Can you do Omni-Channel Order Management Manually?
Thursday, September 13, 2018

Can You Do Omni-Channel Order Management Manually?

The other day I was floored by a discussion with a friend. Yes, it was a geeky conversation. We were talking about retail technology. You know, omni-channel order management, POS systems, and other supply chain tech topics. Part of what my friend discussed with me was a client of his firm. They had three full-time employees manually routing orders! Wow! Manual Order Management. In other words, completely sub-optimized order routing, done by humans. But this is a function that a computerized system does in microseconds? What’s more a DOM (distributed order management) provides a fully optimized routing solution. That doesn’t even speak to the thousands of other functions it runs every second.

What Does Omni-Channel Order Management Give me?   Omni-Channel Order Management is the central processing brain of the omni-channel retail strategy

Omni-channel order management is the central processing brain of the omni-channel retail strategy. It ties the entire retail technology stack together. This deep integration means the system knows all inventory locations, transactions and orders. It is the central repository of all this data, processed in real-time.

In brief, Omni-channel order management systems:

  • Have a full accurate picture of all inventory
  • Have a real-time view of all sales transactions (impacting inventory)
  • Orchestrate orders for fulfillment
  • Route orders to the ideal locations
  • Process returns
  • Provide performance analytics

However, unlike the human processing step, all this is done at supercomputer speeds. These systems also make decisions with a full picture of the retail chain. That’s what it takes to truly run omni-channel operations.


Read More: What Exactly is Omnichannel Fulfillment?


Can You Run Today’s Retail, Manually?

Of course, the answer is yes. It is possible. In fact, if one retailer is doing manual order management, there are probably dozens doing the same. But, this does not make sense. Say you create a pen & paper based spreadsheet. One of the most manual processes you can get. Would you want to rely on this daily? Wouldn’t your computer can make you much more effective? Just think of how much more you can get done, if you didn’t have to manually decide where orders should be routed to.

In-House vs Off-the-Shelf

Using Sticky Notes to decide Order Routing routesA more common scene is the in-house vs off-the-shelf choice. Ten years ago, order management systems were rudimentary. In fact, they were just in the early stages of retail solutions. At that time, a retailer’s needs were not covered by existing OMS systems. Altogether, an in-house development made sense. But that time is over.

Today’s omni-channel order management systems are robust and full-featured. With SaaS (software as a service), good systems are continually improving. SaaS technology means systems like the OrderDynamics’ solution are ready to go, out-of-the-box. Best of all, since they don’t need customization, upgrades are automatic. And these updates happen behind the scenes. There is no need for intervention or reconfiguration – it just happens. This keeps retailers on the latest version. It also means retailers always have the latest capabilities.

Too many retailers develop their own in-house systems. But customer expectations are continually rising. As a result, keeping customer service satisfaction high is a tough metric to hit. Customer order and fulfillment options are also always growing. That means an in-house omni-channel order management system becomes a year-round job. Does that make sense?


Related: Distributed Order Management


Retail’s Complex Landscape  

You need to use the many options used to run your retail fulfillment side intelligently and cost effectively.

Today’s retail is complex. A growing customer base expects omni-channel services. These consumers are fickle. They want to research, reserve, order and buy things. Any way they want. That means online orders, mobile, voice-commerce, social selling, text orders, phone purchases, and don’t forget in-store buying. Customer experience across all of these is paramount. It has to be easy. It has to be convenient. And they have to enjoy it enough to try it again, next time.

Then there is the fulfillment side. Part of the customer experience is how they get their items. Retailers are finding smarter ways of managing chains. To be efficient, you need to selectively use ship-from-store, in-store pickups, order consolidation, and ship-from-DC options. Yes, omni-channel fulfillment. But,  you need to use the many options used to run your fulfillment side intelligently and cost-effectively.

Long story short – you have several thousand balls to juggle. That means you need to focus your resources where they count the most. Focus them on where they will make the biggest retail impact.


Read More: Order Management SaaS Tech: Beyond a Concept


Specialized Omni-Channel Order Management  

Get Will the Real OMS Please Stand Up? WhitepaperThe smart choice in retail is to focus on retail. For our first example, your staff should not be tackling omni-channel order management manually. Customer expectations are for speed and more options. You can bet that Amazon is always looking for ways to automate everything. You should be doing the same. Instead, use your people to run the systems that give your company impact. Our examples point to order management to make split-second decisions and to orchestrate your logistics.

As for the in-house versus off-the-shelf dilemma, ask yourself what is your core offering? If your core is serving the retail customer – then do that. Rather outsource your software development to specialized experts. When you do consider your omni-channel order management choice – reach out to OrderDynamics. This is all we do. Our focus is to create the best DOM technology on the market. We help retailers like you achieve your focus – to become the best retailer on the market!


Charles Dimov - Director Marketing OrderDynamicsCharles Dimov is the VP of Marketing at OrderDynamics. Charles has 21+ years experience in Marketing, Sales and Management across various IT and Technology businesses. Previous roles include Chief of Staff, Director Product Marketing, Director Sales and Category Management for ecommerce and channel goods. Charles has held roles in brand name firms like IBM, Ericsson, HP, ADP, and OrderDynamics.