B2B retail is expected to generate some $1.1 trillion in 2021, but the costs of B2B order mismanagement are also high, with issues like inventory distortion costing brands some $800bn each year, according to Retail Insights.
Tightening your B2B order management strategy is imperative to maintain smooth sales flow and inventory management.
Small issues can quickly grow into big ones if they’re not actively managed and prevented!
B2B Order Management: The Challenges
B2B orders can be colossal in volume and high in value, especially where bulk orders are concerned.
This creates multiple order management challenges relating to:
- Product Inventory: Dealing with large orders and meeting demands for fulfilment.
- Customisation: Meeting requests for custom and bespoke orders.
- Restocking: Restocking after large orders have been made to avoid delays in future orders.
- Delivery: Ensuring that orders are shipped and received on time.
- Customer Service: Dealing with customer service issues and requests.
- Accounting and Logging: Recording sales in the order management system for accounting and business intelligence purposes.
B2B Order Management: The Solutions
As always, every problem has a solution!
Here are 4 solutions to some of these common B2B order management problems:
1. Build Scalable Order Management Software
Order management software (OMS) is vital for organising, managing and analysing orders from multiple channels and sources.
There are two main options; SaaS order management systems and on-premises or custom order management systems.
SaaS solutions such as BigCommerce allow businesses to scale their OMS with their sales volume. These outsourced platforms come with powerful features for organising B2B orders, acting as a centralised database that covers everything from inventory management to fulfilment.
On-premises or customised OMS systems are held and maintained by the business itself, and thus aren’t outsourced to a separate platform. This option may yield greater flexibility in terms of customisation and purpose-built features that could be essential for enterprise-level businesses.
Make sure that your OMS is cut out for your business; everything from logistics and inventory to sales management, customer relationship management (CRM), fulfilment, delivery and supplier management can be covered by the same OMS.
2. Get Customer Service Right
Customer service isn’t just crucial for B2C retail. Nailing your customer service efforts will help you retain B2B clients, proving your high standards for repeat business.
Keeping customers in the loop at all times is important, especially regarding unforeseen issues or problems with fulfilment. Assign each client a customer service agent or assistant, making sure that each client’s unique profile and needs are fully understood.
Provide each client with prompt order updates and tracking facilities.
3. Explore Fulfilment Options
From dropshipping to third-party logistics (3PL), there are many options when it comes to fulfilling B2B orders.
75% of shippers concur that 3PL services reduce costs and 86% state that 3PL improves customer service. 3PL providers are specialists at what they do and often beat traditional in-house shipping methods.
You’ll also have to make decisions about where you keep your stock, especially if you’re serving customers worldwide. Relocating your warehousing closer to your main clients could result in much faster service.
Explore warehousing and fulfilment options, adapting your supply line to provide optimal service. Always balance cost-effectiveness with quality - there’s no point in cutting costs where quality and speed is compromised.
4. Secure Your Financial Management
Financial management is intrinsic to sales, inventory and supply chain management. Securing your accounting efforts prevents bottlenecking, cash flow mismanagement and restocking issues.
Tightening your grip on your accounts helps you avoid inventory distortion and other supply chain issues. Buy stock when you really need it, not before or after. Ensure that cash flows tally with order volume to avoid supply deficits at crucial times of the month or year.
Managing supply chains means managing cash flow. By outsourcing your B2B accounting duties, you can concentrate on making sales and pleasing customers.
Accountancy Cloud for B2B eCommerce
Accountancy Cloud’s finance stack for eCommerce integrates into your inventory management data or OMS. Synchronise your cash flow with your sales flow to maximise revenue and drive ROI.
We provide a suite of intelligent accounting services that are fully equipped for the rigours of the B2B landscape. You can also find out who we help here and read some of our case studies and success stories here.Get in touch and learn how we can help your B2B business today.
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