Aspects of Order Processing Improved by Software

In this article we will critically explain which aspects of order processing have been improved thanks to the software.
Aspects of Order Processing Improved by Software

While order processing can be conducted manually with pen and paper, as a company grows, so does its complexity and the viability of that method declines. That’s where order processing software showcases its value — it can minimize human error and ensure customer satisfaction, regardless of how large an operation is.

Order processing software stores and shares data on orders, checks stock availability and tracks order delivery, all of which can help ensure orders are filled accurately and on time. This is important because accuracy and reliability increase customer satisfaction, and customer satisfaction leads to more sales. An order management system (OMS) can be integrated with other software, like billing and accounting, to combine order processing and all related tasks in one centralized platform.

Key Takeaways

Order processing is a key component of order fulfillment, and efficient order processing workflows can help keep customers satisfied.

This workflow includes picking inventory, sorting items, packing orders and shipping them.

Order processing software can provide major benefits for a company, because it helps automate warehouse processes, improves accuracy and decreases the time it takes to fulfill orders.

Order processing includes five main steps from order placement to delivery — and sometimes continues on if a customer starts a return process. But what is actually happening while an order is processing? Here’s a breakdown of the typical workflow:

1. Order placement: When the business receives a customer order, order details (including items, item quantities, shipping details and delivery addresses) are typically sent to an order management system. If the company has several fulfillment centers or warehouse locations, the OMS will automatically determine the appropriate warehouse location to ship from, based on the delivery address and item availability. This helps reduce transit times and delivery costs. In some instances, one order with multiple items may be fulfilled from several warehouse locations to ensure faster delivery. For example, if one fulfillment center does not stock a certain item or that item is out of stock, the customer may receive two shipments from two different locations so they do not have to wait for items to be re-stocked

2. Picking inventory: The process of collecting a specified quantity of items from inventory to satisfy customer orders. Order picking must be a highly controlled process because it directly influences the productivity of the overall order processing workflow — the sooner orders are accurately picked, the sooner they can be packed and shipped. To efficiently pick orders, organizations generally employ different picking strategies, including but not limited to:

Piece picking, where each picker collects the necessary products for one order at a time.

Zone picking, where each picker is responsible for picking items within a zone of the warehouse. All items are collated in the end.

Batch picking, where order pickers collect products for several orders simultaneously, in batches.

Picking can be done manually by using picking slips and spreadsheets, or automatically using barcodes and scanners, or even picking robots or machines.

3. Sorting: This is when picked items are separated according to their destination. If zone or batch picking strategies are used, for instance, each item must be sorted into its respective order before it can be packed and shipped. Sorting is an essential step toward accuracy and customer satisfaction because it’s the perfect time for workers to ensure all ordered items are present and in good condition for shipping.

4. Packing: The process of protectively packing items into appropriate shipping boxes. The packing process also includes weighing the packages and labeling them with recipients’ addresses and any necessary delivery instructions. Whether items are packed in custom packaging or plain corrugated shipping boxes, it’s important to prioritize dimensions and weights that can be easily handled and are cost-effective.

5. Shipping: The process of transporting orders to their final destination. Orders can either be shipped directly to the customer, or they might first be consolidated with other orders going to nearby locations to cut costs and minimize the total number of shipments. If orders are consolidated, multiple orders are usually shipped with the same carrier and then forwarded to specific locales as necessary. When shipping, it’s important to use a reliable tracking system so you — and your customers — can monitor orders.

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