When order management becomes your #1 frenemy

Every business strives for growth. The more meteoric the better, right? What founder wouldn’t love 5x, 10x or even 20x growth trajectories?!

You may not want to hear it, but there are downsides to meteoric growth.

It’s during this time that systems and processes may will break.

While your sales may not be negatively impacted in the short term, if you can’t keep up with orders, your brand will start to suffer and then long term damage will be difficult to repair. Rest assured that in these scenarios, both customer satisfaction and employee sanity will quickly begin to nosedive as mistakes are made while you, your team and your suppliers try to keep up with growth.

Not all growth is created equal.
That’s why we created Masters of Commerce.

Receive expertly curated tips, news and insights to grow your business, direct to your inbox.

Subscribe now!

If you’re like most entrepreneurs - digital, physical or otherwise - you’ve invested a great amount of time and effort on the front-end elements to build your brand and drive sales and marketing. Beautiful web design, search engine optimization (SEO), customer relationship management (CRM) and social strategies all fall into this camp.

The back-end elements, on the other hand, often take… well... a back seat until the growing pains become too much to bear. Accounting, inventory management, order management, and project management all fall into this camp.

Free tools (including frenemy #2 - spreadsheets) are perfectly serviceable Band-Aids for a time, but once your growth flywheel starts to move, your already daunting 60+ hour work week will get longer and longer.

There’s only one true way to solve for complexity and high-volume growth.

You may initially decide to hire people to solve for complexity as you contend with multichannel order management, multi-location inventory and regional tax compliance, but trust me here when I say that no matter how good your employees are, mistakes will get made. People are fallible.

Today, technology has become the great equalizer and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions have become so accessible that they allow even 1-person businesses to compete with commerce giants.

Where once you’d need several people to manually process orders from each sales channel, update accounting ledgers, warehouse locations and move through the fulfillment process, digital systems can automate every step of the journey; and will do so instantly at a fraction of the cost of building out one or more teams.

Barriers to growth

TradeGecko 2018 Global Small and Medium Business Commerce and Inventory Management Survey (note: does not sum to 100 as each respondent provided multiple responses)

If this sounds like your organization, don’t worry. You’re not alone and there is a way forward.

We’re not suggesting you don’t invest in building your team. What we’re suggesting you do is invest in people power so that you can tackle the more challenging and creative elements of growth rather than the repetitive and operational.

What is order management, really?

The process of order management is much more complex than simply taking sales orders and filing them. When you break it down, what it truly represents is a cascade of events that ripple through your organization affecting its entire operational ecosystem. Within it includes the need to:

  • Receive and track sales orders
  • Forecast future potential demand
  • House and maintain customer data
  • Update multiple sales channels in real time
  • Fulfill orders accurately and in a timely manner
  • Process payments in multiple currencies and update accounting ledgers
  • Track, monitor, update, and replenish (or manufacture) inventory

And, on top of all that, continue to run a flawless sales and marketing operation.

90HoursSpentonIM

Average time SMBs invested in manual inventory and order management responsibilities.

Order management systems free your team from spreadsheets, manual updates and the time-consuming business of running your business.

Conceptually, these systems and workflows are simple enough to understand because they tirelessly do the work that that people needed to do previously.

Order management systems were designed to automate the movement of data throughout the entire order management ecosystem, from sale through to fulfillment. In real-time. Without having to worry about discovering or fixing mistakes caused by manual data entry.

Our recent global survey suggests that you’re not alone. In fact, the vast majority of brands are relying heavily on manual, error-prone processes to keep their businesses running rather than freeing up that time to focus on customer satisfaction and growth.SpreadsheetOlympics

The Spreadsheet Olympics are thriving

Being a digital first brand, you already know how digital sales channels have fueled your company’s growth; allowing consumers to make purchases from the comfort of their desks or smartphones rather than going into a physical store or, on the wholesale side, replacing paper purchase orders or sales agent calls.

But you may not be terribly familiar with how order management solutions work together with eCommerce applications to digitize the backend of your sales order process by acting as the central hub that connects your entire commerce and supply chain ecosystem.Order Management old way vs new way

Order management systems are designed to free your time so that you can focus on growth

By digitizing the back-end of your business and implementing an order management system, you’ll finally be able to win back the time that was being stolen by manual or inefficient workflows. At this point you’ll be able to truly plan for scalable growth, sell across an increasing number of sales channels and handle multiple currencies.

As said by Alex McBride, Managing Director of The:5TH

When you start an eCommerce brand, it's important that you have the right backbone in place to grow. So using systems that are trusted and recommended, like TradeGecko, Shopify and Xero, really help you look after the business and you can grow off those platforms.”

Growth doesn’t have to be your frenemy

There’s no time like the present to change your business for the better and invest in your operational infrastructure - and your future - by embracing digital systems so that you can take control of your growth trajectory.

If you’re still not sure about where to start, we have a number of resources that you can use to help make the best decision for your business.

Inventory & order management software

All your products managed in one place. It's simple, efficient and easy to control. It's TradeGecko!

Start my free trial now