Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Managing the Complexities of a Hybrid Omni-Channel Order Fulfillment Strategy

As the race for brick and mortar retailers to implement Omni-channel order fulfillment programs continue to heat up, many questions are centered on how to efficiently execute fulfillment at the store level.

It’s now mid-2015 and it’s fair to estimate the majority of retailers have already implemented, or launched a pilot program, for at least one fulfillment option, such as buy online ship-to-store. But what happens when a merchant decides to launch a hybrid solution that incorporates multiple order fulfillment initiatives? Operational complexities start to become even more prevalent for a store associate responsible for managing both click-and-collect and ship-from-store orders that are hitting their location simultaneously.

Some immediate questions come to mind: How do I quickly sort through orders and determine which are most pressing? How do I know when a customer is late to pick up? What happens when half of the order is picked using store inventory, and the rest is coming from a warehouse? Do I only notify the customer once everything is ready for collection? The list goes on.

Within OrderDynamics latest 15.4 platform release, we endeavoured to significantly improve functionality in our core backend Order Management System (OMS) and Stores Application to provide optimal associate workflows when it comes to Omni-channel order fulfillment. As we work with our retail customers to drive Omni-channel excellence, we will continue to introduce a number of exciting product enhancements.

Release highlights from 15.4

  • Order Routing Optimization – we have continued to further embed more intelligence into our order routing rules algorithms, which now has a multi-pass engine to help optimize order profitability when split shipments occur.
  • New Order Statuses – ‘Ready for Collection’ and ‘In-Transit’ are the latest order statuses added to our backend OMS. This helps ensure retail associates and customer service reps always know where an order is at in the fulfillment cycle and can automatically trigger customer update notifications with greater accuracy.
  • Improved Order Queue Management – two new order fulfillment queues are now available within our Stores Application. The first is an ‘Inbound’ queue for orders arriving from a warehouse or another store, which is largely meant to support Ship-to-Store scenarios. The second is a ‘Ready for Collection’ queue. This is where orders go once the associate has verified inventory availability, printed packing slips and is awaiting customer pickup.
  • Late for Pickup Flagging – users can now define when an in-store store pickup order is to be considered ‘late for pickup’. Multiple visual indicators throughout the Stores Application highlight these orders and corporate users can quickly generate a report to trigger reminder emails for late customers.
  • Custom Paperwork Printing – along with traditional packing slips and shipping labels, users can now define and create additional paperwork to be printed at the store during order fulfillment. While the use cases are endless, some obvious paperwork such as picking lists, border customs forms, and specific dispatch notes are available. Paperwork can also be tied to and printed in specific languages for either the store associate or customer.

 

Learn more about optimizing: Click and Collect, Ship-from-Store, and Ship-to-Store