Customers expect the convenience of seamless integration of all touch points such as online stores, retail locations, and call centers, as well as an end-to-end omni-channel customer experience. This requires new business processes such as drop shipment, click-and-collect, click-and-reserve, or ship-from-store. And these need to be designed so flexibly that they can be changed at short notice.
This makes it challenging for IT. In principle, there are two different approaches to building an omni-channel infrastructure: either the retrofitting of multiple, distributed solutions that were never designed for the actual purpose of order management, or the introduction of a central order management system (OMS).
How an OMS can help
Without central order management, the omni-channel functionality must be programmed into all the peripheral systems. In the case of an SAP landscape, this includes SAP ERP; S/4; CAR for merging customer, sales, and inventory data; the add-on OAA for sourcing; a cloud (Hybris) for e-commerce; and the respective call center application.
An OMS helps with complex orders for products or services when different processes are involved in assembling, shipping, and transporting across system and company boundaries. The same is true for complex or subsequent changes to the processes or with the inclusion of transfers in pick-up processes.
Omni-channel processes can be implemented much more flexibly with a central OMS. The OMS links customer processes with the settlement processes in the background and controls all omni-channel orders. The OMS knows all stocks (across all channels such as online stores, retail locations, warehouses, in transit) and orders and ensures smooth processes. It decides which order should be fulfilled from which warehouse, location, or drop-ship partner.
A central OMS automates the fulfillment of the given delivery promise and fully utilizes the actual added value of a complex supply chain. Once the OMS has analyzed the received order and notified the optimal warehouses, suppliers and parcel companies, the further order flow is monitored. As soon as this plan is threatened by external influencing factors, such as a damaged delivery to a pick-up location or the sudden discovery of a shortage, the OMS looks for and initiates the next best option and keeps the customer and the retailer informed. In the meantime, should the customer stop by a retail location or call the call center, the employee will immediately provide them with the latest information and the best possible service. These OMS capabilities are configured interactively and continuously adapted to current needs. Coding is not necessary.
Good is no longer good enough. Those who want to offer their customers an omni-channel shopping experience at the cutting edge of technology can supplement their existing SAP landscape with a central order management system. S/4 supports the basic processes for retail, CAR enriches ERP with near-real-time analytics and manages PoS data, an OMS orchestrates the delivery of customer orders across all channels, systems, and organizations.