Distribution: Improving the Speed of Customer Order Management

distributionMoving merchandise faster has a lot of benefits to the end customer, the retailer, and especially to the wholesaler. You probably have most of the low hanging wholesale business improvements already in place, like smart warehousing, bar-coding, racking equipment, better transportation with same day or overnight deliveries, and special purpose software that speeds up the process of getting merchandise to where it’s needed.

A wholesaler can also derive a lot of benefits from improving overall order management speed. None of these benefits is dramatic by itself, but together they add up to genuine business performance improvements – among them are: 

Warehouse space reduction.  Even a small reduction in merchandise in the warehouse can be valuable, especially true with high bulk-to-value goods. Maybe this recovered space creates room for another small product line or delays needing additional warehouse space.

Warehouse congestion relief.  A small decrease in warehouse congestion might allow goods to move a little bit more fluidly. Maybe this produces more shelf space for better placement of products within the warehouse or more productive space for the people who make things happen.

Cash flow improvement.  Any improvement in faster delivery has to produce a corresponding improvement in payment. Some wholesalers have been able to achieve an increase of one full day in cash receipts.

The missing piece often is automated order management software.  A good customer order management system can be used by both sales reps and customers and it should provide many features that can contribute to faster, improved service to customers.

These features are:

QuickBooks or other accounting software integration which is essential to sync all customer account information.  Giving your customers, sales reps and inside staff the ability to access all account info from the system will prevent delays and speed up the order fulfillment process. 

Customers and reps can place orders anytime, from any device.  Since the software is working directly with QuickBooks, it saves time and labor in processing incoming orders.  Since orders flow right through, there are less errors and quicker turnaround time. 

All incoming orders are fillable because the rep or customer has been able to look at quantities on hand, the specific pricing that applies to that customer, and the order histories of each customer and each item prior to submitting the order.

Incoming orders tend to be error-free since they follow a defined format. Time-savings result from the home office team spending less time talking with order placers and determining how to fix their errors.

The status of each existing order is visible to the buyer and the rep, so no phone calls or emails will be asking about ship dates or carrier data.

Credit limits and credit holds can be implemented automatically, again eliminating the need for conversation.

Automatic warehouse notification saves time by instantly telling the warehouse about each new required shipment.

A customer order management system with these features in place could improve your distribution business.  You will save time, reduce errors, and improve the overall customer experience. order management system