Delays and mistakes in dealing with customers have the potential to seriously harm your business and its reputation. You need to get it right every single time. This is easy to do when you’re small, but as your business grows you’ll find that relying on manual processes has limitations that will impede your ability to compete.
An Order Management System (OMS) is one of the most powerful pieces in the eCommerce ecosystem that can really help a business scale its operations. Named after only a small subset of its functionality, many retailers are surprised when they realize just how many tasks and operations can be automated by the software and performed faster and more accurately than by a person.
Here is a just a partial list of operations that an OMS can automate for your business:
Automatic Order Processing and Routing
If you are considering using multiple warehouses or going with a mix of drop-shipping and own inventory, an OMS can automatically route orders to the correct warehouses and/or drop shippers as defined by the rules you set up. It can also tag certain orders for manual review or have certain orders selected for faster processing. As an example, you can automatically hold all international orders over $100 for manual review while expediting the rest of orders for fulfillment. Another scenario, where order rules are useful is in a situation when you’re running behind on fulfillment and you want to automatically change the shipping method from Ground to 3-Day Air for your VIP customers so they aren’t impacted by delays.
Inventory Quantity Updates
An OMS keeps track and updates your inventory and also controls the orders across all channels. If you list your items across multiple websites, marketplaces, and also have a physical store(s), an OMS can keep your inventory in sync everywhere. No more copy-and-pasting inventory counts or uploading spreadsheets. Orders automatically flow in and inventory and tracking numbers flow out.
Don’t be caught without inventory again. An OMS allows you to set re-order points on each item, and when the inventory drops below the set quantity, the OMS will automatically generate and e-mail a PO to the supplier for replenishment. However, this is just the beginning, you can use OMS functionality for smarter inventory management, which can help you grow your business.
If you order the same SKUs from different suppliers at different price points, your accounting department must love you. An OMS can keep track of the costs at which the inventory is acquired and prices at which its sold to make sure your accounting and on hand inventory value is always correctly calculated.
Fulfillment and Shipping
Ship faster, more accurately, and with increased cost effectiveness. As items are packed, an OMS can verify the right items are being shipped and can perform rate shopping across multiple carriers to save money on shipping.
This is only a small sample of tasks that an OMS can automate for a retailer. As your business grows and you find yourself struggling to get through orders and the invoices, POs, packing lists, and back-orders start to pile up around the office, you should investigate if an OMS is the solution for your business. If you choose the right OMS system, you will see a significant improvement in workflow and efficiency, decreased order costs, reduced inventory costs, and a marked decrease in fulfillment errors.