Your Guide to Software Selection

The Best Order Fulfillment Software Solutions

There’s a myriad of things that can go wrong in the time from a customer’s purchase, throughout shipping, and to eventual delivery. Even the slightest human error, like the wrong letter or number on an order, could disrupt the entire process and put the company’s reputation at stake. But shockingly, many businesses haven’t automated the process with order fulfillment software solutions. According to the Small Business Report by Wasp Barcode, 21 percent of companies use a spreadsheet program for tracking inventory, 18 percent do it manually with pen and paper, and a brazen eight percent don’t do it at all. That’s astounding, especially when you consider all the possibilities available with today’s SCM software.

With the advances in technology and software solutions, businesses no longer have to rely on outdated methods to track their inventory, invoicing, billing, order picking, and shipments. Nowadays, advanced order fulfillment systems leave almost no room for mistakes.

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A list of the top five order fulfillment software solutions, including SAP, Oracle, Sage, Manhattan and JDA in that order.

What Is Order Fulfillment Software?

Unlike most other business software terminology, order fulfillment software does exactly what it says. This type of automation streamlines portions of the order fulfillment process to provide a more efficient experience overall. With order fulfillment solutions, companies benefit from reduced errors in order entry, automated invoices, increased order visibility, managed returns and more. Typically, order fulfillment functionality can be found as part of a larger supply chain management software system.

But how do you know which order fulfillment software is right for your business?

Top 5 Order Fulfillment Software Systems

Although every business will have specific requirements when it comes to SCM software, there are a few systems that stand out for their order processing capabilities. According to our analyst team, the following five vendors have the best-rated order fulfillment and processing functionality. As these are well established and popular providers, make sure to strongly consider them during your software selection process:

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SAP Supply Chain Management Software

In addition to being a top vendor when it comes to order management and fulfillment software, SAP is also a fantastic SCM solution overall. SAP rates highly across all business requirements, is number one on our SCM Leaderboard and includes pretty much all you could want in an SCM. During order processing, SAP is with you every step of the way. This system helps users plan their processes, execute orders and manage order closing activities.

SAP SCM Projected Inventory

With the SAP Global Track and Trace feature, users can access the fulfillment status of all items and the processes related to them. Alerts can be configured to notify users when an issue arises concerning an order within the fulfillment chain. The alerts inform the user of the exact location of the item and it’s intended route in addition to things like humidity and temperature. This allows users to analyze what level of financial impact the issue might cause for their company and how they can resolve it.

Furthermore, you can make decisions with the confidence that they’ll be carried out using the most reliable and up-to-the-minute data. In the cloud deployment, each user has access to the most up to date set of information, which fosters collaboration — a key asset for larger companies with many working parts. However, this system isn’t recommended for small businesses.

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Company Size Suitability: S M L

Oracle E-Business Suite SCM 

As one of the best fulfillment software solutions, Oracle strives to reduce the errors associated with order processing known to degrade reputation with a number of different order-related applications. With their Global Order Promising (GOP) feature, you can more dependably inform your customers when their favorite products will be available. GOP analyzes supply and demand to precisely determine the date of delivery. The system can also assign shipments to several categories which include Available to Promise, Capable to Promise and Capable to Deliver.

Oracle E-Business Suite Find Orders

Moreover, Oracle can identify which warehouses have the certain product you’re looking for and then determine which location would make for the most efficient delivery. But even if your stock for a particular item is low, the system can take future supply estimates into account to determine an accurate delivery date.

Oracle’s Order Management module takes care of the processes more closely tied to actual order fulfillment operations. Using technology such as eCommerce storefronts, EDI, XML and telesales, this product allows users to gain greater demand visibility from multiple sources. Additionally, users can configure pricing rules to improve customer satisfaction by ensuring they are always viewing an accurate price when ordering. Lastly, Oracle’s order management functionalities seamlessly integrate into their transportation management tools, allowing complete fulfillment chain visibility.

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Company Size Suitability: S M L

Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management 

Sometimes known as Sage ERP X3, Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management goes above and beyond when it comes to shipping and fulfillment management software. But before choosing this option, make sure you’ve thought about whether your company is in the market for an ERP with SCM functions, or an SCM standalone product.

Sage Manufacturing screenshot

Even though it’s an ERP, it’s exceptional sales order processing capabilities are what earn it a spot on this list. Sage has got you covered on everything from invoices to deliveries. This system also contains eCommerce functionalities that allow you to build a brand identity, all while processing orders at full capability.

Additionally, Sage supports both a B2B and B2C eCommerce storefront. B2B users can customize pricing for different customers as well as the online catalogs they access. With the B2B interface, customers have access to a dedicated portal 24/7 to receive updates in real time and pay their invoices. The B2C interface is compatible with mobile devices and can integrate with major providers such as UPS, FedEx and USPS. It’s also a great order fulfillment software for small businesses.

However, it lacks depth in transportation management, where many of its competitors exceed. This makes it especially difficult for those looking to gain visibility into the entire order fulfillment process including the last mile.

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Company Size Suitability: S M L

Manhattan SCOPE 

Manhattan SCOPE offers an extensive range of supply chain solutions, but this vendor is especially good at providing solutions that support order processing. First, Manhattan Associates’ Order Management feature captures order information from multiple sales channels but relays them to the user from a centralized interface. This reduces redundancies across your system. The system also allows users to edit orders in addition to seeing an audit trail of every previous edit that’s been made.

Manhattan Associates Dashboard

Moreover, users can set up predefined milestones which help determine an order’s progress and whether or not an issue may have arisen that’s slowing down the process.

It gives a comprehensive look at your inventory and helps fulfill demand in the most advantageous way. Use their software to predict outages and delivery problems and prevent messy customer service issues towards better customer loyalty.

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Company Size Suitability: S M L

JDA’s Supply Chain Now 

Supply Chain Now is made with mid-sized businesses in mind. It’s useful for those that have goals concurrent with larger firms but don’t have as much time or resources to accomplish them. JDA understands the need for businesses to minimize risk while keeping costs as low as possible. Their software takes all this into account and maximizes revenue to ensure the opportunity to grow.

JDA inventory Mobile iPad

JDA utilizes a software suite known as Intelligent Fulfillment which enables users to integrate technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous machinery into the fulfillment process. This suite also provides complete supply chain visibility so users can get ahead of issues before they deter fulfillment. For instance, users can access demand estimates and warehouse capacity to understand how replenishment could affect an order. Additionally, you can use JDA to prioritize certain customers or products when you only have so many resources you can dedicate to fulfillment.

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Company Size Suitability: S M L

Order Fulfillment Management Features to Consider

Although the products above are very highly rated, it’s entirely possible that none of them would be the best choice for your business. Whether it’s due to price, company size or its features, no product is one-size-fits-all. Should that be the case for your business, it’s important to know which features make a particular software solution useful when it comes to order fulfillment. Here are a few of the features to look for when shopping for an order fulfillment service solution:

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Cloud-Based

While some businesses still prefer on-premise software solutions, the possibilities of real-time tracking and analytics that come with cloud-based solutions have massive potential for making your order processing more efficient. Businesses find that the benefits of cloud-based inventory management solutions are just impossible to ignore.

Easy Integration

The order fulfillment software you choose should be able to integrate itself easily with your existing systems. Alternatively, it could be part of a broader solution that goes beyond order fulfillment, like an ERP. In that case, you might even consider adopting new, more compatible systems to use with your ERP instead of the other way around. There’s no reason why your staff should enter in customer information once into your SCM, once into your CRM and again into any other system you use customer data with.

Enter, Edit and Search Orders

Quickly entering and sorting through your orders is essential, so the software should have a convenient approach to doing that. The downside to many extensive SCM software solutions is that they’re hard to use. This problem can be solved with an investment in training and customer support. However, you could also put user experience first and adopt an intuitive system. Many of today’s solutions are even adopting consumer-grade UX, making this task easier than ever.

Inventory Alerts

A crucial feature of order fulfillment software is its ability to alert you to any abnormal changes in inventory. The sooner you know about a shortage or an issue with capacity, the sooner you can address it. These can be configured to suit the user’s preference and can be accessed on any mobile device if your business is utilizing a cloud-based product.

Returns

A comprehensive order fulfillment solution should have an efficient way to confirm and process returns. Although an order may be considered fulfilled when it reaches the customer, your business’s relationship continues on after. Make sure you can process inbound shipments just as well as outbound. This will also save your business time and money, as you’ll have a more accurate record of the stock that’s available on hand for future orders.

Reports and Analytics

Finally, you should look at the data and analytics that SCM software is able to provide you. This can go a long way in making your order fulfillment process more productive. For instance, analytics may unlock trends and patterns related to fulfillment delays, depending on the key performance indicators (KPIs) you configure within your system. You might wish to see trends concerning transportation, warehousing or order processing itself. Analytics can also predict trends in demand. This will help you foresee any stock shortages that may occur and create preemptive strategies to deal with these issues.

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Next Steps

These five solutions are some of the best order fulfillment software on the market. But what about all the other features included in SCM software suites? It’s important to have a well-rounded system so that your company can get the most for what you’re paying for. In addition to order fulfillment, consider how well prospective vendors perform when it comes to transportation, supply chain collaboration, sourcing and other top SCM requirements.

Make sure to check out our SCM software comparison, which lists the top ten vendors and ranks them by how well they fulfill popular requirements as determined by our analyst team.

What do you hope to improve regarding your order fulfillment processes? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Kim O'ShaughnessyThe Best Order Fulfillment Software Solutions

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