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Is your business ready for an order management system?

Blog: Capgemini CTO Blog

The journey to omnichannel

From Amazon to Walmart, organizations are untouched by the advent of omnichannel order fulfillment. Customers now demand an omnichannel experience – from placing the order online to options for home delivery, store collection, or pick-up from a convenient collection center. A customer might visit a physical store, experience the look and feel of a product, and expect it to be delivered to his or her home.

With this in mind, a simple definition of an omnichannel order fulfillment includes the entire process:

Why do I need an order management system?

Most retailers start small. They often have a single channel and limited fulfillment centers to cater for customer orders. As their business grows, however, they go through a cycle of selling more products; expanding to other sales channels, including e-commerce, flagship stores, online marketplaces, multi-brand retailers, etc.; expanding into multi-markets across geographies; servicing customer orders through distributed fulfillment centers; and then potentially manufacturing products in-house and through a global supplier network.

Due to the nature in which businesses grow, a retailer’s IT infrastructure is often not able to cater to this complex order fulfillment, and retailers implement workarounds to optimize their ERP. Complexity is also generated through mergers and acquisitions during specific growth periods. This leads to every retailer having their own ERP and systems developed in-house to cater to their own specific needs, and their own fulfillment process with varying degrees of order prioritization and allocation logic.

Investment in an order management system (OMS) can change all this.

Are you ready to invest in an OMS?

It’s clear that investing into a comprehensive OMS solution can overcome all your order fulfillment changes. But is it as simple as it sounds?

The existing complexity and variability in my clients’ order management processes across geographies is still very much unknown. While there is awareness of this non-harmonized global process, what is still missing is an understanding of its impact on the OMS rollout, which leaves two choices:

Clearly, both situations are undesirable. But can they be avoided? My advice would be to go for a maturity assessment of your existing order fulfillment process. Capgemini’s ESOAR methodology (Eliminate, Standardize, Optimize, Automate, Robotize) is a unique and straightforward transformation methodology that addresses the underlying causes of inefficiency in your business operations, before working on the actual symptoms. It enables you to map your current processes by asking and answering the following questions:

These steps require you to run an internal workshop, or discover opportunities for elimination, standardization, and optimization with help of external experts. Failure to leverage the whole ESOAR journey and look for an OMS solution for all your fulfillment challenges will result in sub optimal results and won’t give you the return on investment you might envisage.

My advice? Aim for a global process with minimal regional exceptions, and embark on a process optimization journey before you invest in an OMS.

Abhishek Bikram Singh has over 12 years of industry experience (CPG, Manufacturing, Chemical, Retailers) in managing different supply chain functions. He has worked with clients across industries to define their order fulfillment and master data management maturity with respect to people, process, technology, and governance, and to develop their target operating model.

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