The Inventory Conundrum Part 1 –
The Facets of an Efficient OMS

True Global Inventory Visibility

The most vital aspect of an OMS is the near real time global inventory visibility. With ever increasing demand for the inventory from multi-various order capture channels viz., store, website, market places, call centre, phone apps etc… the need for every order capture channel to possess an up-to-date information of the available inventory across all sourcing nodes cannot be stressed enough.

A typical retailer has anywhere between 50 to 100 thousand items in his catalogue. And if we consider around 5 warehouses and 10 stores in a geographical location, a simple math will show you that there would be anywhere between half a million to one million inventory records that need to be constantly updated across all the order capturing channels.

In spite of all the powerful hardware and software at our disposal today, it is still a challenge to pass around such huge amount of inventory data to multiple order capturing  channels in near real time. It requires a very efficient micro-services based design to keep the order capture channels up to date of the current inventory picture.

An efficient and flexible sourcing rule engine

With orders flowing in from different channels for different fulfillment types like home delivery, pick up in store, pick up from locker locations and named day delivery, an efficient and configurable sourcing rule engine is another vital component of an OMS.

Based on all parameters passed on to the OMS by the order capturing channel viz., item type, quantity required, delivery date,  services like installation, personalisation etc.. The OMS should decide on the best location to source the items from.

In choosing the best location for sourcing the OMS should consider some or all of the following parameters

  • Location lead time for pick, pack and ship
  • Location calendar – working days and working hours
  • Location resource pool and capacity for the delivery services and provided services.
  • Carrier service lead time
  • Cost of fulfilment

Distributed Order management

Once an order is in the system, the OMS should be able to progress the order through various stages from creation to delivery based on configurable rules. The order management should deliver a superior customer experience keeping them informed of the status of the order at every stage. It should cater for partial fulfillment and multiple shipments.