by Angela Delaney
Best Practices for Your Order Management
Order management presents manufacturers and retailers with a range of challenges, from the growing complexity of order configurations to a lack of inventory visibility - and many more in between.
What’s more, standards and expectations in order management and fulfillment have increased in recent years due to customer demand - with large retailers being able to fulfill orders more quickly than ever before.
So, what can you do to ensure your order management processes are as effective and efficient as possible, and that your customers remain satisfied? In this blog post we will talk you through the best practices for order management you should implement within your business, if you haven’t already.
Document every issue - from the smallest to the most serious
- Documenting each and every order - Use the information you have at your disposal to understand potential bottlenecks throughout the business.
- Understand the best and worst of your processes - Without knowing this, it’s extremely difficult to make improvements, no matter how small.
- Document every problem - From the most serious issues right the way through to those that seem almost trivial.
- Set up precise tracking - If you don’t already, make sure you track everything within your inventory and all new orders - from the smallest to the largest.
Make use of all the data at your disposal
The chances are you already have an order management system of some kind in place to improve the visibility you have of your inventory and to give you more insight into the orders you need to deal with.
A system like this gives you numerous possibilities to collect invaluable data and continue to make improvements to your order management process.
- Use the functionality of your order management software - Take advantage of the analytics tools you have at your disposal at every opportunity - paying close attention to customer behaviour so that you can consistently improve the experience for those placing orders.
- Put key performance indicators (KPIs) in place - statistics mean nothing without measures of performance - so think hard about the statistics that will give you the biggest insights into operational performance and hone in on them.
Optimise your shipping options based on your budget
You also need to give serious thought to how you are going to distribute your goods once they have left your premises, as that all contributes to your customers’ order experience and your relationship with vendors.
- Understand what your customers want - For example, you’ll want to consider how to meet the needs of those who want their items as soon as possible, or those who want to spend less and are happy to wait a little longer for their shipments. What about your international customers?
- Understand the shipping options you can afford - Now you know what your customers want, do the research to work out the shipping options that are available to you within your budget.
- Order management doesn’t end once an order is placed - This is a key concept to remember at all times to ensure your order management process is as effective as possible.
- Get a comparison quote for your shipping - Request a call back from World Options, we can help save you time and money on your shipping.
Keep stakeholders up to date throughout the entire order management process
This principle goes hand in hand with the one above - it’s important to make sure your customers’ expectations are met once your products leave your warehouse.
- Focus on customer service - Make this a priority at every stage of the customer journey.
- Take advantage of automated communication - Use the functionality of your order management software to send automated updates to your customers at key moments, such as immediately post-order, post-shipment, post-delivery or if there is a delay.
- Answer questions as quickly as possible - Make sure all queries from customers are dealt with as promptly as possible.
- Follow up post-delivery - Make sure you speak to customers to check that, once they have received their order, they are satisfied with the experience.
- Lack of software is not an excuse for a lack of transparency - If you don’t have order management software with automation features, you still need to find a way to keep stakeholders up to date at every stage of an order.
Choose your order and inventory management software carefully
If you don’t already have order management software in place within your business, but are considering it, it can be difficult to choose the right one.
To help you make a start on your research, below are some of the top-ranked order and inventory management software products currently on the market:
- 3PL Warehouse Manager
- Inventory Control
- Sortly Pro
- FinancialForce ERP
- Salesforce Order Management
These are just some of the order management best practices you should be considering to ensure your processes are as efficient as possible, and that your customers are as satisfied with your service as possible.