Worldwide events of the last two years have created new customer demand for order fulfillment flexibility and speed, creating an imperative to transform the state of order management. As events continue to impact B2B and B2C order fulfillment, what are companies doing to succeed and even thrive? Between October 2021 and February 2022, Gatepoint Research invited a select group of executives to participate in a survey called E-Commerce Strategies in Today’s Enterprises. Over 200 executives across a range of industries and management levels (43% CxO, 40% VPs, 12% Directors, and 5% Managers) participated in the survey. This survey asked respondents to report:

  • What best describes the state of order management technology across all their locations? Is their suite of solutions serving their customers well?
  • What issues disrupt or impact their order management operations?
  • What order fulfillment initiatives do they have planned? What capabilities do they need to ensure success?

How would you categorize your suite of order management solutions across your entire organization?

Fifty percentage of respondents stated that they had different order management technologies per location. Another 36% said they have updated their order management system (OMS) in most areas. By contrast 17% had outdated technologies across the board that needed to be modernized. And a small percentage claimed to use top-tier technology across their locations.

Do you think your systems and processes enable both optimal inventory management and flexible order fulfillment options to your customers?

The majority of respondents say they have inventory management under control to offer flexible order fulfillment options to customers, but a significant percentage (20%) admit they cannot.

What is your top inventory problem?

Running out of stock at a location is the #1 issue cited by 47% of respondents, and 31% say splits between locations is their top problem.

Do any of these issues disrupt or impact your order management operations?

Over 50% of respondents stated that lack of real-time visibility impacted their order management operations. Just over 40% indicated that resource constraints – labor and material limitations. Slightly more than one third said demand for omni-channel impacted their operations. And while splits between locations was listed as a top inventory issue, it is not a commonly cited order management disruption; just 21% identify it on this list.

What order fulfillment initiatives are on your roadmap?

Same day delivery is the top order fulfillment initiative for respondents with 40% stating it’s on the roadmap Slightly less than a third are looking at offering ship-from-store, and/or enabling online orders being picked up at the brick and mortar location. The « Other » category includes a wide variety of initiatives, including direct to customer (DTC), B2B, and technology upgrades or replacements. Survey results indicate that the vast majority of respondents are looking to expand speed and convenience options to meet the needs of customers and serve customers in the modality of their choice.

What capabilities do you need to add or improve for your initiatives to succeed?

Fulfilling orders as efficiently and accurately as possible is the capability that most respondents say they need to add to boost their success rate. 44% of respondents want to have clearer view inventory visibility, and roughly a third want to increase store inventory accuracy and automation in the process.

When are you planning to explore or initiate new order fulfillment initiatives?

50% plan to initiative order fulfillment initiatives in the next year. The remaining fifty percent of respondents plan to initiate new order fulfillment initiatives in the next 24 months.

Survey assessment

The survey results were quite insightful, however in some cases, somewhat contradictory. While a majority of respondents (80%) said their existing systems and processes enabled both optimal inventory management and flexible order fulfillment options, in the second survey question, 50% stated their top inventory problem was out of stocks and nearly one third said they had splits between locations. Clearly there is room for improvement when it comes to deploying solutions that provide real-time inventory visibility and order optimizing.

When it comes to issues impacting or disrupting omni-channel order management operations, bread-and-butter issues that have come up in the past few years are reflected here: organizations struggle due to the lack of real-time visibility to external events or disruptions, labor and material shortages continue to affect businesses, new customer expectations to provide flexible omni-channel fulfillment has forced organizations to reevaluate how they serve customers across channels, and lastly organizations need to balance customer expectations/customer satisfaction with the cost-to-serve.

The good news for customers is that nearly four in ten and one third have plans to support same day delivery, ship from store, buy online pick-up in store, and nearly twenty percent plan to support curbside pick-up. Clearly, executives are hearing customers loud and clear. And to add or improve their initiatives, they plan to implement capabilities such as order optimization, inventory visibility and accuracy, and order orchestration automation.

With executives making plans to explore or initiate omni-channel order management projects in the next year to two years, this is a perfect time to partner with Blue Yonder. We offer robust omni-channel order management solutions that enable businesses to drive e-commerce growth and go through their digital transformation. Our Inventory Availability microservice offers businesses the ability to get real-time inventory availability across the enterprise so they can understand what’s available and where. Our Commits microservice enables businesses to provide customers with order-by/get-by timelines prior to purchase and our post-order optimization engine, leverages machine learning to determine the most optimal fulfillment location to fulfill e-commerce orders. Commits can be configured to avoid split shipments.

Order Services provides a single workflow engine that can manage all order types and provide visibility at each step of the order lifecycle with proactive alerting and monitoring to ensure order and fulfillment accuracy. Having the right order managements system can propel a business forward. And lastly, our store Order Fulfillment microservice helps businesses deploy omni-channel fulfillment options such as ship from store (SFS), buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pick-up. Whether an organization needs to optimize inventory, order management or order fulfillment, Blue Yonder has microservices designed to support e-commerce growth.

Order management reimagined

The benefits of utilizing a modern omni-channel order management system are profound. From operational efficiencies that improve customer satisfaction and reduce the cost to serve to the ability to support new omni-channel offerings that let customers shop where they want to, the right order management system can help businesses achieve growth, profitability and competitive advantage. Unfortunately, most legacy systems weren’t built to support today’s omni-channel commerce experiences and don’t offer the flexibility businesses need to rapidly scale up or down with customer demand.

This is where having the right order management system comes. In an increasingly complex retail environment that spans multiple channels (stores, digital storefronts, marketplaces, and call centers), organizations need modern order management solutions that can help orchestrate orders from click to customer regardless of how products are fulfilled. The best order services solutions track orders across channels and enable businesses to deliver on the promise to customers. Being able to quickly implement order management capabilities means that businesses can rapidly respond to customer demand and gain a competitive advantage.

Learn how Blue Yonder’s order management solutions can help you here.