Nowadays, more and more wholesalers are selling directly to consumers. This makes it imperative for wholesalers to envision how the customer journey should take place as well as how to become more efficient and resource-savvy in their sales channels.
What is an order management system?
An order management system (OMS) tracks orders placed by customers, customer data as well as inventory on hand. Although most wholesalers already have an OMS, data entry and information is processed and managed manually, leaving room for error and poor visibility. With a cloud OMS, customers and authorized personnel can access data anytime and anywhere with real-time accurate information, streamlining the whole business process and providing visibility across the supply chain.
Benefits of an OMS
- Connected Channels
It is no longer acceptable by customer standards that an e-commerce website does not provide the same experience as when going in-store. With the advent of technology, customers now have higher expectations for flexible customer service. In a wholesale company, to ensure that every customer receives a standardized and faultless experience, both customers and sales representatives require convenient access to consistent information.
Therefore, the first step of ensuring a multi-channel experience is for sales managers of wholesale distributors to have a single view of customers, orders, items and inventory. The OMS system is a real-time platform that provides a unified base for all operating channels. With the OMS in place, sales representatives will no longer have to access multiple databases or spreadsheets to complete a simple transaction. This prevents sales representatives from retrieving non-identical and inaccurate information for every similar purchase. Furthermore, access to order forms, pricing catalogs, shipping and tracking information contained all within one platform reduces the time to process and complete the order. Thus, the integration of all information within one platform is the key to an integrated multi-channel strategy.
- Tracking at ease
Each day, wholesalers receive multiple bulk orders. The cloud OMS manages and tracks orders across all channels, from any warehouse location, ensuring that information about the current status of each order is constantly updated. The capabilities of OMS go beyond manual tracking. By integrating the OMS with the warehouse, one can pinpoint what was ordered, when it was ordered, its current shipping location, and its delivery status. Having visibility of an order allows sales representatives to account for any possible mishaps and it puts the customer at ease as they can easily trace their orders. With all the data in one place, the fulfillment process is increasingly more efficient with fewer delays, easier tracking and convenient access to order history and status.
- Meeting inventory demands
Wholesalers have large quantities of products to manage and track. Not only that, with multiple warehouse and distribution points, comes complexity in managing stock by region, by customer segment, by product line, and the list goes on. Without a proper inventory management system (IMS), the inability to view and forecast stock levels, and maintain a balance in supply and demand leads to high cost of holding inventory (when there's excess) and lost sales opportunities (when there's a deficit). With an integrated IMS, not only can businesses track in real-time inventory levels as orders are placed, but also better plan and allocate inventory based on purchasing history as well as build in logic to alleviate fluctuations in inventory through stock reservation, stock allocation and stock substitution should a product line sell out.
- Integration with accounting system
In many large B2B businesses today, there still is a gap between order and invoice reconciliation. Invoices are usually generated in a separate system with no linkage back to the originating orders. This also means payment processes are fragmented resulting in inefficient view of cash flows and poor debt management. With an integrated OMS, payment, invoicing and accounting processes can be reconciled and efficiently orchestrated across enterprise back-office and partner systems to support effective and transparent payment processes across all channels. An OMS ultimately provides full transparency for customers, call center agents or field sales of the current payment status of a customer's order.
- Better customer service
Customers today expect a seamless shopping experience - from the moment they land on the e-commerce site through to after-sales care. In the e-commerce world, it is all about being customer centric. Customers want freedom of control, they want transparency and visibility, they want to have access to the information they need, whenever, wherever and whatever channel they choose. Warehouses that have an OMS integrated into their system are able to provide their customers with a transparent, structured and multi-channel experience, adding value to the services that the customers receive.
- Improved organization
With the previous points proving that the OMS facilitates countless parts of the purchase process, it is undeniable that it improves the warehouse business as a whole. Highly organized sales orders, reliable collation of customer data, accurate records of accounting and finances, up-to-date inventory tracking and many more benefits will ensure that the warehouse business develops a reputation for efficiency and reliability.
OMS in the cloud
An order management system that is based in the cloud has been proven to improve business functions. With an ever increasing number of businesses opting to integrate the cloud OMS into their business system, check out Intershop's Order Management and Inventory Management capabilities to find out what difference Intershop can do for you: https://www.intershop.com/order-management
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