Talk to anyone in the supply chain or distribution industry and they’ll tell you that effective order management is a key aspect of succeeding in this highly competitive sector. But whatexactly is order management?
Well to put it in a nutshell, order management is exactly what its name implies. It’s about tracking your orders and managing the processes, partnerships and people required to fulfil them. In addition to keeping track of orders, order management also includes the management of customer data as well. For instance, it always pays to know the customer’s credit history, their order history and whether they’re a high volume or low-volume customer.
Moreover, in the modern digital age, how companies handle order management has changed as well. The days when businesses used to rely on paper for order management are long gone. Now, the focus is on making the process as easy, quick and efficient as possible. This is where digital order management solutions come in. While they were considered an option a few years ago, order management software solutions have become a necessity in today’s highly competitive business environment.
An increasing number of companies in the distribution channel are now considering B2B ordering portals, and there’s a myriad of reasons why. For starters, they streamline the sales and purchase order process by allowing businesses to make and take orders via mobile devices. This provides your company with numerous convenient benefits including:
- The elimination of paper processes
- Real-time control overstock
- Better clarity and control of your accounts
- Convenient and streamlined CRM
- Better customer service
So, the bottom line is that the right order management software solution can definitely help your business gain a competitive edge. But, how do you decide which order management solution is right for your company?
Read on to find out.
What You Should Do Before You Start Assessing Options
Before you start speaking to vendors and analysing different order management software solutions, it’s important to first establish the exact needs and requirements of your enterprise. At this stage, the questions you ask yourself include:
- What does your company’s existing order management process look like on paper?
- Is processing simple or is it a complex task involving multiple departments, people and third parties?
- Which areas of the order management process are in need of improvement?
- How would you want your ideal order management process to look like?
It’s also imperative that you take the long-term goals of your enterprise into consideration. You don’t want to choose an OMS based on only your existing needs. You want a solution which you can integrate into your future plans. The questions you should address include:
- What are your long-term plans for growth?
- How can these plans influence your existing processes?
- Are there any aspects of the existing process that you’re planning to change or replace later on?
The Ultimate OMS Checklist
Once you have the answers to all of the questions above, you can move on to assessing and analysing different order management software solutions and vendors. Here’s a complete checklist that will help you narrow down your options.
Rank Your OMS Objectives by Priority
The first step is to figure out the integrations and features you need. Include your team in the process so that everyone in your organisation is on the same page. Ranking system requirements in order of priority will help you separate the essential functions from the non-essential ones. Also, remember to take into consideration your company’s long-term objectives like we discussed in the section above.
Take Note of the Important Data
Jot down the important data and numbers such as:
- Order volume
- The number of stock-keeping units (SKUs)
- Your ideal software implementation timeframe
- Your budget
- How much time can you afford to commit to training
- Which channels you are using, or are planning to use, to buy or sell goods on
- The details of your existing order management software (if you’re using one)
Again, this helps you gain a crystal clear idea of your requirements, which will allow you to have more productive conversations with your potential software vendors.
Research Software Vendors
Now that most of the groundwork is in place, it’s time to start looking at software providers based on the criteria we’ve mentioned above. Your aim should be to make a list of 4 to 6 software providers to analyse by scheduling meetings, trials, demos, etc.
If you find a vendor that ticks all the boxes except for a specific feature or integration you want, do not ignore them. They’re still worth reaching out to. Maybe they’re already working on the feature you need, or may have a different way of providing you what you need – who knows. The only way to get these answers is by reaching out to them.
Rank the Vendors you’ve assessed
Now that you have some information about your potential OMS vendors and have had some demos, it’s time to assess how they’ve measured up against your selection criteria. Does anyone seem fitting? Did any leave you feeling kind of flat? In some cases, it can be difficult to make up your mind. A point or tally system can help you make a decision in such instances. The main objective at this stage is to narrow the candidates down to the final two or three.
It’s very rare for companies to find software vendor that ticks all of the boxes. In most cases, you have to make some compromises and let a few things slide in order to make things work with a software provider. Moreover, function and features aren’t the only important things to consider during the selection process. Remember, it’s a business relationship you’re getting into.
Specifics to Consider While Assessing Order Management Software Solutions
There’s a wide variety of factors to consider when choosing order management software. Let’s take a look at a few of the most important ones:
How Quickly Can the Software besetup& How Easy Will it be to Use
Ease of use and the deployment speed are naturally two of the most important factors to consider. The implementation and set-up process should be as smooth as possible and data migration should be streamlined. With the ideal order management software solution, you should be able to grab the data straight from the sales channel and integrate it into the solution.
Moreover, order management software or applications that have a complex interface also typically require a ton of staff training, which some businesses cannot afford. It’s advisable to opt for a software which is easy to use and can be implemented with some basic training. This will ensure that you get a good ROI in the least amount of time.
Flexibility and Scalability
We have touched upon this briefly above, but let’s now delve into the details. Remember that your business will not remain stagnant. It’ll grow and evolve, and therefore, you need an order management solution that can grow and evolve with your business. Opt for a solution that is scalable in terms of your business’s changing order volumes.
Flexible payment arrangements are another important thing you should be on the lookout for. Opt for an order management software solution where you can choose to pay either monthly or yearly. This allows you to have better control over your cash flow.
The bottom line is that if you opt for a solution that isn’t flexible or scalable, you’ll inevitably have problems with it further down the line.
Security and Updates
The smart decision is to invest in software that doesn’t go out of date. Therefore, get an OMS that is constantly updated and upgraded. Your vendor of choice should be customer-oriented and proactive about requested features. Moreover, you should opt for a vendor that can guarantee the security of your enterprise’s confidential data.
The Bottom Line
The takeaway is that while an order management system can certainly help you streamline inventory management and enhance customer service, it all depends on choosing a software solution and vendor that fit the needs of your enterprise.
You want to choose an order management software solution, which is not only easy to use and implement, but also has the scalability and flexibility to adapt to your enterprise’s changing and growing needs.
If you’re in the food business industry, OrderTron is modern order processing software that ticks all the boxes. Regardless of whether you’re a retailer or supplier, OrderTron will seamlessly integrate with your company’s existing IT infrastructure providing detailed and secure reporting in real-time.
Sign up with OrderTron today for our order management system software. Our software integrates food service suppliers on one platform for your convenience. Contact us for more information or register for a free trial. Our customer helpline is available at all times to help users out.