Simplifying the Complexities of Order Management to Satisfy Customer Expectations

Without an adequate order management system that provides visibility across multiple channels and locations, inventory can suffer.

What Does the Customer Want?

In a retail environment where the margin between a good year and bad one is razor thin and is increasingly being decided online, retailers must address all issues related to meeting customer expectations. With any number of other businesses to turn to if they’re not satisfied, customers demand certain freedoms and transparency when placing an order.

Visibility in Supply Chain

For example, they expect full visibility – to be able to see where the order is at all times. They may need the item at a certain time or have to arrange for someone to be home to sign for it or bring it inside for safety purposes. They also expect cohesion within the supply chain for added convenience. If they have questions about the order, they might contact the call center of the manufacturer or the distributer. If they want to make a return, they might utilize any channel of the supply chain to complete the transaction. In any of these cases, meeting their expectations require a smart solution.

What Does This Mean for Today’s Supply Chain?

As supply chains grow, so does the number of channels involved with order fulfillment. This could be daunting for the retailer as any fault deemed by the customer will immediately be placed at the hands of the retailer, even if it’s far beyond their control at this point.  And as supply chains become more complex, so do the problems.

If there isn’t an adequate order management system in place that provides visibility across multiple channels and locations, inventory location or status will be unknown to the retailer, customer service representatives can’t give customers up-to-date information or modify items on their orders, and real-time order status is a pipedream.

With this less-than-perfect fulfillment environment, the expectations of the customer will not be met, customer satisfaction will be impacted, and the company could lose out to better competition elsewhere.

How Can the Right Order Management System Make Order Fulfillment Simple Again?

The challenge for any supply chain is to make a multi-channel system a unified and singular entity. This can be achieved, however, with the right order management software.  An order management system, like IBM Sterling Order Management, prevents this disconnect that often happens when multiple channels, processes, and technologies are involved.

The customer views the order as one that comes from a single group, and the order management system should support this. For example, order management software can allow for accurate real-time updates and optimal fulfillment and delivery from the most suitable partners.