order management

What is the Process of Order Management?

The process of order management starts from the moment a sale is made, and continues right through to delivery and any possible returns. This order involves several steps:

  1. Order is placed.
  2. Process payment.
  3. Item(s) get picked.
  4. Item(s) get packed.
  5. Order is shipped.
  6. Handling of any returns.

1) Order placed

This involves actually taking the order details from your customer.

In ecommerce, this would typically mean someone completing checkout on your website or marketplace store. But could also involve completing an in-store transaction, or receiving some kind of order form sent via mail.

2) Process payment

Payment is a key part of any order process. This is usually done as part of the checkout for online orders and completed immediately via card processor or a tool like PayPal.

However, it’s important to note that some payments take time to fully process. And you should not move onto the next stage of the order management process until this is complete.

Pending payments

Retailers with physical stores will obviously have the option of taking cash payments.

While wholesale or B2B sellers may choose to operate on an invoice model. This is where a buyer is quoted for a bulk buying order, then sent an invoice via post or email to be paid by a specific deadline date.

3) Item(s) get picked

Once payment is successfully taken, the warehouse team can start the fulfillment process by picking the items.

There are four main methods when picking manually:

  1. Single order. This is simply where each order is picked and brought back to the packing station one at a time.
  2. Batch picking. A picker gets assigned a certain number of orders to pick in one go before returning them all to the packing desk.
  3. Zone picking. Each picker gets their own ‘zone’ in the warehouse with items being added to an order as it gets passed through each zone.
  4. Wave picking. All zones are picked at the same time and brought to a centralized desk to be consolidated and packed.

But many retailers are now opting to automate this with digital picking. This uses a barcode scanner to pick more orders, in less time and with greater accuracy.

4) Item(s) get packed

Once picked, orders will be brought to a central desk ready for packing together.

This is an opportunity to make completely sure that you’re sending the right products to the right customers and in the most efficient way.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Verify order accuracy. Verifying each item is going in with the correct order as it’s being packed is a great fail safe check.
  • Box size. Shipping companies now tend to incorporate dimensions into their prices – so having 3-5 standard box sizes to choose from helps keep costs down while not being overly confusing.
  • Use appropriate packaging. Some packaging material gives more protection yet costs more. Choosing the right kind for the right order is therefore imperative.

5) Order is shipped

Once the items for each order are packed and sealed, the final fulfillment step is to actually ship it out.

This involves:

  1. Printing out the relevant shipping label (and invoice, if not already done).
  2. Marking the order as shipped in relevant sales channel.
  3. Sending out ‘shipping confirmation’ and ‘tracking’ emails to the customer.

A quality order management system will allow you to do all this with a few clicks in the same platform.

Bulk print shipping label

6) Handle returns

Returns are an inevitable part of the order process. And handling them effectively is necessary for businesses wanting to uphold their customer experience reputation.

Key elements of returns are:

  1. Actually opening up a return request in your system.
  2. Printing off and issuing return labels.
  3. Booking returned items back into warehouse inventory.
  4. Processing any refunds to customers.

This can be a complicated process in itself. But a quality order management system will provide a single view for all your teams to complete their necessary tasks on a return from start to finish.

Order managment returns