign off on the document showing it is finished.
This will keep you up to date on the progress of the implementation, allowing you to adjust your planning as needed.
#4 – Test, Test, Test
This step is crucial and should not be overlooked.
Your new OMS must be tested, and tested, and tested again to ensure how it integrates, scales, and functions with your other systems before it goes live.
Testing shouldn’t be done with real customers if you can help it. Instead, run your testing with fictitious customers with the system in test-mode.
This will allow you to identify any potential issues without affecting your valued customers.
#5 – Train Employees
How long this step takes depends on a number of factors: how large the company is, the number of employees, the number of system users, and the timeline of the implementation, to name a few.
During the testing period is a perfect time to begin training the employees who will be using the OMS. They can navigate around the system to learn its operations without performing any real transactions.
Don’t rush this step. It’s important that when you go live, you have employees who are well-trained and well-prepared to use the new system.
#6 – Make the Switch in Stages
When the time is right to make the switch to the new OMS, don’t do away with your old system right away.
Leave your existing system in place even after the new system is operational. This means that you may have two systems going at the same time.
While this may seem counterproductive, it has numerous benefits, including:
- You have a backup plan should issues come up with the new OMS
- You are able to identify differences in the old and new processes and determine how to handle them
- You are able to implement changes into the new system quickly
Once you have fully tested your new OMS, it is working as it should and your employees are comfortable with it, it’s time to move off of your old system at your own pace.
Order Management System Implementation
A new OMS that is better suited to the needs of your company will make a huge difference in the efficiency of your day-to-day operations, labor costs, customer satisfaction, and overall bottom line.
While the process of implementing a new OMS m overwhelming may seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it doesn’t have to be.
When you use the above steps – understanding goals and expectations, planning smart, documenting progress, testing extensively, effectively training employees, and slowly making the switch to the new OMS – it will not be nearly as difficult as you may have anticipated.
Next, get a demo of our groundbreaking open source order management software, which can get you up and running in no time.