5 Ways to Improve Your Order Management
Your supply chain is only as strong as its weakest link. For many businesses, that comes down to the management of orders. If you've had to recover from mishandled orders, you know the critical consequences in reputation. Adjust your approach to order management and boost your bottom line with these five strategies.
Link your order management software to your inventory When ordering and inventory aren't linked, customers risk ordering items that are out of stock. Linking these systems allows you to monitor how much of a given item you have, so you can stock up on a popular item before you run out.
Streamline and consolidate channels Best practice is to consolidate order channels to reduce the likelihood of losing orders within the system. Streamlining channels is often a precursor to automation, as it's easier to automate what's organized. Consolidate order channels to the minimum: Customer order entry and sales reps.
Be transparent with customers Companies that excel at order management maintain transparency with customers by allowing customers to access need to know information about their orders without having to go through a sales rep. If your order management software doesn't allow customers to check pending order status, place orders, or search order history, upgrade to software that better serves your customer's needs.
Don't overlook refunds, exchanges, and returns The best order management policies may stumble when customers seek refunds, exchanges, or returns. If you overlook these things, you risk having your inventory thrown out of balance when items are returned or exchanged. That can have a cascading effect, where a couple of mishandled returns throws off the system and affects client orders and refunds, which has the potential to affect your reputation and repeat business. Communicate your policies to customers clearly by making it easy to find refund or exchange information within order confirmations, on product pages, and on your website. Reduce your risk as a business by selecting suppliers that make it easy to handle refunds, exchanges, and returns.
Get your employees on board Changes in your order management approach are only as successful as your employees, who must execute these changes on a daily basis. You'll be far more successful when you roll out new procedures with the buy-in of employees. Train staff on new protocols, place reminders around your facility and recognize employees who are adapting well to change to motivate cohesion and compliance with these new processes.
While change can disrupt workflow for a short period, these new habits will ultimately help your employees do their jobs, boost customer retention, and decrease waste in your facility.