Distributed order management is a way for retail businesses to broker order fulfillments across the services of multiple parties while providing a global, integrated view so that inventory management can be intelligently sourced. More precisely (and less confusingly), distributed order management is a system that lets retail owners get an eagle-eye look at their supply chain, coordinate and compare orders from different suppliers (including third parties), and even get real-time visibility on orders in transit. In a sense, distributed order management is the retail version of the inventory management systems that order fulfillment services use to track shipments and stock across multiple platforms. Therefore, taking advantage of distributed order management lets retail businesses maintain a high level of flexibility and effectiveness in their fulfillment processes. Here’s how.
Manage Multiple Fulfillment Processes at Once
Understanding the benefits of distributed order management is easier if you compare it to how the traditional systems work. Traditionally, order management systems assume a relatively static company and are tied to a limited number of suppliers. This means that retailers have to use multiple systems to see all of their suppliers, may be unable to view third-party options, and lack the adjustability needed for flexible business practices.
In sharp contrast, distributed order management forms a central hub from which your order fulfillment activities can flow. In addition to being receptive to third-party options, distributed order management lets you compare price points between suppliers and even split orders between parties in order to optimize potential savings. Workflows can be defined and differentiated for alternate types of orders and demand can even be sensed and monitored for how it can influence ordering.
Distributed order management systems are an excellent way to unify disparate sales channels and their associated systems. This makes inventory sourcing a much faster and overall more effective and efficient process. Products can be sourced from different channels or even other store locations quickly and with full visibility. Perhaps most importantly, this cross-channel integration means that your information will be more accurate overall. One of the inherent hazards of multiple channels using distinct systems is that they may not all be on the same page. Inventory accounts from one system may deviate from another, be slow to update, or simply not reflect the real-world status of stock. Unifying these channels allows for a single, true picture to emerge and be used.
Enhanced Customer Experience
Retail is under constant pressure to improve profits and reduce costs, so trying to keep excess inventory to a minimum is a common way of improving the bottom line. Unfortunately, this places businesses at increased vulnerability to unexpected developments or the fallout from demand predictions being off. This results in stores commonly facing out-of-stock moments and lacking a reliable way to get the customer what they want. Distributed order management helps solve this problem in a few different ways. First, it has a unified view of your inventory and supplies, so you will never be caught unawares. Second, you can use cross-channel integration to track inventory at other store locations, alternate suppliers, or even goods that are in transit to the store. This expands the options you have for getting the customer what they want and locating and shipping your available-to-promise inventory.
Look to Lean Supply Solutions for Efficient Distributed Order Management
Lean Supply Solutions is a third-party order fulfillment company in Toronto whose operations are based around the Lean Methodology, a proven philosophy focused on eliminating any operations, equipment, or resources that are not capable of adding value to clients’ supply chains. By striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, Lean Supply Solutions is able to offer consistent, accurate, and quality results. To learn more about the Lean Methodology, outsourcing to Lean Supply Solutions, or to ask any questions, give us a call at 905-482-2590.