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Dare to Dream of an OMS

Dare to Dream of an OMS

Knowing what is involved with the selection and integration of an Order Management System is the first step towards implementing a solution within your organization. Why keep dreaming when it can be a reality?

The Order Management System (OMS) is attracting the attention of more and more online merchants. This almost omnipotent omnichannel order management tool also extends to customer relationship management, marketing, and billing, to provide personalized service to customers. Here's a bit of information on how to implement one in your company.

The entire lifecycle of an order managed by a single tool. Is this a dream? No. It’s reality.

From the point that a customer places an order to when it’s delivered – through to the return process, an OMS organizes not only the order management process, but customer service activities, inventory management, warehousing, billing and marketing. The overall risk of errors occurring at any stage is limited by automating the management of these tasks through an order management system. Additional benefits that follow include the time and money that can be saved by investing in this kind of solution.

An OMS also responds to the needs of online merchants who seek to offer a personalized experience to their customers across all their sales channels. For brands with physical stores, the OMS is even more relevant because it gathers customer information from the channel that was used to make a purchase and provides customers with the option to have the order delivered to a location that’s most convenient for them – either in-store, or at home.

Flexible configuration

It’s an established tradition that at the end of the season, stores are looking to sell off existing stock. Delivery methods, or OMS rules can be reconfigured at will to ensure that if an item is available both at a store and in a warehouse – the product located at the physical store is the one sold first – even if it’s sold via an order placed online. This will avoid any costs associated with storage charges for these goods within a warehouse.

Another advantage of an OMS is that it can be managed by a dashboard by anyone with an administrator account and doesn’t require the intervention of a developer to change the sending rules. For example, for the case mentioned above, the company has decided in September that starting in October, all products should be shipped from their stores rather than from the central warehouse. The OMS rule that governs this behavior can easily be modified so it can be enacted immediately. "The OMS, thanks to its great flexibility, allows a company to easily review the strategy behind how it manages orders and inventory from one month to another," says Thomas Delecourt, Business Analyst at OSF Digital.

Define a process plan upstream

It’s necessary to establish the processes involved with how to set up the OMS during the initial implementation phase. It’s essential to establish several key points including:

  • how the orders are sent,
  • if products originate from the warehouse first,
  • what systems need access to this order information,
  • how the inventory information is received,
  • if there is a workflow behind this process, and
  • if this information is available in real time or not.

In short, the entire system architecture must be defined. The other key element of a solid implementation is to define the ideal scenario of how an order is routed once it has been shipped. It’s necessary to define the ideal scenario when everything goes right, but to also detail all the possible scenarios should a step not go as planned. Examples of this include if a product doesn’t exist, isn’t in stock at the location where the customer wants to pick it up, or if the payment doesn’t go through. Any step that may be blocking the successful completion of an order requires early examination to determine how best to circumvent it.

Pitfalls to avoid

To ensure you’re not surprised, it’s necessary to take into account the time required to implement an OMS. A complete system that works with a unified commerce approach takes roughly 22 to 24 months due to all the functionalities that need to be accommodated for within a single tool. If the need for an OMS solution is urgent, an integrator can choose to select only the best functionalities that are currently available on the market according to the Converged Commerce method. Employing this strategy can reduce the time to obtain a solution to around four months.

The advantage gained from implementing an OMS using a phased approach means you can leverage the talents of many different suppliers to address each one of your unique requirements. When evaluating an OMS, it’s important to choose one that’s customizable to your needs. A professional integrator will help you to determine how to combine the best software solutions that will be of most benefit for your company. "Today, we work with a partner who has a global offering, each part of which can be configured and customized according to the customer’s needs, at every step of their order. You can choose to prioritize implementing an order management system first and then wait a year before connecting your customer management and marketing technology to it. It’s easy to connect existing systems to an OMS while it’s under construction," concludes Thomas Delecourt.

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