The A-Z of Order Management: Terms and Definitions You Need To Know

By Danny Lawson, E-commerce and Fulfilment Specialist
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A Z Order Management Dictionary

Implementing fulfilment technology is becoming a big part of e-commerce businesses’ fulfilment strategy. Whether you’re an online or multi-channel retailer, or a third-party fulfilment and logistics partner, cloud-based fulfilment technology can positively impact the efficiency of picking, packing and shipping orders – and in hand, improve customer and client experience.  

 

There are many features and terms to be aware of if you are considering implementing an automated WMS (Warehouse Management System) or OMS (Order Management System) or looking to upgrade your existing one.  

 

Mintsoft has compiled a comprehensive order management glossary with the words and functionalities to be aware of – or to simply learn more about:  

 

A - B - C - D - E -

 

A

 

Automated email alerts - When a customer places an order, you will receive an email notification of this information and it will also appear within your dashboard. This removes the need to constantly check for new orders coming in and reduces the risk of missing new orders.

 

ASNs - An Advanced Shipping Notification (ASN) is an inbound shipment or purchase order you have placed with your supplier. Creating ASNs allows warehouse operatives to keep track of expected deliveries coming in and makes it easier to book stock in as you can transfer it in based on expiry dates and batch/serial numbers. 

 

Alternate SKU mapping across channels - Sometimes it's not always possible to keep a uniform set of product codes (SKUs) across all channels, and this results in product import errors. An OMS can map different SKU codes across channels for the same product, allowing you to set up different SKU codes for eBay, Amazon and your own website for example. 

 

Add packing and packaging instructions to products - an automated fulfilment system will allow you to set up specific messages relating to the packing and packaging of an order. These will popup automatically at the point of despatch and can be done by either product specific (each product gets a specific message) or client specific (every order for this client will get the same message popup). 

 

Automatic release of batches/pickwaves - Sometimes you will need to hold an order until the receiving party is ready to receive the goods. For example, the order could be for specific booked for a specific delivery date with larger retailers etc. This feature is also helpful for:  

  • Fulfilling a particular customer demand 
  • Optimising transportation 
  • Fulfilling backorders to reduce delay in shipment 

 

Auto exchange option on return - straightforward returns are pivotal for both the customer, as well as the retailer or 3PL. If an exchange is wanted, many OMS will provide the option to add additional products to the order, change the quantity of items or change the delivery address. 

 

Audit of client activity against products and orders - when managing and viewing data for multiple clients it can be useful to view data for only a certain client, so this is a useful functionality to look out for when implementing or upgrading your OMS or WMS. 

  

B

 

Booking inventory in – many OMS’ will allow you to easily book stock in for ad-hoc adjustments into specific locations or warehouses. 

 

Batch creation - this feature allows grouping of multiple items of the same SKU, and assigning them a unique number known as a‘batch number’. This is useful for sellers who have products with expiry dates or who use FIFO (First In First Out) in their inventory flow. For example, pharmaceutical, food/beverages industry, and many more. 

 

Bulk order updates – applying similar actions to orders one by one can be a tedious task, but a bulk order updates function makes this process a lot easier. If you receive orders but they have no weight attached, for example, you may want to update these orders in bulk. 

 

Back-order rules - if you cannot fulfil a certain order, you can set up different default rules for dealing with out-of-stock backorders for each of your clients depending on their preference.  

 

Build a kit (BOM) - having advanced functionality to accommodate kitting is a desirable feature within automated fulfilment software. This feature allows specified components to be allocated immediately in bulk and is particularly useful for retailers who sell products of different colours, flavours, or varieties together as a kit – meal delivery kits for example.  

  

C

 

Couriers and multi-carriers API integrations - remove the complications of multiple deliveries via third-party services by using pre-built courier integrations. Check which courier platforms an OMS integrates with to ensure you can use this feature to streamline your shipping process. 

 

Cloud-based - opting for a cloud-based order management software solution means that you can use it anywhere, and at any time. Other benefits of cloud-based software include; cost saving, increased security, easier collaboration with other systems and a competitive edge. 

 

Customisable dashboard – a useful feature to look for when searching for automated fulfilment software a customisable dashboard which allows you to add, remove and toggle custom modules to the dashboard to get high level data overview. Each user can have a different dashboard on show. 

 

Client currency charging – being able to provide invoice data that can be displayed in the desired currency of your client helps to improve client management. Look for a feature that allows you to determine the currency that clients get billed in for fulfilment activity. 

 

Custom reports - cloud-based fulfilment software ensures you can create on-brand paperwork such as invoices, packing slips, picking lists and despatch emails in seconds to boost yours and your clients brand visibility by incorporating collateral such as company logos. 

 

D

 

Dropshipping capabilites – Many order management software solutions have the functionality to support a dropship model for online retailers by streamlining and automating the process for you. Whether you have a hybrid model, or rely 100% on dropshipping, an OMS can support by allowing you to set up lists of dropship products and suppliers to automatically split out products from orders you do not fulfil yourself. Set products up as dropship products to filter off of orders and automatically send an email to supplier for fulfilling of order 

 

Default pick locationsbeing able to define and bulk update default pick locations across multiple SKUs makes the fulfilment process a lot more efficient as it allows users to define locations for the system to automatically select for certain transfers, receipts, suggesting inventory placement, or warehouse replenishment.

 

E

 

E-commerce management - certain features of a cloud-based OMS will allow for enhanced e-commerce management – from reducing the risk of overselling items by helping to maintain accurate stock levels, through to integrating with other channels and platforms used to power your e-commerce business. 

 

Export order data – for multiple reasons, at some point you may need to export a comprehensive list of order data including full address and order items. A custom export format allows you to choose which fields you want to export in your report and what sequence the fields appear in your report, to then be uploaded to an alternative system. 

 

F

 

Financials – opting for an order management system with accountancy system integrations makes taking care of financials simple by allowing you to keep on top of your financial data from one easy-to-use platform. 

 

Fulfilment - efficient order fulfilment is key to your brand’s reputation, your company’s profits and your ability to retain clients and by automating all the tasks and processes associated with fulfilment, you’ll be able to perform a lot better. 

 

G

 

Goods in/goods out - goods in is the first step in the order fulfilment process and so it is pivotal to get this process right – using an automated software solution makes it easy to book stock into your warehouse. An OMS will also ensure stock levels are automatically synced across all your channels once an order has been placed, so you never need to worry about overselling an item again. 

 

H

 

High level overview – opting for an OMS with a customisable dashboard allows for high level data overview. Each user can have a different dashboard on show dependent on their role, allowing you to make sound, data-driven decisions that support your business. 

 

Highest point location type charging - this feature allows the system to automatically select the highest possible storage point for the charging period. For example, if a client’s storage period is weekly, the system will analyse which day the highest storage point was reached for that week for all types of locations and use this to bill for the week's storage to maximize the storage revenue charged for the client.  

 

I

 

Integrations - the ability to connect all your platforms and systems from one centralised platform using API integrations means that order management is made easy; no need to log into different platforms. Managing your orders from one centralised platform also means that accuracy and speed of orders will be enhanced – saving both time and money overall, so this is something to consider when looking into which software solution to implement. 

 

Inventory management - implementing an OMS or WMS ensures you're always in the know of what you're storing as well as where to find stock using automation to reduce time spent on manual tasks by monitoring stock availability in real time. 

 

IOSS channel mapping - the introduction of Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) enabled registration for VAT in a single EU state, therefore filing a single VAT return for all EU transactions up to the value of €150. The idea being it simplifies the process of accounting for VAT as you have a single VAT rate for the EU member state which all EU transactions can be calculated against. 

It’s worth opting for an OMS which supports international documentation and allows you to input IOSS numbers directly into your dashboard for the system to automatically sort and pass on to your courier of choice for ease when it comes to international shipping. 

 

Invoicing – ensuring that clients can easily access and view their invoices makes client management a lot easier - simply upload their monthly invoices onto the platform so that they can view or download it as a PDF format. You can also apply additional invoice charges to clients such as handling fees by applying ad-hoc charges where required against the client's monthly invoice. 

 

J

 

Job configuration – many fulfilment software solutions have certain features which allow jobs to be configured to automatically create batches based on a predefined template, at a specific schedule.

 

K

  

Kit building - Having advanced functionality to accommodate kitting is desirable in manufacturing software as it helps manufacturers control overhead costs and increases repeat sales. A kit of products, or sometimes known as a bill of materials (BOM), is the process of combining products together to create a bundled item. An OMS will build a kit out of specified components and allocate component stock immediately in bulk, as well as track the costs associated with the build of kits. 

 

L

 

Low stock alerts - with this feature, selected users can receive an automated notification when stock levels reach a set amount. Knowing what inventory is available is pivotal as low inventory will discourage customers from purchasing and could negatively impact your bottom line. 

 

Linked product rules - automatically add products to orders when certain conditions are met. This feature could be scenarios such as: 

  • Free gift with every eBay order over £50 
  • Free set of batteries when remote control toy is ordered 
  • Special box or packaging item added when fragile item ordered 
  • Leaflet given out with every order

 

M

 

Mobile barcode scanning - ensure optimum picking accuracy, book in your inbound deliveries and manage your warehouse inventory with stock transfers all directly from location using a software solution that offers a mobile barcode scanning module. 

 

Master carton barcodes - if you have cartons with a separate barcode to the individual unit of the product, you can set these up in your OM so that you can simply scan the carton barcode once instead of opening the carton to scan each unit individually. 

 

Merge orders - if you have two orders for the same customer that you want to combine and ship together, this is easy to achieve if you opt for an OMS with this specific functionality.  

 

Miscellaneous or ad-hoc charges – sometimes you’ll need to add miscellaneous charges to client invoices such as weekly pallet storage, labour charges or goods-in. This can easily be done via your system by adding additional invoice items. 

 

Multi-tote picking – this method is ideal for picking multi-item orders at the same time, in location order. The best way to do this is by having colour coded totes on the same trolley. Organising and naming the totes like this will make it much more efficient for the picker to identify which totes they need to place the items in. 

 

Marketplaces - if you are a multi-channel seller, you’ll know the admin burdens that come with selling on various marketplaces. However, implementing an OMS system with marketplace specific API integrations makes this process a lot easier, as you can see orders coming in and automatically sync inventory to ensure you never oversell products, or miss an order coming in. 

 

N

Non-conformance records - are created and used to record and track product-specific discrepancies and record follow-up activities and approvals where needed.

 

O

 

Order management - Order management is the process of order capturing, tracking, and fulfilling customer orders based on customer's specifications and delivering goods as promised at the time of sale. 

 

Open API - an OMS with open API functionality offers the ability to create personalised integrations to the systems and channels you use to run your e-commerce or fulfilment business. 

 

Omnichannel - many retailers will now use a combination of physical stores, online stores and websites to market and sell their products – known as omnichannel. An omnichannel approach is made much simpler when using an OMS as you can ensure your customer purchases are efficiently and effectively handled, delivered, or prepared for pick up.

 

P

 

Product warehouse allocation - if stock is available across multiple warehouses, you can assign a priority against each warehouse for stock allocation for efficient inventory management. 

 

Product bundles -  a product bundling strategy helps sellers move and sell slow-moving stock whilst increases the average basket size and helps businesses draw attention to their low-demand products without significant cuts in prices. 

Setting up bundles is a good way of managing inventory as the stock transactions get split down to the component product codes within the OMS, without having to manually transfer stock in and out of different codes. 

 

Picking costs – for straightforward invoicing, an OMS will support a range of different picking calculation methods allowing you to set costs against number of items picked. 

 

Process returns - the returns process can be complicated – and costly if not managed properly. Using an OMS can significantly improve the efficiency of the returns process; if the customer has returned the despatch note sent with the system - you can simply scan this barcode to return the order.  
If they have not returned the original despatch note, you can still search by order number, name and post code to log and complete the return. This will then automatically update your inventory.   

 

Pickwaves - picking by batch (also known as pick-waves) is the most efficient method of printing, picking and despatching large volumes of orders.  

With this method you can choose to filter and sort orders in NEW status to be processed in a variety of ways, such as by courier method, client, channel  and even by product. Using this method, you can also print courier labels in bulk, change courier in service and despatch orders in bulk instantly with minimal interaction. 

 

Q

Query management - Should a problem with an order arise, being able to communicate with clients and vice versa can often be tricky, especially when trying to work in real-time. Opting to invest in an order management system with querying system allows clients and warehouse staff the ability to quickly flag issues with orders, increasing accuracy by ensuring only the right orders go out the warehouse door at the right time. 

 

Quantity rules - there are several methods available to automatically calculate the number of parcel quantities in advance of packing for orders. For example:  

  •  Courier Parcel QTY - This method is based on the total order weight per courier service: 

e.g., total order weight = 60KG, Courier is Parcelforce = 2 parcels  

  • Units per Parcel - this is total units that can fit in a parcel per SKU 

e.g., a SKU has 4 units per parcel, 16 units on the order = 4 parcels 

  • Additional parcels per product - similar to above method, but the logic is slightly different in that it assumes the items with additional parcel quantities set can never be packed together with other SKUs. 

 

R 

 

Replenishment reporting – get automated updates when inventory levels fall below a minimum. In order to ensure that you always have stock in the picking locations, rather than picking from hard-to-reach bulk locations - you can run a replenishment action or report to transfer stock from bulk locations to pick locations where inventory is low in pick locations. 

 

Recurring billing items – Set up automated recurring billing charges to your clients such as account management, stock management - fixed room/area storage etc. These can be set up as daily, weekly or monthly charges, dependent on client’s needs. 

 

Reporting suite - run custom reports from multiple areas of your OMS to give accurate data. (i.e. kpis for pickers) using existing date fields. It is also possible to set up and schedule reports to be sent out to individual users of selected time of day, daily or weekly. 

 

S 

 

Stock movement management - view all stock transactions relating to a product in, or out (or even allocations if enabled) so you can keep track of inventory. Stock flow data reports can also be set up to view transactions relating to a product in, out or stock allocation. This can be scheduled and emailed to specific users. 

 

Subscription products - create subscription rules for products by simply entering the SKU that the system will receive as the subscription to apply rules against, and then the length and frequency of the subscription. 

 

Shipping management - an OMS offers a clever rule-based approach to shipping, meaning courier services can be automatically selected based on criteria you define. Set your system up to automatically select the fastest, safest, cheapest or greenest fulfilment options for your customer or client. 

 

Shopping carts - integrate with e-commerce channels such as shopping carts to streamline the process of handling orders, inventory management and accounting tasks from one centralised platform.  

 

T 

Transfer inventory - if you have multiple warehouses, you can use this feature to move stock to different locations within the same or different warehouse. For example, this is helpful to transfer stock from a low demand to high demand location or bulk transfer a group of items to avoid markdown.  

 

Third Party Logistics (3PL) – third party logistics is a company’s use of an outside organisation to handle its distribution, warehousing, and/or fulfillment services. An OMS or WMS has features that support 3PL management, giving users a complete overview of warehouses, inventory and courier relationships from one easy-to-use platform 

 

 

U 

 

User-friendly dashboard - opting for an OMS with a user-friendly dashboard and straightforward interface makes implementation and onboarding for your staff and clients a lot easier. Make sure you book in a demo to learn more about the platform, how it works, and the features offered when you are searching for your OMS. 

 

V 

 

Voice assisted picking commands – also referred to as pick by voice or voice-directed warehousing is a proven process for increasing efficiency and accuracy of as making errors is virtually impossible when picking items. Pickers are given verbal commands through a headset, directing them to specific products. 

 

W 

 

Warehouse management - A WMS (warehouse management system) is a category of application software that processes and manages information that supports warehouse operators and operations. Entities include orders, inventory, tasks, locations, status, and resources.  

 

Wireless printing picking options - set up wireless printing options on courier labels to save time and increase efficiency amongst warehouse staff; since the device is light and portable, workers can place the printer wherever they are needed. 

 

X 

 

X-border e-commerce - as a retailer, Cross-Border e-commerce is defined as selling goods from a website of a national store in another country to another party. An OMS can support the efficiency of a cross-border strategy by integrating with multiple marketplaces and couriers. You should also be able to use pre made templates for customs documents or upload your own custom templates into your platform.  

 

X-Channel Management - Cross-Channel or Multi-Channel Management is the tactic of selling a product on multiple online marketplaces at the same time. It diversifies the revenue source of a company and increases the reach of the customer base. 

 

 

Y 

 

YoY – easily check your YoY growth and business momentum with an easy-to-use data and insights dashboard, showing information such as orders received, orders depatched, orders by source and much more.  

 

Z 

 

Zero Inventories - a company that follows a zero-inventory approach will only hold the required items at hand that it expects to sell in a set period. The aim of zero inventory is to order the exact quantity that will be sold, and receipt goods into stock when they are needed, which saves warehouse space and wastage on products. An OMS can support this approach by offering automated and real-time updates to forecast inventory needs.  

 

Zone picking and consolidation - zone picking can be thought of as the warehouse picking version of an assembly line, in which parts of an order are picked in different zones by different workers. As an OMS or WMS gives a detailed overview of your warehouse(s) and inventory, it helps to streamline a zone picking approach.   

 

 

 

Unsure what to look for when choosing which Order Management System to opt for? Read our blog on How to choose the right order management system (OMS), or book in a demo with a member of the team to learn more about Mintsoft. 

 

 

  

  

  

  

 

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