Operations & Fulfillment: What Omnichannel Retailers Need to Know When Choosing an OMS
An order management system is a critical resource for omnichannel retailers who sell merchandise that they ship from either their own warehouse or via a third-party service bureau or logistics provider.
With an OMS, for example, you can:
- support cross-channel order entry and customer service;
- manage a cross-channel customer database;
- manage personalized product offers across channels;
- offer appropriate rules-based promotions by customer and channel;
- provide consistent and accurate information about stock quantities across channels;
- facilitate payment processing, including doing such things as issuing and tracking refunds; and
- optionally manage picking, packing and shipping, along with inventory receiving and returns, if the OMS includes a fulfillment module.
To take full advantage of these benefits, however, you need to make a strategic decision about which OMS is right for your organization.
Taking the First Step
The most important part of the system selection process is creating a "change team," with representatives from marketing, merchandising/purchasing, operations, inventory management, fulfillment, customer service and accounting.
Next, the change team should define what it wants the OMS to accomplish. If you use a written needs analysis document, this can become a formal request for proposal (RFP). You may assume your needs and requirements are "too simple" to justify this step, but you'll likely be surprised by what your team comes up with. Most everybody has a wish list in a bottom desk drawer, which your team will use in creating the RFP.
The more specific the needs and requirements in the RFP, the better. You'll be sending this document to six to eight candidate system vendors for their written proposals, and the more you know about how well they can meet your requirements, the better.
Each response should be noted in the form of a "score," ranging from "we can meet this requirement in the current system" to "our system doesn't support this functionality." In between are options including "will require minor modifications," "will require major modifications" and "we have an alternative approach."