Options for order management
So, what are the best systems for order management? The answer depends on several criteria, but for the remainder of this article, we will look at the five most common options for order management:
- Leverage ERP functionality
- Leverage your digital storefront
- Leverage your WMS
- Build your own system
- Modern, dedicated order management system (OMS)
Option 1: Leverage your ERP
Initially, when order management first became a recognized business process, many organizations used their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. It made sense at first, as the ERP usually is the record-of-truth for financial information.
However, the main function of an ERP originated as a back-end operational system for inventory and manufacturing. It was never designed to be a system focused on the customer experience (CX). Very often, ERP systems are monolithic in nature, requiring time, money and effort to modify to make it work for a different purpose— and the risk of something going wrong can impact the operation at large.
Option 2: Leverage your digital storefront
For many digital-heavy brands or retailers, it may make sense to leverage the commerce storefront (i.e., Adobe, Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud) for order management functionality. The storefront is the system capturing the order, so perhaps there are some benefits to using one system for both.
The primary downside of leveraging a commerce storefront is that most often, the order management functionality is very “lite” and not suitable for high-volume, complex omnichannel operations. Additionally, the primary goal of a commerce solution is to convert visitors to customers. While order management can impact conversions (i.e.. available inventory), the function spans the entire order lifecycle and end-to-end customer experience through final delivery/pickup.
Option 3: Leverage your WMS
Many organizations consider using their warehouse management system (WMS) for order management. The reasoning here is that the system responsible for fulfilling the orders could “manage” them as well.
Like the previous two options, a WMS was built for the pick, pack, ship process which only accounts for a fraction of the order lifecycle, therefore they are limited in terms of capability and functionality. Many times, a WMS does not aggregate orders across all sources, but rather a primary distribution or fulfillment center.
Option 4: Build Your Own System
To solve immediate pain points, some organizations look at building their own system for order management. Often, these “homegrown” solutions work in tandem with their ERP, WMS and/or their storefront.
While this may work for smaller organizations, many have learned that maintaining a system to meet market demands requires dedicated time, resources, and budget to maintain. Additionally, keeping owned systems competitive with the broader market is challenging without a dedicated research and development team to keep pace.
Option 5: Modern OMS
The most effective option for order management is a modern, dedicated order management system (OMS). A dedicated system means that the system was intentionally built for the purpose of managing orders throughout the order lifecycle to curate the most ideal, easily repeatable customer experience.
In the last five years, more dedicated OMSs have entered the market as a direct response to the complex challenges and the need for automated, trustworthy experiences.
Learn more about Körber's Order Management System
Pros and cons for each option for order management