Every successful enterprise recognizes the importance of an efficient order management system. In the age of eCommerce and digital business, order management has grown beyond mere inventory tracking and order fulfillment. It now encompasses everything from warehousing and distribution to customer service and returns management, making it the backbone of any customer-oriented business operation.
Understanding Order Management
Order management is a multifaceted process involving every step of an order's lifecycle, from placement to fulfillment. An effective order management system does more than just track orders and manage inventory. It streamlines operations, integrates various functions, ensures customer satisfaction, and ultimately drives business success.
However, traditional order management processes often come with a host of challenges that can impede a business's efficiency and growth.
Current Challenges in Order Management
Traditional order management systems often grapple with issues such as a lack of real-time visibility, dependence on manual processes, and insufficient integration with other business functions. These inefficiencies can lead to errors, delayed deliveries, and unsatisfied customers, which in turn, negatively impact the bottom line.
In the era of fast-paced digital transformation, businesses can ill-afford such impediments. The solution? Technology-driven optimization of order management.
Role of Technology in Order Management
Incorporating technology into order management has the potential to overcome traditional challenges, bringing about efficiency, accuracy, and real-time visibility. Key technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation, real-time tracking, and data analytics have been pivotal in streamlining order management processes.
For example, automation eliminates manual errors and expedites processes, while real-time tracking and data analytics offer visibility into order status and inventory levels, enabling proactive decision-making.
Key Features of an Optimal Order Management System
An efficient order management system should possess several key features. These include seamless integration with other business systems (such as CRM and ERP), automation of manual tasks, real-time visibility into order and inventory status, scalability to support business growth, and customization to cater to specific business needs.
Real-World Case Study: Graeter's Ice Cream Reaps the Benefits of a SkuNexus OMS
Cincinnati-based Graeter’s Ice Cream had shipped its products to individuals for years and eventually began offering them online. Dramatic sales growth revealed significant problems, however. The Graeter’s team was still handling multi-warehouse order management on a SaaS platform with limited capabilities. Combined with a range of manual fulfillment processes, this system was unable to meet the needs of an escalating eCommerce business.
- Lack of information flow between warehouses caused inventory data to be scattered across, and siloed within, different systems.
- Getting products to the correct warehouses and maintaining inventory levels was a constant challenge.
- Software inflexibility created problems in routing orders to the right locations.
- Packing decisions regarding dry ice quantities were made manually.
- Labeling requirements had to be met on a shipment-by-shipment basis.
- Graeter’s was unable to assign users specific roles/permissions and create proper workflows.
Graeter’s assessed the situation and determined that it had to:
- Establish a comprehensive, real-time system of record for managing receiving, inventory, order routing, fulfillment (pick & pack), and shipping.
- Build a full integration with their eCommerce platform and improve efficiency throughout the entire order management process.
- Automate packing directions to eliminate human error and standardize amounts of dry ice needed based on order size.
- Fix issues with routing orders between the three locations, getting products to the proper warehouses, and keeping them in stock.
- Reduce manual processes, designate specific roles for user types, and create custom workflows across the organization's different departments.
- Create a fully functional, integrated system to be tested and ready for the holiday season.
- SkuNexus started a discovery process to create a customized system that would address all current needs and allow for future flexibility.
- A comprehensive approach was taken to provide management control for every segment of the Graeter’s backend.
- The goal was to integrate the new system seamlessly with the existing Magento eCommerce platform, without disrupting day-to-day operations.
- Strict protocols for both dry ice amounts and extensive shipping label information per order type were developed.
- Specific employee roles were assigned and custom workflows were developed, from receiving to shipping.
- SkuNexus built, tested, integrated, and implemented a full suite of management systems throughout Spring/Summer.
- The SkuNexus platform serves as the system of record and is the trusted data source for all of Graeter’s eCommerce operations.
- Order routing problems and unscheduled stock-outs have been corrected.
- Accurate, real-time inventory is reflected across all operations.
- Automation and organization of warehouse management and order fulfillment processes have drastically reduced errors.
- Multiple SkuNexus Shipping Option Mappers have eliminated manual decision-making in packing and ensure adherence to stringent air shipping requirements.
- Packers automatically receive the exact dry ice amount needed for every order.
- Customized shipping labels include all necessary information and certification stickers - IATA, dry ice weight, perishable item date.
- Shipping method decisions (Next Day Air, 1 or 2-day ground) are automated.
Ongoing Customizations & More Benefits
Greater’s has thought of several highly specific functions to both enhance fulfillment operations and help exceed customer expectations. To achieve these goals, the SkuNexus team has been able to tweak the software as needed. This implementation of new features is part of the long-term roadmap SkuNexus develops for all clients, and the results have been remarkable.
- Graeter's can now rotate inventory locations and warehouse configuration on a monthly basis to fully leverage existing space. SkuNexus directed putaway and pick lists mean that employees are always up-to-date.
- Graeter's utilizes wave picking via SkuNexus automated group pick lists. This ensures like items with similar shipping requirements are picked together for efficiency and strict adherence to schedule.
- To enhance the customer experience during unboxing, Graeter’s customized its shipping labels to include personalized gift cards.
- Better accuracy was achieved by incorporating the pick list, gift card, and shipping label into one.
- Disaster response has been facilitated through a unique bulk reship function in the event of severe weather or carrier issues.
- Greater’s reports that support issues are handled very quickly and usually resolved within an hour.
Preparing for the Future: Scalability and Adaptability
The future of business is dynamic and uncertain. Therefore, an order management system should not only meet the present requirements but also be flexible and scalable to adapt to future changes. SkuNexus's order management system offers this adaptability, allowing businesses to scale their operations as they grow and evolve.
Consider SkuNexus as an Optimal Order Management Solution
Optimizing order management is critical for business success in today's fast-paced and customer-centric business landscape. SkuNexus stands out as an optimal solution, offering an advanced, technology-driven order management system that can overcome traditional challenges and cater to evolving business needs.
With SkuNexus, businesses can streamline their operations, improve efficiency and customer satisfaction, and drive business success. Therefore, it's time for businesses to rethink their order management strategy and consider a robust, flexible, and efficient system like SkuNexus.
If you would like to know how SkuNexus can optimize your order management opertaions, please contact us here to learn more.