Media Brief: Solving Complex Multi-Channel Order Management

Integrated, Cross-channel Selling Helps Ensure Retailers Don’t Miss Out on a Sale

ATLANTA and NEW YORK (January 15, 2007) –

In a matter of a decade, retail has come to mean anything from boutiques to outlets to Web sites and catalogs. As customers have ceased relying exclusively on brick-and-mortar stores for their shopping needs, successful customer interaction has become increasingly complex. A customer may shop one channel and purchase from another or research online before buying from a store. It is imperative that some solution for supporting integrated, cross-channel selling exists in to ensure retailers capture a sale that otherwise might not occur.

Many companies face the dilemma of having traditional order management systems that are not up to the task of fulfilling orders through the mixed modes of modern retailing. They operate order management and inventory tracking systems to deal with each new channel. Upgrading existing systems, buying new ones, increasing inventories or building more regional warehouse facilities — all for separate channels — are tactics that may support sales’ higher volumes for a time, but they are not effective or cost-efficient in the long run. Controlling inventory, shipping on time and handling a diverse customer base are difficult when using discrete systems for different retail channels and can create unanticipated supply chain bottlenecks, late shipments and customer complaints.

Manhattan Associates’ Distributed Order Management solution allows managers to combine existing inventory systems and coordinate multiple retail channels by sourcing products from warehouses throughout the world. We provide system-wide inventory visibility, sourcing, allocation and delivery scheduling at each stage of the fulfillment process in real time. Distributed Order Management can aggregate orders as they are placed, evaluate global inventory and match demand to supply. We provide precise understanding of product demand and backlog for all markets–not just single channels.

Distributed order management can build on traditional inventory systems to determine the fastest and most efficient ways of shipping a particular order. In such a case, a company’s warehouse management solution, which manages the supply side of the equation, can link to an equally sophisticated instrument on the demand side. This allows companies to manage diverse channels while orchestrating higher service levels.

Distributed order management offers companies a global view of inventory and an equally broad view of the pathways customers use. Such a solution considers the fact that different channels demand different levels of service–some need product faster, some are less time-sensitive.

Tightly focusing the supply chain on the final transaction should be the goal of every effective retail operation. Distributed order management solutions allow managers to optimize supply and demand without building yet another inventory system. When used effectively, distributed order management becomes the “nervous system” of the multi-channel fulfillment process.

Ultimately, all customer channels–stores, e-commerce, catalogs and call centers–must be a fully integrated order and distribution loop with coordinated inventory management, instantaneous communication and rapid response to spikes in demand. While few companies can take on such a monumental project all at once, distributed order management offers a cost-effective alternative that delivers many of the benefits.

Order fulfillment execution will always be the gold standard by which successful companies are measured. Distributed order management can help them get there and stay there–whatever new channels come along.
About Manhattan Associates, Inc.

Manhattan Associates is a leading supply chain solutions provider. The company’s supply chain planning, supply chain execution, business intelligence and business process platform capabilities enable its more than 1200 customers worldwide to enhance profitability, performance and competitive advantage. For more information, please visit

Source: Manhattan Associates