How Does the Order Management System Work?

May 25, 202314 minute read

In the dynamic and rapidly evolving landscape of modern business, the efficacy of order management systems (OMS) cannot be overstated. These systems play a pivotal role in facilitating the smooth and efficient processing and fulfillment of orders. Whether it's a burgeoning e-commerce startup or a sprawling enterprise, organizations across diverse sectors rely heavily on OMS to streamline their operations and elevate customer satisfaction to new heights. This blog post offers a comprehensive insight into the inner workings of order management systems and sheds light on their profound significance in contemporary business operations. Don’t miss out on this one if you are an e-commerce business owner or about to be one.

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What is an Order Management System?

In the fast-paced world of modern commerce, order management systems (OMS) have emerged as indispensable tools for businesses. An order management system is a software solution that enables organizations to efficiently process and fulfill customer orders from start to finish. It serves as the central hub where orders are received, tracked, and managed, ensuring a seamless flow of information and activities across various departments.

Role of an Order Management System:

The primary role of an order management system is to streamline and automate the order processing and fulfillment workflow. By consolidating and orchestrating diverse processes, an OMS eliminates manual inefficiencies and reduces the risk of errors, ultimately enhancing customer satisfaction. It acts as the backbone of operations, enabling businesses to handle large order volumes, optimize inventory, and meet delivery commitments.

Key Features and Components:

Order management systems encompass a range of features and components designed to support the end-to-end order lifecycle. Let's explore some of the key elements commonly found in an OMS:

  • Order Entry: This feature allows businesses to capture and record order details, including customer information, product selection, quantities, and any special instructions. It serves as the starting point for order processing and initiates subsequent actions within the system.
  • Inventory Management: Effective inventory management lies at the core of order management systems. An OMS provides real-time visibility into available stock levels, facilitating accurate order fulfillment and preventing overselling. It helps businesses optimize inventory across multiple locations, reducing holding costs and ensuring adequate stock availability.
  • Order Tracking and Status Updates: Order management systems enable businesses to track the progress of orders throughout the fulfillment cycle. Customers can receive updates on their orders, including shipping notifications, expected delivery dates, and any changes to the order status. This transparency enhances customer satisfaction and reduces support inquiries.
  • Integration with Other Systems: An OMS integrates with various business systems, such as e-commerce platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) software, and logistics providers. This integration enables seamless data exchange, ensuring consistency across systems and minimizing manual data entry. It enables businesses to streamline operations, improve data accuracy, and enhance overall efficiency.
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How Does an Order Management System Work? – A Typical Order Processing Workflow:

Within an order management system, the order processing workflow encompasses several stages, each serving a specific purpose in efficiently fulfilling customer orders. Let's explore the typical steps involved:

1. Order Creation:

The process begins with the creation of a new order. When a customer submits an order, whether, through an online platform, a sales representative, or any other channel, the order management system captures the relevant details. This includes customer information, items ordered, quantities, and any special instructions.

2. Order Validation:

After order creation, the system proceeds to validate the order. This involves verifying the accuracy and completeness of the order details. The order management system checks for errors, such as incorrect customer information, unavailable items, or missing data. If any discrepancies are detected, appropriate actions are taken, such as notifying the customer or prompting corrections.

3. Payment Processing:

Once the order is validated, the system initiates the payment processing phase. Depending on the payment method selected by the customer, the order management system interfaces with the payment gateway or financial institutions to authorize and process the payment. This step ensures that the customer's payment is securely processed, and the order can proceed to the next stage.

4. Inventory Allocation:

With the payment confirmed, the order management system proceeds to allocate inventory for the ordered items. It checks the available stock across warehouses or fulfillment centers to ensure that the required items are in stock. In case of insufficient stock, the system may trigger alerts, backorder the items, or suggest alternative options to the customer.

5. Order Fulfillment:

Once inventory is allocated, the order management system initiates the fulfillment process. It communicates with the warehouse or fulfillment team, providing them with the necessary order details, item locations, and any additional instructions. The warehouse team picks, packs, and prepares the order for shipping, ensuring accuracy and timely processing.

6. Shipping Preparation:

After order fulfillment, the system generates shipping labels and communicates with shipping carriers or logistics partners. It arranges for the pickup or drop-off of the packages and provides tracking information to the customer. This allows customers to monitor the progress of their orders and receive timely updates regarding the shipment status.

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Integration of Order Management System with Other Systems:

Order management systems (OMS) do not operate in isolation. They rely on seamless integration with various other business systems to optimize operations and deliver exceptional customer experiences. Let's explore the importance of integration and the benefits it brings to order management:

Importance of Integration:

  1. E-commerce Platforms: Integration with e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce, is crucial for order management. It allows the order management system to automatically receive and process orders placed through the online storefront. By seamlessly connecting the OMS with the e-commerce platform, businesses can eliminate manual data entry, reduce errors, and ensure a unified view of all orders.
  2. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software: Integration between the order management system and CRM software enables a holistic view of customer interactions and order history. This integration allows businesses to provide personalized experiences, track customer preferences, and offer tailored promotions or recommendations. It also facilitates effective customer support by empowering service representatives with comprehensive order information.
  3. Logistics Providers: Integration with logistics providers, such as UPS, FedEx, or DHL, ensures smooth coordination of shipping and delivery processes. The order management system communicates shipping details, generates shipping labels, and tracks packages in real-time. This integration provides accurate shipping costs, and delivery estimates, and enables customers to track their orders effortlessly.

Benefits of Data Synchronization and Real-Time Updates:

  1. Efficiency and Accuracy: Integration between systems enables seamless data synchronization and eliminates manual data entry. Orders, inventory levels, and customer information are automatically shared between systems, reducing errors and saving time. Real-time updates ensure that all stakeholders have access to the most up-to-date information, allowing for efficient decision-making and order fulfillment.
  2. Inventory Management: Integration with inventory management systems provides real-time visibility into stock levels. When an order is placed, the order management system can instantly verify the availability of items and allocate inventory accordingly. This prevents overselling, backorders, and improves inventory accuracy, leading to improved customer satisfaction and reduced operational costs.
  3. Order Tracking and Customer Communication: Integration with shipping and tracking systems enables real-time updates on order status, tracking numbers, and delivery notifications. Customers can receive automated emails or SMS alerts about their order's progress, enhancing transparency and reducing customer inquiries. Real-time updates also allow businesses to proactively address any delays or issues, further improving customer satisfaction.

Inventory Management and Fulfillment with Order Management System:

An order management system (OMS) plays a crucial role in effective inventory management and fulfillment processes. It empowers businesses to optimize their stock levels, efficiently manage warehouses, and ensure accurate and timely order fulfillment. Here are some of the key aspects of inventory management and fulfillment within an OMS:

Facilitating Inventory Management:

An OMS serves as a central hub for inventory-related activities. It provides businesses with real-time visibility into their stock levels across multiple locations, enabling accurate inventory management and optimization. Here's how an OMS facilitates effective inventory management:

  1. Tracking Stock Levels: The order management system continuously monitors stock levels, updating inventory information in real time. It tracks the quantity available for each product, including variations such as size or color, and alerts businesses when the stock reaches predefined thresholds.
  2. Warehouse Management: The OMS helps manage warehouses by optimizing their layout, organizing products, and assigning storage locations. It provides insights into stock movement patterns, allowing businesses to make informed decisions about warehouse space utilization, picking strategies, and stock replenishment.
  3. Accurate Order Fulfillment: By integrating with inventory data, an OMS ensures accurate order fulfillment. It verifies product availability during the order processing stage, preventing overselling and backorders. The system allocates inventory based on availability and updates stock levels accordingly, minimizing errors and improving customer satisfaction.

Inventory Optimization Techniques:

Order management systems offer various techniques to optimize inventory levels and improve overall efficiency. Some commonly used techniques include:

  1. Safety Stock Management: An OMS helps businesses determine and maintain appropriate safety stock levels. Safety stock acts as a buffer to address unexpected fluctuations in demand or supply chain disruptions, reducing the risk of stockouts.
  2. Demand Forecasting: By analyzing historical data and market trends, an OMS assists in demand forecasting. It helps businesses anticipate customer demand, plan inventory levels, and optimize stock replenishment cycles.
  3. Just-in-Time (JIT) Inventory: An OMS facilitates JIT inventory management by aligning inventory levels with anticipated demand. It allows businesses to minimize holding costs and optimize cash flow while ensuring products are available when needed.

Benefits of Real-Time Inventory Visibility:

Real-time inventory visibility is a significant advantage provided by order management systems. It offers several benefits, including:

  1. Improved Order Accuracy: Real-time inventory visibility ensures accurate order fulfillment. Businesses can allocate inventory based on real-time stock levels, reducing the likelihood of overselling or shipping incorrect items.
  2. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Real-time inventory updates allow businesses to provide accurate product availability information to customers. This transparency enables customers to make informed purchase decisions, leading to increased satisfaction and a better overall shopping experience.
  3. Optimized Replenishment: By having real-time insights into stock levels, businesses can proactively manage stock replenishment. They can identify low stock situations, trigger purchase orders, and maintain optimal inventory levels, minimizing stockouts and improving supply chain efficiency. An order management system empowers businesses to streamline inventory management, optimize fulfillment processes, and enhance overall operational efficiency.
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How To Purchase an Order Management System?

Implementing an order management system (OMS) can greatly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your business operations. When considering the purchase of an OMS, it's important to carefully evaluate your requirements and select a system that best aligns with your business needs. Here are key considerations and steps to help guide you through the purchasing process:

1. Assess Your Business Needs:

Before beginning the search for an OMS, conduct a thorough assessment of your business requirements. Consider factors such as the size of your business, order volume, the complexity of your product catalog, integration needs with existing systems, and future growth projections. Understanding your specific needs will help you identify the features and functionalities required in an OMS.

2. Research and Evaluate OMS Providers:

Conduct thorough research to identify reputable OMS providers in the market. Consider factors such as industry experience, customer reviews, system reliability, scalability, and support services. Create a shortlist of potential vendors that meet your criteria.

3. Define Your Budget:

Determine your budget for purchasing and implementing an OMS. Consider both upfront costs, such as licensing fees and implementation costs, as well as ongoing expenses like maintenance and support fees. It's important to strike a balance between cost and the value the system can deliver to your business.

4. Request Demos and Evaluate Functionality:

Contact the shortlisted OMS providers and request product demonstrations. During the demos, pay close attention to the system's features, user interface, ease of use, customization options, reporting capabilities, and integration capabilities with your existing systems. Evaluate how well the OMS can address your specific business needs and improve your order management processes.

5. Check References and Customer Support:

Ask the OMS providers for references from existing clients in similar industries. Reach out to these references and inquire about their experiences with the system, implementation process, and ongoing support. Assess the responsiveness and effectiveness of the vendor's customer support, as it will be crucial in case of any issues or questions that may arise.

6. Consider Implementation and Integration:

Evaluate the implementation process and timeline for the selected OMS. Discuss with the vendor the steps involved, potential challenges, and their expertise in handling integrations with other systems, such as your e-commerce platform or CRM software. Smooth integration is essential for seamless data flow and optimized order management.

7. Review Contracts and Terms:

Carefully review the vendor's contract, licensing terms, and service-level agreements (SLAs). Ensure that the terms align with your expectations and that there are clear provisions for ongoing support, upgrades, and system maintenance. Seek legal advice if necessary to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the contract terms.

8. Make a Decision and Implement:

Based on your evaluations and considerations, make an informed decision and select the OMS provider that best meets your business needs. Work closely with the vendor to plan and execute the implementation process, ensuring proper training and data migration. Regularly communicate with your team and the vendor throughout the implementation to address any challenges and ensure a successful transition.

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Order management systems (OMS) play a crucial role in businesses seeking to streamline the processing of orders, enhance inventory management, and improve fulfillment operations. These systems integrate with various other platforms and leverage real-time inventory visibility, enabling businesses to attain operational excellence and provide exceptional customer experiences. OMS empowers businesses by allowing them to optimize stock levels, minimize errors, and ensure precise and prompt order fulfillment. Embracing the potential of OMS is pivotal for enterprises aiming to remain competitive in today's dynamic and rapidly evolving market.

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