Inventory, under order management, is one of the oldest and most basic cycles in commerce. In this article, we trace its humble beginnings and tackle the modern solutions that have transformed this classic business function to what it is today.
Early Trade Systems
In the early centuries, trade was much simpler. Whenever a buyer would need something, he meets up with a vendor at the marketplace, specifies what he wants, then trades in his goods, and that was that. But when merchants and international trade went in, it came with bulk orders and inventories needing to be written down on paper, which traveling middlemen would use for tracking future demand insights in sales forecasting.
Then came the currencies which called for accounting and a standardized computation of values for goods. The next disruption to hit the market after that, one with the largest impact still felt today, is mass production. Sales soared, businesses prospered, but the increase in demand meant that the inventory management systems are under fire.
Modern Inventory Management Systems
The 1930s saw the development of the first modern check-out system for business — using a punch card technology developed in 1889 by Herman Hollerith. It was too expensive for commercial businesses so it was quickly followed by the modern bar-code system which became the standard in 1974. This modern bar code was part of the Universal Product Code (UPC) effort to improve the inventory management systems. It started in the 60s by a group of retailers who were mostly grocers by trade.
However, the new demand for commerce has shifted away from the simple concept of suppliers meeting consumer product demands. Order management is no longer just concerned with inventory. Customer experience has stolen the spotlight. As the times continue to change, the entire business to consumer process is being challenged by the new platforms the virtual business world opens.
A Shift in Consumer Demands
You may have a great inventory management system in place but do you have enough buyers to sell them to? This is the question modern entrepreneurs face. As mass production eased the flow of trade, consumers now have the liberty of choosing from a wide range of brands offering the same services. Now that there is a surplus of products, businesses realize the need to position themselves in a way that would set them apart and make them more appealing, to their target customers. The internet has also opened a leeway that enables customers to directly interact with the business and share reviews with each other. Product reviews are now the new advertising strategy making consumer experience a top criteria on what makes something worth purchasing.
Digital shop windows now hold more weight than physical stores as the global economy continues to connect businesses to consumers worldwide. Issues in order management, including inventory data, may come from something as simple as a website glitch. Delivery and customer service is also made more transparent as more avenues of communication are opened. Thus, network threats may pose a problem. A loss of connectivity may mean a loss of customer connection. Warehouses are also growing more dispersed and complexities in shipping may threaten the efficiency of delivery.
Seamless Order Management for World Class Customer Service
It is obvious that the need to resolve bumps in the workflow is inevitable. A dedicated team should be at hand for quick-response and adept handling of affected customers. In accommodating the demands of non-core but essential tasks, businesses have started outsourcing third parties for their revenue systems and customer services. This helps them focus on developing their own products and leave the logistics to specialists.
Anderson Group BPO Inc. offers order management customer services for businesses looking to restructure and optimize their workflows cost-effectively. We could help you support your customers through inbound calls, outbound calls, email, chat, and social media management. Our skilled team can also help you keep your operations flawless with data entry, data cleansing, data analysis, and market research.
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Business Development Manager
Anderson Group BPO, Inc.
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