The successful implementation of an Order Management System (OMS) doesn't have to be a daunting big-bang approach – even if you’re an omnichannel operator. Instead, think of it as just a series of steps. There are key ones you have to take, and once you do, you’ll be well on your way.
The MVP Approach: A Smart Strategy
Think of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) as your starting point, a functional yet basic version of your end goal. It solves core issues quickly, reduces business risk by giving you the opportunity to evaluate your idea, and perhaps most importantly – gives your project momentum. The key is to get up and running quickly and refine as you go.
In order management, businesses often grapple with complex operational landscapes, from legacy systems to operations across vast distances. This complexity is further intensified by the unpredictability of future requirements. That's where the MVP approach to implementation becomes a game-changer because you can start with a small idea, test how it works, and build it ready for the shifts it’ll need to make as your omnichannel presence grows.
But what are the phases you need to have in check?
Phase 0 – The Blueprint
In OMS implementation, the first phase – which we call the 'blueprint stage' – involves mapping out functional and technical specifications meticulously. In this phase, understanding data flows is critical, considering that various platforms like ERP, Warehouse Management Systems, Webshops, CRM systems and other applications need to all be seamlessly integrated with one another.
Phase 1 – Connecting the Dots
The next step involves establishing the right connections for the primary order flows. This phase makes sure that stock is accurately displayed across all sales channels. All basic order management flows, including handling of returns and refunds, need to be in place as well. Equally important is showcasing store stock accurately. This is the groundwork of order management and must be completed before you head to phase 2.
Phase 2 – Advanced Omnichannel Scenarios
Phase 2 is where it gets fascinating, with the incorporation of advanced omnichannel scenarios. As these scenarios can significantly impact operations in various channels, they might take more time to implement.
For example, 'click and collect' and ‘ship-from-store’ options, though valuable, require direct coordination with stores and can become more complex. They may even necessitate additional hardware, like a label printer. That might sound trivial, but the implications of even a single device being added can be huge, with the need for support of that device, training for staff, and reviews on how well it works and how well you’ve integrated it. Any element that influences store operations falls under this phase.
The Right Approach Means It’s Within Reach
Implementing an OMS doesn't have to feel like an uphill battle. With a phased approach, each step forward delivers value and lays the foundation for the next phase. The principle is simple - identify your biggest pain points or the core capabilities you need and start there. Tackle each problem one at a time, and soon you’ll have a fully-fledged product that can transform your omnichannel operations.
If you’re ready to build your MVP, or even if you’re still just thinking about it, get in touch with Wolfpack today. We’re the experts in omnichannel order management, and we can help.