Fulfilling a customer’s order is not as simple as picking their products off the shelf and shipping them off to their home. The process actually starts long before that. Businesses have to consider getting the parts or inventory into their warehouse, sorting everything out and tracking inventory to ensure they’re not under-or overstocked, ensuring that their shipping schedules operate at a sufficient pace to get products to customers quickly, and so many other steps.
Managing all of the individual steps of the order management process can get overwhelming fast, especially as your business begins to grow and you start to get more orders in. However, enlisting an order management system to keep all your information in one place is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your business is always running efficiently and you’re getting orders out on time. Here, we’ve compiled a complete guide to what exactly an order management system is, why you might want to have one, and what our favourite systems are.
What is an Order Management System?
The first role of an order management system is to simplify all the tasks that are related to getting your orders out. This is actually quite a tall order and involves everything from updating your inventory data to make sure you have a product in stock to tracking orders that have already made it out the door. Often, your order management system will also be able to help you with future orders by providing forecasting tools and thorough reports.
In addition to what your order management system can do for you in the moment, it can also grow with your business to keep you scaling up. Like we mentioned in the introduction, your business is bound to have lots more orders as it grows, which will inevitably lead to more products and more vendors to deal with. Even as you gain more employees, the processes involved within order management will only get more complex and time-consuming. However, with the help of an order management system by your side, you can prevent issues in the supply chain and ensure that your business grows steadily.
Benefits of an Order Management System
Investing in an order management system for your business can make virtually every aspect of your day easier, from viewing your inventory to looking through reports. Order management systems eliminate the potential for human error in any given process, saving you both time and money. You’ll have a bird’s-eye view of everything that’s going on with your inventory coming in and your orders going out, providing you with the peace of mind that everything is rolling as it should.
Order management systems are not only helpful for you, but they can also be beneficial when it comes to your customers and your vendors. You’ve probably had some unfortunate instances in shopping yourself; maybe you’ve ordered an item only to find out later that the company is sold out of that piece, or perhaps the company in question didn’t have very good tracking and you didn’t know where your order was until it showed up at your door. Efficient order management systems lead to better customer service and, in turn, more returning clients.
Finally, investing in an order management system can help you improve your relationship with your vendors. You can set up automated ordering for pieces that you know you’ll need every so often or turn to the reporting functions of your order management system to determine when you need more or less of an item from your vendor.
Questions to Ask
With all of these incredible benefits that can come from the right order management system, you might be ready to jump on and purchase the first one you find. But there are a few questions you should ask before you dive in so that you can make sure you get the right software for your business.
First, consider what exactly you want your new order management system to do for you. What are the biggest problems you’ve been having in your order process so far? Are you having issues with maintaining sufficient inventory levels or tracking your orders as they leave? While many order management systems will be able to cover a wide range of tasks, identifying the features that are most important to you can help you narrow down your search right away.
You might also want to consider what kind of support you already have and what support you might need. Many small businesses will need extra help getting started, while mid-size businesses may already have some experience and don’t need as robust a customer support team. Finally, make sure your order management system of choice will be compatible with any of your third-party providers or suppliers; this will ensure a smoother process for all and will prevent any disconnect within your existing business relationships.
Our Top Order Management Software Systems
With all of that in mind, we do have a few order management software options out there that we would recommend. Each of these programs has its own unique benefits, so if one of them catches your eye, take a closer look to ensure it would be a beneficial option for your company.
Small to medium-sized businesses can benefit from the capabilities of QuickBooks Commerce. Users are able to access QuickBooks Commerce through Mac, Windows, and Linux devices, and this program has been beneficial for clients in various industries including manufacturing, e-commerce, retail, wholesale, and more.
A few of the benefits you’ll find include expansive warehouse management, comprehensive inventory control, seamless order creation, and customizable price list management. You can even access your information on the go thanks to the included iOS app. The one disadvantage here is that QuickBooks Commerce does not currently offer an app for Android devices.
Oracle Order Management Cloud
If your business is too big to benefit from QuickBooks Commerce, Oracle Order Management Cloud might be a good solution for you instead. This cloud-based system is most commonly used by businesses in industries such as manufacturing, retail, healthcare, technology, and more. Oracle Order Management Cloud is available for Mac and Windows operating devices.
Some of the capabilities that you’ll find with the Oracle Order Management System include pre-built tools with a surprising amount of flexibility, real-time pricing updates, access to the Oracle Product Hub Cloud, and multiple order capture and fulfillment systems. For this software, one of the main cons is that users are unable to use pick to order (PTO) shipment tolerance updates.
Magento Commerce Order Management
A lesser-known order management system perfect for small- to medium-sized businesses is the Magento Commerce Order Management system. Much like its competitor from Quickbooks, this software can be accessed from Linux, Windows, or Mac systems.
One of the best features of the Magento system is its centralized customer service. Users can pull information from multiple fulfillment centres and sales channels to seamlessly track orders, deal with returns and refunds, and integrate their existing customer service tools. Magento also allows users to automatically sync product catalogues with their Amazon store and make real-time adjustments for their inventory. Small businesses, in particular, are sure to appreciate the free Magento Open Source eCommerce platform. Virtually the only con here is that there is no native app for iOS or Android at this time.
IBM Sterling Order Management
Finally, for an option that businesses of all sizes can take advantage of is the IBM Sterling Order Management system. This system is particularly unique in that it has a variety of deployment strategies including SaaS, hybrid-cloud, and on-premise. Of course, users are able to define various business requirements for their order fulfillment processes, look at real-time visibility into their inventory, and even modify inventory on a case-by-case basis for special circumstances.
The logistics management features of the IBM Sterling Order Management system are superb. Users are able to set their delivery plans and get alerts when deviations occur, coordinate with customers to line up with any preferred shipping or delivery information, and tie delivery records to purchase orders and original sales for easy recording. This order management system is among the pricier options, but it certainly provides enough benefits to justify the higher cost.
Manage Orders and More with DEAR Systems
Finding an order management system is just one part of running your business effectively. One of the reasons these systems work so well is that they grant the ability to consolidate all your information in one place. The cloud ERP software available from DEAR Systems takes this unique advantage and applies it to your entire business.
Our software allows you to keep track not only of orders but also of business functions like warehouse management, POS, accounting, sales, eCommerce, and more. We are proud to serve clients from around the world in a variety of fields, proving that truly anyone can benefit.