If you’re wondering what order management is, then you’ve come to the right place.
Maybe you run an ecommerce business. Perhaps your boss asked you to implement an order management system in your organization. Or maybe you’re just curious about this concept..
In this quick and easy guide, we’ll show you exactly what order management is, some of the best practices surrounding it, and how to use software to maximize your efforts.
What’s order management?
In essence, order management is the practice of, well, managing customer orders. It involves all the activities from the moment a customer places an order all the way through the delivery of the product.
The main goal of this process is to help you track, manage, and deliver orders in a cost-effective way, but also to keep your customers happy — by delivering orders faster, you’ll increase customer satisfaction.
Now, order management is actually a subsidiary process of the supply chain ecosystem within an organization.
Some of the activities involved in this process include:
- Order placement: the customer visits your store, selects a product, and enters shipping information.
- Payment processing: customer accepts terms and submits payment.
- Order fulfillment: your team processes the customer order and sends the invoice to the customer.
- Warehouse management: your team makes sure your product is in stock and then picks it and packs it so it’s ready for delivery.
- Shipping and delivery: you send the product to your customer.
- Order tracking: you provide the customer with a tracking number.
- Returns and refunds: if the product is defective, then you refund the customer or send a new product.
Why is order management critical for the success of your business?
According to Reuters Events, 24.7% of supply chain professionals claim delivery costs are their biggest challenge. Besides, with the increasing number of customers demanding a faster delivery, 30% of teams have set order fulfillment process improvement as their top business priority.
Without a proper sales order management process in place, you’ll probably end up trailing behind competitors.
For example, let’s say you run a healthy food delivery company. In that case, you must have a system in place to notify your team once an order is made, right? But that’s just the beginning.
First, you need a well-managed inventory to make sure you’ve the ingredients available for each order. Second, since you’re delivering food, you must ensure fast delivery so the order arrives on time and is still hot. You should also store information from previous customers so you can follow up with them and drive recurring sales.
Between all these activities, there’s a lot of delays that can happen. Try to do it all manually and you’ll experience a true nightmare.
The best way to overcome these challenges is through order management software.
Potential risks in the order management process
Designing an efficient and successful order management system means being aware of the potential risks involved and determining how best to counteract them. As your sales increase and operations grow, these risks can turn from minor inconveniences to full-blown issues, so it’s best to make sure you’re on top of them from the get-go.
Let’s look at 6 of the most common issues associated with processing orders, and how to design a solid order management system to avoid them.
1. Inventory adjustments
Keeping track of your inventory is pretty simple when you have a traditional, brick and mortar store; all of your inventory is right there in front of your face. But when you’re selling online, through multiple different platforms like Shopify, Amazon, Instagram, and others, keeping track of your stock levels becomes a fair bit more complex. This is why you need an order fulfillment system that also takes care of inventory management.
2. Customer communications
It’s vital that you don’t neglect customer communications in favor of focusing on internal operations. Modern buyers expect to be kept up to date, and you’ll likely lose their business if you come to the party too late.
The good news is this: it’s super easy to keep your clients informed at every step of the order management cycle. All you need is an order management system like monday.com that integrates with Gmail and other email providers to send automated updates to your purchasers in real-time.
Payment processing complete? Send them an email! Order sent for delivery? Let them know!
You can take advantage of this functionality by automating feedback requests once an order has been delivered and using the data to inform future improvements to your order process and customer experience.
3. Shipping issues
Chances are you aren’t going to be delivering every purchase order yourself. You’re probably going to use a third-party shipping supplier, which inevitably comes with a risk.
If something goes wrong with the delivery — such as the order being late — your customer will be coming to you for answers, not your delivery partner. It goes without saying then that you need to find a delivery supplier that you can trust. More than this, though, you need a supplier that has a robust system that integrates nicely with your own.
With this in place, you’ll have access to all the information you need about order delivery without having to chase up the courier. You might even be able to get ahead of the eight-ball on issues such as late deliveries. Hopefully, your shipping partner will be using the same system as you — ahem, monday.com — but don’t worry if not.
monday.com integrates with Zapier, which is pretty much the leading third-party integration platform, allowing you to seamlessly connect with whatever platform your supplier is using. That’s assuming, of course, it plays nicely with Zapier too.
Don’t forget that from time to time, customers will return an order. It may be that product wasn’t for them, or that it was faulty, or that they simply changed their mind.
Your return policy is obviously something you’ll need to decide for yourself, but you can’t escape the fact that returns will happen. So, make sure that when you’re first setting up your order management system you create a separate board for managing returns, rather than waiting to the point where you get your first one. You’ll also want to make sure to set this up so that, where appropriate, return items go back into your inventory dashboard.
5. Scaling your operations
As your sales grow, order fulfillment and inventory management tasks increase, making manual processes a huge time burden for your team. To combat this, implement an order management system that allows you to automate as much as possible. That includes both within the system itself as well as via integration with other tools you’re using (like your ecommerce platform).
The final aspect of the order picking and fulfillment process is the pace at which your team can physically pick and pack a given customer order. This is aided in part through an effective order management system, but also requires careful consideration as to the layout of the warehouse itself. This includes things like keeping items that are commonly purchased together in the same area, or minimizing time spent searching for products.Get started
What is order management software?
Order management platforms are auxiliary systems that consolidate all your orders and customer information into a single and reliable source of truth.
Most businesses use multiple channels to reach their customers —email marketing, social media, search engines, influencers, etc. But multichannel order management can be a huge challenge for teams. Without a system that helps you understand which of these channels is bringing sales —as well as keeping your inventory organized — you’ll struggle making sense of your data.
Order management software isn’t exclusive to ecommerce, though. Research suggests that, by 2024, 60% of manufacturing organizations will rely on AI platforms to support their supply chain and order management processes.
With the use of software, they can centralize and automate these processes and send all this data to a single platform. The right order management solution helps you build an interconnected “ecosystem” to manage your order processing, oversee your inventory, and improve the customer experience — all while optimizing your costs.
How to manage your order process with monday.com
First off, monday.com isn’t just an order management system, it’s a customizable Work OS. With monday.com, you’re not limited to a specific way of working. Instead, we let you build a platform that suits your specific needs and wants.
With our platform, you can’t only manage orders, but also track your inventory, collaborate with your team, manage projects, build software, organize your workflows, and more.
That’s one of the reasons more than 100,000 companies — including Coca-Cola, Universal Studios, NBC, Deezer, and Adobe — trust us to manage their organizations.
In short, if you’re looking for a platform that meets all the traits we covered in this guide, then monday.com is probably a good fit.
Now, let’s talk about our main features.
Benefits and features
- Automations: automate up to 250,000 tedious tasks and repurpose that time on more productive activities.
- Integrations: integrate your favorite tools and apps to create unlimited integration recipes.
- Multiple views: visualize your data through different views, including Kanban, Timeline, and Gantt chart.
- Dashboards: build data dashboards that make sense to your business and help you see the data that really matters to you.
- Reporting: get advanced reporting features and turn raw data into insights.
- High-level security: keep your data secure with a platform that’s been used to build airplanes.
If you’re looking for a platform you can start using fast, monday.com might be a good fit for you.
Why don’t you take a look at our fully customizable inventory management template and decide for yourself?