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Distributed Order Management: Everything You Need to Know

A warehouse worker fulfilling orders in a fulfillment location.

Retail is moving faster than ever before, with ecommerce sales swiftly climbing across multiple sales channels. As consumers increasingly purchase products online, it is becoming more important for businesses to provide a positive customer experience by integrating digital and physical channels. This will help them maintain a competitive advantage.

Optimized distributed order management (DOM) systems and processes are critical for every retailer. In today’s competitive retail market, distributed order management systems help retailers keep their promises to customers and maintain a sustained competitive advantage.

What is Distributed Order Management?

If you’re asking yourself, “What is distributed order management,” we can help. Distributed order management is at the heart of all modern retail and digital commerce flows. It manages almost every function involved in the order-to-consumption process while optimizing customer service and cost.

As ecommerce continues to grow, distributed order management is becoming more critical for retailers. From single channel to omnichannel, distributed order management systems help retailers to orchestrate and optimize the balance of supply and demand.

The Four Pillars of an Effective Distributed Order Management System

An effective distributed order management system will have four distinct pillars: inventory, orchestration, fulfillment and customer care.

Inventory

Every retailer needs available inventory data tracking capabilities. Inventory tracking has become especially important with the rise of buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) as a method of shopping. Inventory tracking may seem simple enough, but it can become complex for retailers servicing multiple channels.

It is important to always have a real-time view of your inventory availability, whether your inventory is in a brick-and-mortar store or you have several nodes across the globe. You should always know where your inventory is and where it can go in order to meet your SLAs. This is an essential part of maintaining an effective DOM system and maintaining good inventory visibility for your target consumers. The inventory management pillar of a distributed order management system provides the following benefits:

  • Safety stock – Ensuring that you never run out of inventory in each node
  • Available to sell – Providing visibility into what real-time inventory is available to which locations
  • Future inventory – Preparing in advance for what inventory your nodes will require
  • Inventory segmentation – Segmenting your inventory based on consumer demand and network strategy, as well as creating maximum inventory visibility for your customers

Orchestration

Having the right inventory in the right place, and having visibility into inventory levels at all times, is only the first hurdle of creating an effective distributed order management system. Once inventory is optimized, order orchestration is the next pillar of an effective DOM solution. Order orchestration is the process of ensuring that the customer order cycle, from in-store and online ordering, to order sourcing and order processing, are handled seamlessly and efficiently. Order orchestration within a DOM system should be able to optimize the following processes:

  • Order sourcing – Pulling inventory from the right node to ensure optimized order fulfillment
  • Event management – Maintaining communication during all touchpoints of an order
  • Rating and scheduling – Defining price and time of delivery for quicker lead times
  • Payment integration – Providing a seamless payment experience for the customer

Fulfillment

A DOM system that can handle omnichannel fulfillment will help you be more efficient and save money when fulfilling customer orders and getting them to their destination. Optimal fulfillment planning is an essential part of any sales channel. The following features are key:

  • Store portal – Providing a user-friendly system for managing orders during the fulfillment process
  • Dropshipping – Leveraging the right nodes for lower shipping costs and efficient fulfillment and delivery
  • Mobile picking – Offering a mobile point of sale system on which store associates can pick and pack single and batch orders from inside the store

Customer Care

In the end, the customer should remain the focal point of this entire distributed order management process. Having a user-friendly distributed order management software solution that provides a great customer experience from order to receipt will give your retail organization a competitive advantage. To help meet customer expectations, focus on the following features:

  • 360-view of the customer – Maintaining full visibility into a customer’s order and history
  • Order administration – Creating a seamless process for editing and monitoring customer orders
  • Returns and exchanges – Enabling customers to easily manage their own returns and order changes
  • Customer interactions – Ensuring a positive experience during every customer interaction

Why Your Retail Organization Needs a Distributed Order Management System

Every retailer, whether you have a single channel or several channels, needs distributed order management. It ensures you can meet the expectations that you set with your customers. Single-channel retailers need streamlined, rule based distributed order management on a more fundamental level in order to optimize inventory tracking and customer satisfaction.

For multichannel retailers, the need for DOM becomes even more apparent. This is where inventory segmentation, strategic sourcing and fulfillment and a seamless omnichannel customer experience come into play. Distributed order management streamlines all of these processes for a better buying experience.

Get Started with Distributed Order Management System Consulting from enVista

The main source of your sustained competitive advantage in the retail industry will come from your ability to anticipate customer needs ahead of time, rather than just meeting their needs. Distributed order management makes this possible in a way that traditional order management does not.

If you have questions about effective order management systems or are ready to get started implementing distributed order management into your retail organization, contact us today. We are ready to help you save time and money by optimizing your distributed order management software, systems and processes. We can help you with everything from warehouse management and implementing a top unified commerce platform to vendor management, fulfilling orders and customer interactions.

Let’s have a conversation.™

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