With the face of retail changing and the ecommerce industry growing at an incredible pace, companies are becoming more and more challenged in how they manage inventory across their supply chain network. Products are being managed across multiple channels. Supply chains that have increased their number of channels to the market without the benefit of an integration strategy suffer from inefficiencies and high operating costs, not to mention inventory carrying cost. To maximize inventory, it is no longer acceptable to just know the inventory in the distribution center. There is a need to have an intelligent system that connects to the inventory in the Distribution Center, in the stores, in the partner sites, in third party logistics companies and vendors. This software is being called Distributed Order Management. It connects all the pieces and parts of a supply chain to ensure there are no black holes giving ultimate flexibility in filling orders accurately and avoiding missed sales. The system can even connect to the trucks carrying inventory across the country. This system will also connect the inventory and manage the orders also coming from many sources: websites, mobile sources, in store orders, catalog orders and call center orders. Think of your supply chain as something with many tentacles trying to fulfill the demands of multiple order requirements. It seems very complex and is keeping many a retailer up at night, especially with the growing number of orders needing to be processed daily. It takes a robust engine to fulfill millions of order lines during the day. The need for such a mission control or nerve center in most complex supply chains has gone unfulfilled until recently. 

    In today’s ecommerce world, the consumer is not satisfied with a one week delivery strategy. Many customers, including the new millennials, are requiring same day delivery and expect product to be delivered on time and efficiently or they will just click away and purchase the product from another site. Unhappy ecommerce customers rarely return to the site, therefore causing missed sales continuum. With escalating freight cost, is becoming even more important to source the product from the closest geographical point to be able to accomplish the demand of same day delivery it. There are many trials and prototypes taking place all over the country to see if same day delivery is in fact feasible.

    Much like a conductor leading an orchestra to perfect harmony, the DOM system can balance the inventory with the supply need based on your rule set criteria. Synchronizing the movement of inventory to achieve the best fill rates and customer satisfaction is the name of the game for the future. Without a conductor or DOM, product order fulfillment is being managed by disparate systems or individual business units with limited visibility and insufficient resources. The optimal fulfillment strategy: several different rules in place, ship all pieces from one source, ship closest inventory, ship priority customers first, and other strategic rules to accomplish the business order fulfillment goals. Multi-site sourcing for a single order ensures customer expectations are met. Powerful rules engines manage the order lifecycle to segment and prioritize orders, hold and release orders, and source to optimize against capacity, inventory, delivery or other constraints.
    Distributive Order Management, an adaptable business process engine, allows for true collaboration among suppliers, 3PL networks, stores, distribution centers and partners. The system also handles complex reverse flows enabling more efficient handling and processing of returns.

    Real time visibility of the entire network enables the retailer to have control over all channels across the supply chain. Global visibility of orders, inventory and delivery accomplishes what many supply chain leaders have desired for many years, which is the elimination of black holes with in the network. Your associates will be able to view orders real time, check current inventory across extended supply networks and track order status throughout the network enabling excellent customer service visibility.

    Intelligent systems are making supply chains all over the industry more effective and more efficient. Systems are being replaced that no longer offer the flexibility, and new ones enhance the decision making process to achieve great customer satisfaction, which equates to more sales. Companies have a variety of software solutions to choose from; they must be diligent in selecting a partner that will support and enhance their product for the future. With maturing technology and new unimaginable functions being added to software, a six-year-old system in today’s world may become obsolete. Technology will hold the key to the retailer leaders in the future. The better the technology, the more lean the supply chain enabling flexibility and agility in decision making. The visibility of the entire supply chain will afford the retailer to get better inventory turns and reduce the amount of lost sales for inventory outages.

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