The role of ECMs in order management
An order management system (OMS) is the prerequisite for (cost-)efficient, transparent, and fast order processing. Combined with an enterprise content management (ECM) system, you can add even more order to your ordering processes. Let us show you how it works and how you can improve the customer journey with state-of-the-art order management.
What is order management?
Order management coordinates all processes related to order entry and order processing – from order receipt to delivery and invoicing. Various departments are involved in the order-to-cash process, including customer service, warehouse management, accounting, and the selected delivery partners. Order management systems are used to ensure that processes run smoothly and communications are effective.
Order management has a major impact on customer experience and satisfaction. The
What is the difference between order management and order fulfillment?
Order management is about controlling and managing the entire life cycle of orders, including processes, systems, and responsibilities. The order fulfillment process is part of this and refers to the processing of orders. The focus is on shipping and delivery of the goods ordered.
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Order management process in 6 steps: From order entry to invoicing
A seamless workflow is at the heart of an efficient order management process. The more smoothly it runs, the more customer orders the company can process successfully. So it plays an important role in a company’s growth.
Order management software helps you control the individual steps in the ordering process and ensure a good flow of information. All of these steps create a series of documents that need to be managed and processed by various departments. For this purpose, we recommend an enterprise content management (ECM) solution or a document management system (DMS).
These solutions enable you to control, for example, the following order documents:
Note: Although we present the individual steps in the order management process separately below to provide a better overview, in practice a feature of a good workflow is that processes flow smoothly into one another and also start in parallel. While the warehouse takes care of the shipping, the accounting department, for example, is already preparing the invoice.
Step 1: Order entry
The order management process begins with the customer's order, which is received via the online shop, in store, by telephone, or by email. In the first step, you enter all the order data, including customer information, the products ordered with item numbers and quantities desired, the price, and payment details.
The ECM supports you as follows: The system uses AI to automatically extract all the relevant information from the order document and stores it in a structured format. The system uses interfaces to transfer the information to your ERP system, such as SAP, for further processing. An integrated business process management (BPM) system also enables you to automate additional process steps. For example, the system automatically creates a confirmation of receipt and sends it to the customer by email.
Step 2: Order verification and confirmation
Once the information has been added in the system, the order verification step begins. Formal and factual content is checked. An order confirmation is then generated and sent to the customer. By doing so, you confirm the contract and declare that you accept and will execute the order.
You can manage the contracts and order confirmations again via the ECM. The AI-supported system also makes it easier for you to review documents: For example, it alerts you to missing information. In addition, you can use the ECM to set up customized approval workflows and always assign the verification and processing of documents to the right employee – and do so fully automated.
Step 3: Warehouse management and product provisioning
If you link the order documents to your warehouse management system via the ECM, you can send the order details directly to the warehouse and start the warehouse processes downstream. The warehouse monitors inventory levels, checks whether and at which warehouse locations the ordered goods are in stock, and selects a suitable shipping location. If there is no stock, it sends a purchase requisition to the purchasing department.
Order pickers then collect the items for the order before other warehouse employees pack the goods and prepare them for shipping. This includes generating delivery notes and packing lists, which you then store together in the ECM.
Good to know: An efficient order management system helps
streamline the purchase-to-pay process. It helps companies improve inventory control, increase transparency, accelerate order fulfillment, and reduce costs.
Step 4: Shipping and delivery
In the next step, the warehouse selects a suitable shipping method, the delivery partner, and the shipping time. The package containing the goods ordered is given a shipping label and is then passed to the delivery service along with the consignment note. The delivery service is responsible for ensuring the goods reach the specified customer address.
Now is the right time to send the customer a shipping confirmation. You can also inform the customer about the pending delivery via delivery notification. An important part of order management is that the delivery can always be tracked – by you and your customer. With the help of the ECM, shipping documents can be tracked automatically and communication maintained in the event of status changes or questions.
Step 5: Invoicing and incoming payments
Now it's time to generate the invoice for the order and send it to the customer. Invoice processing, including verification and approval processes, is completely automated by the ECM. This means the finalized invoice gets sent to the customer more quickly.
The ECM system can also be used to monitor payments and match payment receipts to invoices.
Step 6: Order completion and reporting
After the customer has received the goods ordered and you have received payment, the order is successfully completed. Now there are a few more important tasks in order management to close the order:
- Obtaining customer feedback about the ordering process and product satisfaction
- Handling post-sales processes, e.g. customer support, returns service
- Creating an order completion report
- Recalculating the costs incurred
- Digitally archiving all documents related to the order (in the ECM archive)
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Better tracking and transparency
ECMs provide more transparent business processes through uniform and clear workflows for additional processing of documents. You can better track orders and the individual steps in the order process. The documents are stored centrally and everyone involved has access to information relevant to the order at any time.
Support compliance requirements
With the help of an ECM system, you can ensure that all customer orders are carefully documented. You can prove compliance more easily with regulatory requirements such as EU GDPR and GoBD and ensure that important documents such as invoices and delivery notes are archived in line with audit requirements.
Order management as a central factor for customer satisfaction
Order fulfillment is an important part of the customer journey, and often determines whether the customer purchases from you again or switches to the competition. Nowadays, especially in e-commerce, customers have high expectations: Customers want to complete an order with a click, check the status of their order at all times, and ideally get the goods on the next day.
Efficient order management is therefore central to customer satisfaction and your company’s success. For this reason, it is essential to use state-of-the-art and intelligent software solutions such as an ECM. This allows you to optimize the flow of documents, information and goods, and ensure efficient order processing to delight your employees and customers alike.