There are thousands of things that can go wrong between when a customer makes a purchase and the time the product reaches their home. Even the slightest human error, like the wrong letter or number on an order, could disrupt the entire process and put the entire company’s reputation at stake.
Yet, shockingly, many businesses still rely on paper or spreadsheets, or even don’t track inventory at all. According to the Small Business Report by Wasp Barcode, 21% of businesses use a spreadsheet program for tracking inventory, 18% do it manually with pen and paper and 8% don’t do it altogether.
That’s truly astounding, especially when you consider the possibilities that are available today.
With the advances in technology and software solutions, businesses no longer have to rely on outdated methods to track their inventory, invoicing, billing and shipments. Nowadays, advanced order fulfillment software solutions can make the entire process error-proof using a barcode system that leaves almost no room for mistakes.
But how do you know which order fulfillment software is right for your business?
Well, as is often the case with business-oriented software, there’s a lot of overlap between different types of software, and the best match for your business largely depends on the scope of functionality that you require.
While supply chain management, inventory management and warehouse management may all include order fulfillment solutions, it doesn’t have to be that difficult to choose. The only thing you need to understand in terms of order fulfillment software is the core functionality that it should bring.
Here are some of the features that you should be looking for:
While some businesses still prefer on-premise software solutions, the possibilities of real-time tracking and analytics that come with cloud-based solutions have huge potential for making your business more efficient. Businesses find that the benefits of cloud-based inventory management solutions are simply impossible to ignore.
The order fulfillment software that you choose should be able to integrate itself easily with other inventory management, warehouse management or SCM solutions. Alternatively, as might more often be the case, it could be part of a larger solution that goes beyond order fulfillment.
Enter, Edit and Search Orders
Quickly entering and sorting through your orders is an essential part of the process, so the software should have a convenient approach to doing that.
One of the essential features of OFS is alerting you to any changes in inventory that need your attention. This includes a lot of inventory management functions as well.
A comprehensive order fulfillment solution should have an efficient way to confirm and process returns.
Reports & analytics
Finally, you should look at the data and analytics that the software is able to provide you. This can go a long way in making your order fulfillment process more efficient.
These are just some of the core features that you can get with a modern order fulfillment software solution. But which software options are the most popular in the market today?
Here are 5 of the most well-established and popular providers that you should strongly consider:
While Fishbowl Inventory is mainly an inventory management software solution, which has more far-reaching benefits and features that go beyond the scope of order fulfillment software, it’s a great option to optimize your order fulfillment, as Fishbowl has one of the better solutions in the industry.
Fishbowl has a great vendor monitoring system that allows you to track their performance while maintaining a few backup options in case one of them falls behind or can’t deliver on time. Another cool feature is its mobile accessibility. You can quickly check your product inventory to determine if you have enough to fulfill a particular order.
Finally, it features seamless integration with USPS and FedEx, so you can immediately calculate costs or notify USPS to pick up the packages.
SYSPRO is a very comprehensive and top-class Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, but it deserves a spot on this list because it offers a terrific order fulfillment solution with its Sales Order Module.
Through its order management system, you can easily access customer account info and streamline the entire ordering process, which allows you to seamlessly track customer status, previous orders, billing, shipping and much more.
Other advanced features like SYSPRO’s Espresso Mobile Xpress Cart, Purchase Orders and Blanket Sales Orders & Releases can all greatly contribute to maximizing order processing efficiency.
And while SYSPRO’s extensive features may be geared towards bigger companies, having so many modules and tools to work with is never a bad thing.
One of the growingly popular order fulfillment solutions is Megaventory, an up-and-coming software provider that’s been competing with bigger players by using a unique combination of technology and usability.
The efficient cloud setup allows for companies to instantly implement the software and start reaping the benefits. Plus, since it’s a cloud-based solution and really easy to adopt, scaling up or down becomes much simpler. What’s more, you can be sure that your data will always be backed up and ready to export if necessary.
Megaventory allows you to quickly take in orders, send them to suppliers and prepare sales quotes, all in an easy-to-use dashboard. It can also help manage shipping providers with all shipping and receiving tasks. Making it even more of a comprehensive solution, it also supports contract management.
Zoho is a suite with a wide range of possibilities, but its Zoho Inventory module can provide complete control over your orders to make your day-to-day inventory much easier.
You can get instant updates on your orders and make changes on the go, which lets you fulfill them quicker and more efficiently. When fully implemented, a lot of processes can be automated, saving you even more time.
Just like with Fishbowl, Zoho also provides smart shipping options that provide you real-time shipping rates and a selection of different shipping services. There’s even a dropship function that can convert the sales order into a purchase order immediately and have the goods shipped directly from the vendor to your customers.
Stitch is a platform that’s geared towards brands expecting rapid growth. Using an innovative data centralization, you can easily track your inventory, sales, fulfillment and other data in a single dashboard, where you can utilize more than 30 real-time reports and forecasting insights.
Like most top-shelf order fulfillment software solutions, Stitch Inventory merges several business inventory and order management operations so that you can track every step and make immediate changes.
What makes Stitch centralized order management great is that it gives you a lot of flexibility with different fulfillment methods and shipping companies, allowing you to avoid back-ups and delays with your shipments.