Redefining customer experiences in order management

Lessons learned from early efforts to respond to customer disruption

Jim Heatherington

Jim Heatherington

Director, Advisory, Supply Chain Solutions, KPMG LLP


Over the past few years, it’s become increasingly clear that companies in both B2B and B2C spaces are utilizing advanced Order Management Systems (OMS) to improve the overall customer experience. No argument there. Even in complex B2B industries that don’t mirror the retail experience of Amazon, customers expect Amazon-like ease and visibility. This is not a COVID issue, it is not temporary, and it will impact competitive positions in your industry for years to come.

Even as companies marshal resources to respond, create a case for change, and enact a digital roadmap across the Order Management function, there are three persistent missteps they should take care to avoid:

  • Putting a hyperfocus on features: It is a mistake to put too heavy a focus on available features at the expense of the overall customer experience. This is especially true with solutions that have scaled over years. Companies assess feature availability without asking, “How easy is the entire event?” This last question trumps all other analysis. If a feature isn’t simple, users ignore it.
  • Instituting rules without sufficient process discipline: Many companies are working to automate fulfillment, provide customers with visibility and accurate delivery dates, while minimizing their own manual work and associated human error. These are all good goals, but their full value can only be realized if there are robust rules in place that apply to order management processes across channels. Further, leveraging an automated order orchestration solution requires careful consideration of a variety of potential supply chain impacts so operational inefficiencies and excessive overrides can be avoided.
  • Communicating inaccurate information: Nothing irritates a customer more than wrong answers to “Where’s my stuff?” Strengthening promise dates and leveraging network inventory are achievable goals—but completely depend on accurate and reliable data. Operations data including sourcing rules, lead times, Available-to-Promise (ATP), and order-promising time fences all require accountable roles and defined processes for maintaining and enriching this data to support the customer.

There is good news. In our work with clients, we are seeing many industry leaders successfully tackle these challenges and strengthen their brand promise to the customer. If you’d like to discuss opportunities to enhance your approach or simply share your own experiences, please feel free to reach out.