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4 Ways to Improve Wholesale Order Fulfillment

Order management is the most important key to meeting your fulfillment goals, here’s how you can improve.

There is some argument between professional wholesalers and how they prioritize order fulfillment. For some, it’s the largest operational priority in their business. For others, it’s considered just one step in a far more significant and branching sales process. What is agreed upon, however, is that an effective order fulfillment process is essential for the long-term success of a company, helping any organization build profits and ensure that their products get where they need to go on time.

Order fulfillment encompasses everything that happens from when you receive an order to when your customer receives their end product. For many companies, this happens over a wide range of channels and different challenges pop up, kind of like a logistics puzzle. These challenges all stem from inventory management and the transparency around it.

You might have faced some of them yourself, they’re very common in the industry. Ask yourself, have you ever had problems with:

  • Inventory level accuracy
  • Demand forecasting
  • Inability to handle multiple ordering channels
  • Space allocation
  • Inventory transparency for sales teams and customers
  • Order entry accuracy

These general topics are where issues usually arise for many companies — luckily there are four steps you can take to make sure that your organization doesn’t have to face these problems.

1. Improving inventory management

Inventory management is an essential ingredient to provide accurate and efficient order fulfillment. Having a clear understanding of your inventory down to the minute can help you avoid overpromising to your customers and keep track of what’s selling, and what’s not easily and quickly. Implementing an inventory management technology that works for your specific operational needs will quickly help improve overall efficiency in your company while providing you with the ability to align with demand forecasting and level accuracy.

2. Automate your processes

(This is the big one)

To efficiently fulfill all your customers orders, you should be integrating your internal inventory directly with your order management system. This makes sure that your inventory numbers update every time an order is placed without the need to manual entries and effort. By doing this, you save the significant time it takes to transfer orders between your system and reduce the chance of errors.

Make no mistake, the chance of errors is high and automated systems work much more efficiently for entering data. According to DocuClipper “For 10,000 data entries, automated systems would make between 1 and 4.1 errors, while humans would commit between 100 and 400 errors.”

This becomes even more efficient if your company also commits to online ordering, and an ordering system that is also automated and integrated with your ERP or accounting system. Your inventory levels become tied directly to your orders, ensuring that you have accurate inventory count at all times with no need for swivel chairing between different systems.

Read more on why your business should commit to online ordering here.

3. Provide Inventory Transparency 

When your inventory information is accurate, it’s important to share it across your sales channels. This can be done by providing your real-time inventory information directly to your customers through an online catalog. Or it can be accomplished by providing your sales reps with mobile access to your catalog — giving them the information they need while they’re out on the go. Sharing this accurate inventory information ensures that you’re providing your customers with the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions. 

4. Informed and Flexible Order Management 

Once your order is placed, keeping your customers up to date throughout your fulfillment process is just good service. Or if your sales channels use EDI, an absolute requirement that will get you fined if you don’t. This can be managed easily by an automated order management solution which updates your customers at every step of the way, without needing manual input from your team. 

To accomplish all this, you can turn to OrderEase to automate your order management processes and simplify how your company interacts with its different sales channels. We make order management easy and give you the tools you need as you look to scale your business. 

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