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Anyone who works in the supply chain knows that the planning, maintaining, ordering and shipping of products is a fairly involved and detail-oriented process, and supply chain management (SCM) software is a great tool for making everything run more smoothly.
An integrated SCM software suite can connect everything from demand forecasting and strategic sourcing to warehouse management and order fulfillment. With so many different elements of the supply chain to consider, though, it can be tough to figure out what your business needs are, and what kind of software will meet those needs. That's why it's helpful to drill down into specific SCM functionality and learn what each module does.
This buyer's guide will explain how order entry software fits into the larger scope of supply chain planning and execution, so that you can better understand what to look for when searching for software.
Here's what we'll cover:
What Is Order Entry Software?
To put it plainly, order entry is the point of the sales process where orders are captured and submitted in an entry system that allows users to view details of the order and make changes if necessary. Order entry is most often offered as a function of order management software, but there are some options for stand-alone or best-of-breed versions.
Order entry has a lot in common with point of sale (POS) systems—for example, both can be linked to inventory in order to better track stock and communicate availability to the customer. The major difference is that order entry does not typically involve payments. In other words, a transaction of money does not necessarily take place at the time the order is captured in the seller's system.
Instead, the order entry process is meant to collect orders placed by customers (either individuals or larger organizations, depending on the type of business) and send the order details along to distribution centers, warehouses or other vendors where the order can be fulfilled and shipped out to the customer.
Order entry feature in Apprise ERP
Common Features of Order Entry Software
As a relatively small part of the order fulfillment process, order entry software is generally bundled in with larger SCM or order management software suites. A few of the most valuable features offered with order entry functionality include:
|Invoice/receipt creation||Create price quotes and then convert those quotes into invoices and/or receipts.|
|Inventory hold||Reserve inventory once an order has been entered, so it will be reflected in stock counts and availability.|
|Price management||Manage prices, discounts, credits, promotions etc.|
|Information storage||Record data such as purchase history and customer contact information for future use.|
|Multiple order capturing options||Provide options for how orders can be taken, including over the phone, online or through an EDI interface.|
When researching order management systems and order entry functionality, you should also pay attention to what integrations are offered. Some systems are capable of linking to existing accounting software to export data for ledgers, accounts receivable and payable etc. Other integrations allow users to create pick tickets and packing slips, generate shipping and tracking information and manage or adjust inventory levels.
Benefits of Order Entry Software
Along with all the benefits of order fulfillment and order management software—such as simpler data sharing along the supply chain and more up-to-date communication between sales and inventory—order entry software provides a number of additional advantages. These include:
- By providing multiple ordering avenues, you can give customers a better experience, so you can establish and maintain relationships with satisfied clients while providing reliable service and deliveries at the same time.
- Because order entry software keeps track of details and order history, you'll always have all the information you need. This comes in handy when creating repeat orders or handling complaints or return requests.
- Thanks to electronic document creation and systems that can automatically populate certain fields within forms, human error and process times are drastically reduced.
With order entry functionality being offered through supply chain execution suites or stand-alone order management software, businesses have plenty of pricing and sizing options to consider.
Who Buys Order Entry Software?
When it comes to order capturing and processing, businesses within the retail space make up the largest group of users. This is especially true for larger retailers that work with multiple suppliers and warehouses, but B2C, B2B, 3PL or wholesale companies of any size can benefit from an integrated order entry and management system.
Likewise, any business that operates along the supply chain and has to manage both demand and execution should absolutely employ order entry software. Whether your product is food, pharmaceuticals or any other manufactured good, an integrated ordering software will improve visibility, reporting and forecasting across your company.
Market Trends to Understand
As you're researching different order entry systems, you'll want to bear in mind some of these market trends to help plan for your business's future.
E-commerce. Online shopping is becoming the new normal, and businesses must capitalize on that opportunity if they hope to survive in the future. BigCommerce and Square conducted a survey together this year that revealed over half of Americans prefer online shopping to physically going to the store, and 96 percent of Americans with access to the internet have made an online purchase at least once. Moreover, e-commerce is experiencing a 23 percent year-over-year growth rate.
Product integration. For wholesalers or larger distributors, it won't be enough for ordering software to connect with online retail platforms. Ordering has to be a cog in the bigger supply chain machine, so that means either looking for more robust business management suites (such as enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, business intelligence or transportation management software) that include order management functionality, or finding stand-alone order entry systems that integrate with these established systems seamlessly.
Analysis and reporting. As your business grows, it will become increasingly important to track sales trends and analyze data. While this may not currently be a consideration for smaller organizations, it's important that you have the room to grow.