16 November 202312 minute read

What is Order Management and How To Optimize Your Process

What is Order Management

Enhance your order management process seamlessly with Circuit for Teams and make sure you have a swift transition from inventory control to delighted customers.

Order management is the backbone of any thriving delivery and eCommerce business. It's the central hub where all the magic happens, from the moment a customer places an order to the instance it gets delivered to their doorstep. 

It's like the control tower in an airport that oversees the flight of goods from the warehouse to the customer's hands.

The order management system (OMS) acts as the brain of this control tower. It's an integrated platform that tracks orders, manages inventory, and coordinates with dispatchers and delivery personnel, making sure that the right item reaches the right customer at the right time. 

A well-optimized OMS is not just about keeping track of orders: it's about enhancing the overall customer experience and, by extension, the profitability of the business.

Now, how do you go about optimizing this process? We’ll cover the essential steps of the order management process, how to optimize it, and real case studies from companies that have taken steps to improve it. 

Let’s begin.

Key takeaways

  • Order Management Systems act as the central hub in eCommerce and delivery businesses. They track orders, manage inventory, and coordinate with dispatchers and delivery personnel to complete accurate and timely delivery.
  • Effective order management boosts customer satisfaction by confirming proficient handling of orders, timely deliveries, and by reducing the possibilities of human error through streamlined processes.
  • The order management process contains several stages including order entry, processing, tracking, fulfillment, delivery, and the communication of real-time updates to customers. Each stage is critical for a smooth transition from order placement to delivery.
  • Challenges in order management include errors in order picking, managing return inventory, maintaining real-time inventory visibility, and controlling excess costs, which can be addressed by implementing automated systems and real-time tracking capabilities.
  • Optimizing the order management process can be achieved by streamlining order processing, automating manual tasks, integrating systems and technologies, improving inventory management, enhancing customer experience, and implementing robust order management software.
  • Employing solutions like Circuit for Teams can significantly improve operational efficiency, raise customer satisfaction, and reduce excess costs by offering features like route optimization, real-time tracking, automated dispatching, and performance analytics.
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What is order management?

Order management is your way of making sure that everything runs like clockwork from the moment a customer places an order to the point it’s delivered. 

It's a systematic, step-by-step process that kicks in as soon as an order is placed. This process entails order creation, processing, tracking, and finally, delivery. 

It acts as a crucial bridge connecting your customers to your business operations seamlessly.

Now, you might find order management similar to inventory control and warehouse management, but they each play different roles in your supply chain. 

Inventory control is all about balancing your stock levels to meet customer demand without overstocking, while warehouse management focuses on the efficient storage and movement of goods within your warehouse. 

On the other hand, order management oversees the seamless transition of an order from placement to delivery, acting as a liaison between inventory control and warehouse management.

The importance of order management 

Effective order management is your ticket to achieving high levels of customer satisfaction. 

When customer orders are handled proficiently and deliveries are prompt, customer satisfaction and trust with your business skyrockets. 

This isn't just good practice. It's a reflection of a customer-centric ethos, which, in turn, beefs up your bottom line.

By streamlining the order management processes, you significantly trim down the possibilities of human error. 

The more automated and refined the process, the lesser the chances of glitches in order entries, processing, or delivery. This optimization leads to better order accuracy, forming the bedrock of a loyal customer base. 

Moreover, a streamlined order management system can churn out valuable insights and data, arming you with the information needed to further enhance the customer experience.

Key components of order management 

The order management lifecycle isn’t a one-size-fits-all process but a series of interconnected stages creating smooth sailing from order placement to delivery. Here’s a bird’s eye view:

  • Order entry. The journey begins when a customer places an order. It's pivotal that this step is user-friendly and foolproof to set the right tone for the remaining steps.
  • Order processing. After order placement, the order needs processing. This includes verifying the order details, checking the inventory levels, and prepping the order for shipment.
  • Order tracking. Offering your customers real-time tracking info isn’t just nice to have: It’s a trust-builder. It amps up the transparency and keeps your customer in the loop about their order status.
  • Order fulfillment. This phase is where the rubber meets the road — picking, packing, and shipping the order to your customer. Accuracy and speed are the names of the game here.
  • Order delivery. The grand finale — the order reaches your customer. Timely and accurate delivery is your encore that leaves a lasting impression.

Each of these components, while distinct, are woven together. A snag in one stage can trigger a domino effect, which stresses the need for a well-tuned order management system. 

Order management process

The order management process is a structured pathway that makes sure there is a smooth transition of goods from your business to the customer's hands. Let’s explore the key steps involved in this process. 

order management process

1. Customer places an order 

The journey begins when a customer places an order via various sales channels like Shopify or Amazon. 

It's paramount that this initial interaction is seamless and user-friendly, as it sets the tone for the customer's overall shopping experience. 

A smooth ordering experience that meets customer expectations can not only lead to repeat business but also positive reviews and referrals.

2. Order acceptance and confirmation 

Once an order is placed, it moves to the acceptance stage where it’s reviewed and confirmed. 

Accuracy is key here to avoid any future hassles like delays or backorders. 

Providing real-time updates at this stage can significantly enhance the customer experience, letting them know that their order is being processed and is on its way.

3. Inventory management 

Efficient inventory management in real-time is crucial to make sure you have the right stock levels to fulfill orders. 

It's a delicate balance to prevent overstocking or understocking, and an efficient inventory management system plays a vital role in achieving order accuracy, which, in turn, elevates customer satisfaction.

4. Order fulfillment 

Order fulfillment is where the order is prepared for delivery at the fulfillment center, including the preparation of shipping labels. 

Streamlining this process to minimize manual tasks not only improves order accuracy but also speeds up the order fulfillment process, making sure that orders are ready to be shipped in a timely manner.

5. Shipping and delivery 

shipping and delivery

The logistics from shipping to in-store or doorstep delivery are the next hurdle. 

Beyond meeting deadlines, timely delivery entails exceeding customer expectations.

Making sure that the logistics are handled efficiently and delivered promptly can greatly enhance customer satisfaction and contribute to a positive shopping experience.

6. Order tracking and updates 

Providing order status updates and real-time tracking is a game-changer in enhancing transparency and building customer trust. 

The integration of technologies like APIs can significantly improve order tracking, giving customers a clear view of their order’s journey from the warehouse to their doorstep. 

This level of transparency not only keeps the customer informed but also builds a sense of trust and reliability towards your business.

Challenges of order management

Order management comes with its fair share of challenges. Here’s a closer look at these hurdles along with some solutions.

Errors in order picking 

Order picking is where you pull products from inventory to fulfill customer orders. 

When mistakes happen here, like picking the wrong item or wrong quantity, it leads to incorrect orders being shipped out. 

This not only frustrates customers but also increases costs, as you now have to handle returns and send out the correct items.

Implementing an automated system can help reduce these errors. By having a clear, digital trail of what needs to be picked and in what quantity, the chances of human error are significantly reduced.

Managing returns inventory 

Returns are a reality in the retail and eCommerce world. When customers send products back, you need a solid process to manage this returned inventory. 

It needs to be checked, restocked, or disposed of, and all this needs to happen in a way that's efficient to keep costs down. 

Poor management of returns can lead to losses and can also negatively affect customer satisfaction if not handled promptly and effectively.

A robust order management system can streamline the returns process, making it easy to track and manage returns. 

An OMS can help in organizing this process, making sure that returns are handled efficiently and inventory levels are updated in real time.

Maintaining inventory visibility 

Knowing what's in stock, where it's located, and how quickly it can be accessed is vital. 

Lack of real-time inventory visibility can lead to overstocking, stockouts, or delays in order fulfillment. 

Implementing an inventory management system with real-time tracking capabilities can be a game changer. 

Such systems give accurate, up-to-the-minute data on your stock levels, helping in better decision-making, avoiding stockouts or overstocking, and confirming timely order fulfillment. 

By having a clear picture of your inventory at all times, you can make informed decisions that benefit both your customers and your bottom line.

Minimizing excess costs 

Cost control is crucial in order management. Excess costs can crop up in various areas, like shipping, handling, and storage

Additionally, manual processes or inefficiencies can lead to wasted time and resources. 

Keeping a tight lid on these costs without compromising service quality is a significant challenge, and finding the right balance to maintain profitability is essential.

Circuit for Teams is built to streamline the delivery process. Here’s how it can help minimize costs:

  • Route optimization. Circuit for Teams optimizes delivery routes to reduce fuel costs and save time, allowing for more deliveries in the same timeframe.
  • Real-time tracking. It provides real-time tracking of deliveries to manage unforeseen delays and reroute drivers as necessary, minimizing wasted time.
  • Automated dispatching. Circuit for Teams automates the dispatching process to save time and resources, reducing the chance of manual errors.
  • Proof of delivery. Want to increase trust with your customer? This tool offers digital proof of delivery to reduce the administrative burden and give clear delivery records, minimizing disputes.
  • Driver communication. Circuit for Teams dacilitates efficient communication between dispatchers and drivers through a centralized platform, reducing back-and-forth calls and messages.
  • Performance analytics. Know how you’re performing at every step. Circuit for Teams provides analytics to monitor and analyze driver performance and delivery efficiency, aiding in better decision-making to reduce costs.

In a nutshell, Circuit for Teams helps in identifying and eliminating inefficiencies in the delivery process, which reduces excess costs and helps you optimize your resources. 

How to optimize the order management process

Optimizing the order management process is a game changer in ramping up operational efficiency and delivering stellar customer satisfaction. Here are some additional strategies to bring about this optimization.

Streamline order processing 

Speeding up order processing can be achieved by leveraging order management software that has automation and real-time inventory visibility. 

Streamlined workflows play a pivotal role in improving order accuracy and cutting down manual processes, which, in turn, reduces the likelihood of errors and expedites the order-to-delivery timeline.

Automate order management 

Automating manual tasks within the order management workflow translates to faster order processing, accurate order fulfillment, and timely deliveries. 

Solutions like Oracle NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce are popular choices. They offer robust automation capabilities that cover various aspects of order management, freeing up your team to focus on more strategic tasks.

Integrate systems and technologies 

A harmonious integration between your Order Management System (OMS), Point of Sale (POS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems is crucial. 

This integration facilitates seamless data flow across systems, aiding in real-time order tracking and inventory control, which are vital for meeting customer expectations and maintaining operational efficiency.

Improve inventory management 

Employing techniques like demand forecasting helps in optimizing inventory management and making sure that the right products are available when needed. 

Real-time data analysis is key in managing inventory levels effectively, preventing overstocking or stockouts, and meeting customer demands promptly.

Enhance customer experience 

circuit customer experience

Customer-centric strategies, like offering real-time order tracking and proactive communication, can significantly elevate the customer experience. 

Solutions like Circuit for Teams give real-time tracking and notifications for your delivery, making sure customers are always in the loop. 

A positive ordering and delivery experience not only boosts customer satisfaction but also fosters repeat business and a loyal customer base.

Implement order management software 

Selecting and implementing a robust order management solution tailored to your business's unique needs and existing systems is paramount. 

Look for features like multichannel and omnichannel support, real-time dashboards, and order allocation functionalities. 

These features are instrumental in providing a clear overview of your order management process, facilitating better decision-making and guaranteeing a smooth, efficient process from order placement to delivery.

Case studies on optimizing order management processes

Order management often presents challenges that can hinder business operations. The following case studies illustrate how different businesses addressed these issues with Circuit for Teams to improve delivery efficiency and support business growth.

Overcoming order management challenges 

Swytch Technology, a UK-based e-bike conversion kit manufacturer, faced challenges with shipping their products due to the stringent regulations surrounding battery shipments. 

The traditional courier solutions were either too expensive or unavailable. They initially considered handling deliveries in-house but realized they needed a more efficient solution.

Enter Circuit for Teams, which gave crucial features like route optimization, live delivery tracking, and customer communication tools

This allowed Swytch to significantly improve its delivery success rate to over 90%, optimize its delivery routes, and enhance the overall customer experience by providing live updates on delivery status. 

Moreover, Circuit for Teams enabled them to explore new service offerings like video support, return pickups, outdoor fittings, and troubleshooting, enhancing not only their operational efficiency but also customer satisfaction​​.

Optimizing order management for growth 

The restaurant Sanjhi Rasoi, led by Sagar Dhaliwal, significantly optimized its order management system to accommodate growth by adopting Circuit for Teams' route planning software

Initially, managing delivery routes manually led to imbalances in driver workloads, lost orders, and consequential redeliveries, which negatively impacted profitability. 

After switching to Circuit for Teams, the detailed route metrics enabled a shift to hourly pay, promoting driver efficiency and reducing workload disparities. 

Additionally, the feature of proof-of-delivery photos eliminated redelivery occurrences. 

This optimization not only maintained profitability amidst scaling to 1,000 daily meal deliveries but also saved substantial monthly costs, fostering a conducive environment for continued business growth​​.

Streamlining order management and delivery for efficiency 

Darnell Franco, an engineer at YYC Local Wipes, encountered challenges in route planning, which was crucial for timely deliveries. 

He decided to use Circuit for Teams to streamline his delivery process. 

Upon integrating Circuit for Teams, Darnell could easily input delivery stops into the app, which automatically optimized the routes

This not only saved around an hour per delivery day in building the route but also removed the guesswork in route optimization, leading to more predictable delivery times. 

Circuit for Teams also allowed drivers to have all necessary information at their fingertips, making the delivery process smoother. 

The ease of adding last-minute stops and re-optimizing routes on the go was the cherry on top. 

As a result, the delivery process became more efficient, saving valuable time and improving the overall delivery experience for both the drivers and the customers​​.

Order management FAQ

Explore answers to frequently asked questions regarding order management and how optimizing this aspect can significantly impact your business operations.

How do I choose the right OMS for my business? 

Selecting the right OMS involves evaluating your business's unique needs, the system's integration capabilities with existing infrastructure, its scalability, and the support and training offered by the vendor.

How can effective order management improve customer satisfaction? 

Order management contributes to customer satisfaction by confirming accurate and timely deliveries, providing real-time order tracking, and facilitating easy returns and exchanges.

How can small businesses benefit from an order management system? 

Small businesses can benefit from an OMS by automating manual processes, improving order accuracy, reducing operational costs, and enhancing customer satisfaction, which in turn can lead to repeat business and positive reviews.

How does technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) play a role in order management? 

AI and ML can enhance order management by predicting demand, optimizing inventory levels, automating routine tasks, and providing actionable insights through data analysis for better decision-making.

Can Circuit for Teams integrate with other order management systems? 

Yes, Circuit for Teams has API integration features that allow it to work alongside other order management systems to enhance overall efficiency.

Optimize your order management process with Circuit for Teams

In the dynamic world of delivery and order management, having the right ally like Circuit for Teams can be transformative. 

Our software is crafted to streamline the critical steps of shipping and delivery with order tracking and updates.

For shipping and delivery, our software excels in efficient route planning and optimization. It intelligently sequences the delivery stops and accounts for variables like traffic and delivery time windows, promoting timely and accurate deliveries.

On the aspect of order tracking and updates, transparency is key. Circuit for Teams gives real-time tracking and status updates, so customers are always informed about the status of their orders, enhancing their trust and overall experience.

The intuitive interface of our software is easy for both your team and your customers to navigate, centralizing crucial data with every order and simplifying order management.

Ready to elevate your order management process? With Circuit for Teams, efficiency and customer satisfaction are within reach.

Upgrade your order management operations with Circuit for Teams. Sign up now.

About the author

Heather Reinblatt
Heather ReinblattContributor

Heather Reinblatt is a managing editor currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. She spends her free time reading, trying new recipes, and cuddling her cat Paisley. You can find Heather on LinkedIn.


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