Welcome to the Expert Series. This is the first of three blogs highlighting experts at Kibo to give a deeper look into their areas of expertise. Today: Mark Wright, Senior Solutions Engineer OMS.
What is distributed order management?
Distributed order management solves for the practices and technologies needed to fulfill merchandise orders in ways that meet today’s complex business and consumer requirements. It means how orders are fulfilled across all systems to optimize all processes. This includes things like drop ship, 3PL, routing & splitting, and workflows for every unique use case. It supports the omnichannel expectations of the consumer, from ship-to-store and in-store pick up, to ship-from-store, vendor drop-ship, return-to-store, and everything in between.
Is there a difference between traditional order management and distributed order management?
Traditional order management is fairly basic in scope, purposed to satisfy the requirements of a relatively static company. It tends to utilize heavy on-premise architecture, be cumbersome and often inaccurate, and limits flexibility, agility, channel growth and potential. In contrast, distributed order management is built to support the flexibility required by today’s dynamic growth demands, is most effectively cloud-based, is much more efficient and accurate, and is optimized to leverage all inventory everywhere it exists, fulfilling consumer demand using every means possible.
How can retailers or manufacturers gain a competitive advantage with distributed order management?
In today’s world, inventory data tends to be segmented and siloed, getting stuck and lost among various systems that do not properly communicate with one another in an efficient manner. The result is merchants not being able to have an accurate picture of inventory across the entire enterprise, consumers not empowered with data to inform their purchase decisions, and consumer touchpoints (digital and physical) lacking reliability in providing accurate answers.
The purpose of distributed order management is to logically assign and source orders across all systems and processes. The best way to achieve this is to bring together all inventory across all physical locations to provide a comprehensive and unified view of inventory available to promise. With all inventory known, merchants can expose inventory to consumers and empower them with the information to drive their preferred method of purchasing the product, call center agents can answer questions accurately and make smart decisions when needing to manipulate orders, and merchants can efficiently merchandise, plan, promote and restock to maximize sales, margins and positive consumer experience. These are the advantages achieved when using distributed order management.
What are some tips you can provide retailers when implementing order management?
Invest time in defining end-to-end integration points prior to implementation to avoid scope creep. Order management lives at the center of a merchant’s eCommerce ecosystem. As a critical component, it is important to thoroughly and meticulously map out all necessary integration points to connected systems prior to beginning implementation. Define all of the use cases in detail, determine which systems have a role and what data they need to perform the role, and map those appropriately. Systems’ connectedness is paramount to uphold end-to-end omnichannel commerce use cases.
Don’t neglect to engage store operations in planning and implementation. eCommerce and supply chain teams will have great ideas and core objectives for the OMS, but often may be designed and implemented in a way that inadvertently negatively affects retail operations. As one of the only physical consumer touchpoints of the program, it is critical that they are not only supported, but also sensitively consulted in the design phase in order to avoid unnecessarily overly complicating brick and mortar operations and to maximize positive consumer interactions in store across all commerce channels.
Is there an advantage of a single vendor for all of your omnichannel commerce needs?
Many organizations invest in technologies to support their omnichannel retail objectives over a period of time as they evolve and mature, and this often leads to a large number of technology vendors and solutions in the solution set. While this is not a flawed approach, it often requires an unnecessarily complex integration matrix that introduces gratuitous complexity and an unstable or unreliable stack due to the intricate dependencies among the various pieces of tech. This can be an especially painful challenge for Big Retail on heavy on-premise software with aged version integration challenges when they endeavor to keep pace with consumer expectations and modern trending technology.
Selecting a single vendor to support multiple facets of your omnichannel program not only reduces your integration complexities leading to greater reliability, but it also slashes the overhead required to maintain, monitor, and repair the connections among critical systems. Vendors offering an extensive suite of modular class-leading solutions that solve for multiple needs in your omnichannel playbook offers value beyond the solution(s) it brings. The total cost of ownership valuation combines revenue lift and technology cost with the variation in program management and maintenance overhead, rendering the procurement decision in many cases indisputable.
What is the value of multi-tenant SaaS specifically for OMS? Why not private cloud or on-premise for OMS?
Customer expectations are constantly evolving, and in retail today the message is becoming undeniably clear for traditional retailers: “evolve or perish.” Many brands and retailers risk focusing their modernization strategy too myopically on the digital channel alone. While the web presence is a fundamental component of remaining competitive in retail today, omnichannel distributed order management is the critical element required to support the end-to-end consumer expectation. Not all order management systems are poised to continually adapt and evolve with industry and consumer changes, however.
Multi-tenant SaaS order management solutions operate all customers on the most current (and only) version of the software in the cloud, which means that there is no dreadful upgrade path or process to endure. Kibo, as the premier multi-tenant SaaS OMS solution in the market, is focused on continuous innovation, released for client benefit at various cycles throughout the year to ensure clients remain equipped with the latest in cutting-edge distributed order management capabilities to maintain their competitive advantage and winning strategy in the marketplace. Other cloud-based offerings in the market often try to disguise themselves to mimic the summation of this value, but the reality is private cloud and individual-instance SaaS fall short in the upgrade-free, hosting-hassle free comparison. When it comes to the critical component of distributed order management, the unbeatable choice to remain current and competitive is the agile, efficient and effective multi-tenant SaaS solution.
If you wish to learn more about Kibo’s order management system, please click here.