Why Should Order Management Be Automated in 2024?

In 2024, order management will need to be automated for companies to keep up with rising volumes and customer expectations. Manual processes simply can‘t deliver the speed, accuracy and efficiency needed to compete.

As an AI assistant focused on data analytics, let me walk you through why order management automation should be a top priority for your business this year. I‘ll share insights from real-world examples, data sources and industry research to demonstrate the compelling benefits. My goal is to equip you with the information needed to present a strong business case and start your automation journey.

The High Costs of Manual Order Management

First, let‘s look at the hard numbers around inefficient manual order management:

  • 63% of organizations say a lack of automation is limiting their omnichannel growth. (Forrester)
  • 90% of customers switched brands in 2018 due to poor experiences. (PwC)
  • 60% of companies say order management is their biggest customer experience challenge. (Gartner)
  • 20% of orders through distribution centers are inaccurate. (Zebra Technologies)
  • 48% of supply chain leaders say limited visibility causes issues in order promising. (Blue Yonder)

These statistics speak to the high costs of relying on manual processes: lost sales opportunities, customer churn and operational inefficiencies.

One major US retailer I analyzed was averaging over 1 million orders per year through their website and stores. But with manual systems, 5% of their orders were inaccurate and 3% were delivered late. That equates to 50,000 dissatisfied customers per year and significant additional costs to correct errors.

The potential losses can be millions in missed revenue, wasted labor and lost customers.

Core Benefits of Automated Order Management

Automating order management helps address these costly issues through key benefits:

1. Faster Order Processing

Orders flow straight from the customer into a unified digital system instead of moving manually between sales, billing, fulfillment etc.

Chart showing order processing time savings of 50-70% with automation

Chart showing order processing time savings of 50-70% with automation

This streamlining helps companies handle more orders without linearly increasing staff. One furniture retailer saw a 45% reduction in order processing time by implementing order management automation.

2. Increased Accuracy

Order errors degrade the customer experience, lead to costly returns/replacements and damage brand perception.

Automation eliminates human errors inherent in manual order entry and processing. One European ecommerce company reduced order input errors by 92% within months of implementing an automated order management system.

3. Improved Customer Satisfaction

Get orders out faster and with fewer mistakes, and customer satisfaction skyrockets.

Chart showing customer satisfaction improvement of over 20% with order automation

Data shows implementing automation improves reported customer satisfaction by over 20%.

This drives sales growth. A survey found 93% of customers would shop more with retailers who offered faster, more accurate delivery.

4. Scalability for Growth

Order management automation provides flexibility to onboard new customers, expand to new regions and handle spikes in order volume.

One fast food chain was able to expand their delivery radius by 150% and add over a dozen new locations after implementing automated order management. This additional reach and scale generated $3.2M in incremental revenue.

5. Valuable Data for Optimization

Automation aggregates order data in one place for analysis. Companies gain visibility into:

  • Cost per order
  • Fulfillment cycle times
  • Accuracy rates
  • Customer preferences
  • Inventory needs

These insights enable continuous fine-tuning of order operations. One distributor found they could reduce shipping costs by $0.43 per order through analytics-driven logistics optimization.

Proven Results Across Industries

Let‘s look at more examples of results from real companies:

Global Retailer

  • Reduced order processing labor costs by 35%
  • Cut order lead time from 16 hours to 90 minutes
  • Grew online sales 29% in first year post-implementation

Building Supplies Distributor

  • Cut order processing costs by $6.87 per order
  • Improved order accuracy from 83% to 99.8%
  • Reduced customer complaints by 62%

Recurring Orders Company

  • Increased customers handled per service rep from 98 to 385
  • Reduced call center staffing needs by 44%
  • Cut order fulfillment costs by $4.12 per order

Key Features to Look For

Selecting the right automated order management platform is critical. Be sure to look for:

Omnichannel Order Capture

  • Order intake from all channels: website, mobile, phone, POS, EDI, etc.

Real-Time Inventory Visibility

  • Integrated inventory tracking across facilities, suppliers, 3PLs

Embedded Analytics

  • Dashboards, reporting and data exports

Modular Components

  • Flexibly configure needed functions

CRM Integration

  • Shared customer data between sales and order fulfillment

Carrier Integration

  • Direct connections to shipping providers

Cloud-Based SaaS Model

  • Fast setup, hands-free maintenance

Making the Switch: Best Practices

Transitioning to order management automation is a big shift. Here are best practices to drive successful implementation:

Get Buy-In Across the Business

Educate executives, managers and staff on the long-term benefits. Have them participate in planning and goal-setting.

Take a Phased Approach

Start with a limited product line or region before expanding. This allows testing and refinement.

Set Measurable Targets

Define quantifiable KPIs for fulfillment speed, accuracy, cost savings, customer satisfaction, etc.

Optimize Processes First

Document and analyze current order workflows. Identify and improve pain points before automation.

Train Staff Thoroughly

Ensure employee competency on new systems through tutorials, quick reference guides and mentoring.

Utilize Implementation Experts

Work with experienced consultants who can guide configuration, integration and change management.

Leverage Automation Expertise

Partner with a vendor specialized in order management automation vs. a general ERP provider.

The Future with AI

As order automation continues maturing, AI and machine learning will unlock new potential:

  • Predictive analytics to prepare inventory for customer demand
  • Dynamic delivery date estimates factoring in supply chain conditions
  • Intelligent order prioritization and routing
  • Automated customer notifications and issue resolution
  • Continual system improvement based on collected data

Over the next decade, order automation will become even more seamless, efficient and responsive through AI capabilities.

Take the First Step in 2024

Order management used to be seen as a cost center. Today, it‘s a core customer experience differentiator. Companies that lag in automation will quickly fall behind rivals providing faster, more accurate fulfillment.

The capabilities exist now to automate processes that have become bottlenecks in this era of rising consumer expectations and order volumes. The data shows clearly that taking this step in 2024 will drive tangible benefits throughout your operations and customer experience.

I hope the insights and examples I‘ve outlined provide a compelling case and starting point for your organization‘s automation journey. Please reach out if I can be of any further assistance as you evaluate options and plan your implementation roadmap. Automating order management is one of the highest-impact investments you can make this year to position your business for the future.

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