Most business owners would agree that if business value is all about the long-term health and well-being of your company, there are few things more important than getting your product into customers’ hands swiftly and efficiently. Having a single, uninhibited view of the supply chain allows you to make the best decisions for fulfillment with respect to orders. Thankfully, modern technology has revolutionized these tasks.
Let’s first clarify that inventory management systems (IMSs) are not the same as order management systems (OMSs). The former is a solution for analyzing your sales history as a means to forecast demand for your product and the materials you will need in the future, while the latter is all about the here and now
What does an OMS do for you?
One of the toughest things about managing an eCommerce store is juggling a growing number of sales, each at totally different steps in your shipping process. An OMS service is all about organizing your orders into a coherent and manageable workflow. Here are just some of the difficulties it helps you wrangle:
- Your eCommerce store can be connected to your inventory. If something is out of stock, it can be reflected on your site so customers aren’t misled about the availability of your product.
- Payment authorizations can be automated and integrated with your shipping services.
- You can provide reports to your customers about their order’s shipping status. From intra-warehouse movements to on-the-truck updates, one page will have all the information they need.
- Products and materials can be automatically restocked once they dip below a certain threshold.
- Refund and returns can be automatically processed by your OMS.
And like any industry, there are dozens of OMS platforms with niche functionalities that may be better for your specific business model. The most important thing is that you find a solution that decreases the most tedious organizational tasks for tracking your store’s orders.
The cloud-based OMS
Orders stream in at all hours of the day, and you can’t guarantee that you’ll always be in the office when you need to check the status of an order. A cloud-based OMS stores all your information in a centralized location so you can access your information from home, the warehouse floor, or even while waiting for takeoff.
Make no mistake, the cloud is generally one of the most reliable ways to add value to your business. There are dozens of platforms, just like OMSs, that require virtually no hardware and allow you to pay for exactly what you use.
Using spreadsheets to manage order fulfillment is tedious, time consuming and error prone. For advice on which OMS solutions are best for your business, and how to deploy them, contact us to find the solution that best meets your budget and objectives.
Bob Milliken is the TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com specializing in helping businesses with their IT needs. Discover how great local IT services can be. 604.270.1730.