How Order Management Systems drive efficiency & sustainability in supply chains
Businesses today must take a growing interest in addressing environmental concerns around how they operate. Optimising the supply chain has become paramount to ensure businesses can meet regulatory requirements, as well as customer and employee expectations. Advanced technologies have emerged to help businesses transform their supply chains and make significant strides toward sustainability, including the Order Management System (OMS).
In this article, we’ll explore why the OMS is a must-have for enhancing both efficiency and sustainability in the supply chain.
The supply chain landscape: challenges & opportunities
The modern supply chain is a complex and multifaceted ecosystem, where efficiency, agility and sustainability must coexist on a global scale. Businesses source materials and sell products from and to various regions, and consumers expect a seamless flow of goods from production to delivery.
The need to meet customer expectations can introduce inefficiencies and increase operational risks. As well as increased product availability and faster delivery, consumers increasingly demand transparency, sustainability and ethical practices from the brands they buy from.
With businesses under pressure to reduce their environmental footprint, minimise waste and adopt eco-friendly practices, sustainability has moved to the forefront of supply chain considerations.
To address the issue of waste, organisations must effectively balance inventory levels to reduce residual stock. An Order Management System (OMS) centralises inventory management and order fulfilment, providing real-time stock visibility and data accuracy throughout the supply chain, which helps businesses to optimise inventory levels, order fulfilment and stock flow to minimise waste.
An OMS also enables businesses to meet and exceed customer delivery expectations. Effective order routing through an OMS can reduce the distance an order needs to travel from a stock point to a customer, resulting in lower carbon emissions, faster fulfilment times and improved customer experiences.
Finally, intelligent order orchestration allows businesses to optimise fulfilment routes to reduce energy consumption, prioritise eco-friendly shipping options and reduce their carbon footprint. These practices align with the growing demand for sustainable supply chains.
A spotlight on sustainable e-commerce practices
Sustainability is no longer a trend but an expectation, and merchants need to respond with improvements in the following areas:
- Eco-friendly delivery: Customers look for eco-friendly and carbon-neutral delivery services to reduce the environmental impact of their purchases.
- Responsible returns: Customers seek sustainable solutions for returns, such as consolidated returns to minimise packaging waste and transportation emissions.
- Second-hand integration: Customers appreciate being able to place pre-loved or rental orders at the same time as brand new product purchases to benefit from more sustainable offerings.
- Waste reduction: Businesses are expected to reduce waste throughout the supply chain, with particular appreciation for ‘zero waste’ packaging and recycling initiatives.
Inspiring sustainability initiatives from omnichannel retailers
Many retailers have already embarked on their journey to create more sustainable supply chains with these inspiring omnichannel initiatives:
- BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store): Retailers have embraced the BOPIS (or Click and Collect) model, not only for its convenience but also for its sustainability benefits. By allowing customers to pick up their online orders at physical stores, the need for individual home deliveries is reduced. This cuts down on last-mile emissions while enhancing efficiency by using existing store infrastructure.
- Circular economy practices: Several retailers are now encouraging their customers to return used products for refurbishment, repair, or recycling in an effort to reduce waste and resource consumption. In fashion, for instance, unwanted garments are collected, rejuvenated and resold alongside new products, extending the lifespan of products and minimising textile waste.
- Eco-friendly packaging: Retailers are opting for innovative, eco-friendly packaging materials that are not only recyclable or compostable but also minimise waste. Some offer “no frills” packaging options for customers who prioritise sustainability over extravagant packaging.
- Carbon-neutral delivery: Carbon-neutral delivery services ensure that the emissions associated with product delivery are offset, contributing to a greener supply chain while meeting customer demand for eco-conscious shipping options.
- Green store concepts: Some retailers are taking sustainability to the next level by redesigning their stores to incorporate energy-efficient lighting, renewable energy sources and sustainable building materials, reducing their environmental impact.
- Consumer education: Retailers are also playing a crucial role in educating customers about sustainable choices. They provide information on product sustainability, recycling options and tips for eco-friendly living, empowering customers to make informed decisions.
The retail sector is undergoing a significant transformation where efficiency and sustainability are no longer mutually exclusive. Order Management Systems like OneStock are strategic partners in enabling retailers to streamline operations, optimise inventory and promote more sustainable choices.
As retailers continue to innovate and embrace sustainability throughout their supply chains, they are not only meeting the demands of conscious customers but also setting the standard for a greener and more responsible future for the retail industry.