The Order Hub: Streamlining Your Supply Chain

By
Daniella Shtemberg
November 7, 2016

Keeping your sales data organized is one of the best ways to make your supply chain processes more efficient. Order hubs provide a portal through which you can compile, view, and edit your sales data. Now that a significant portion of orders—in some businesses, all orders—come from digital channels, an order hub serves as a central point for easy sales management.

The Modern Order Hub

So what is an order hub? It’s a centralized website where you can manage all data and tasks related to sales orders. Modern order hubs can receive all inbound orders while including order writing functionality, and they can allow you to review, modify, and confirm orders for immediate processing. In addition, orders can be exported directly to your ERP through the order hub interface. Order hubs provide a useful, affordable alternative to taking orders and managing data the old-fashioned way with time-consuming, paper-based sales order documentation. When you use manual methods, what could go wrong?

  • Wrong or outdated product information given to prospects during sales meetings.
  • Handwritten orders taken to company HQ before they are entered into the company ERP.
  • Handwritten orders containing incorrect or duplicate data, requiring rework and human data quality monitoring.
  • Customers waiting for people to share inventory and account data.
  • Lack of knowledge on whether there’s enough stock to fill immediate demand.
  • No clear data on what your customers want and why they buy what they do.

These and many other process glitches can be prevented by automating data flows through an order hub.   By automating formerly analog ordering tasks, manufacturers and distributors can eliminate lugging paper catalogs to meetings, rework caused by error-prone humans filling out forms, and time spent taking and updating orders. That translates into lower labor and operations costs, faster delivery, and more satisfied customers. Let’s delve deeper into what an order hub should do.

The Features of an Order Hub

Order hub—the name says it all. It’s a central location from which you can perform various functions related to the sales and ordering. These functions then connect to other software solutions, like mobile order writing tools and ERPs, for a seamless integration across different business processes.

Core Functionalities

Most order hubs can perform these key tasks.

  • Aggregation: An order hub’s main purpose is to aggregate orders from multiple channels. The interface should display these orders and any related data clearly.
  • Editing and Processing: Users can edit orders to make sure they’re accurate before processing them for fulfillment. Processing can be done in a single print, saving time and making delivery faster.

Higher-Level Functionalities from Integration

Sophisticated order hubs that are part of a platform integrate with other software solutions to provide these additional capacities for organizing your sales data.

  • Receiving orders from the field: If the sales and ordering platform includes a mobile app, its associated order hub will include those orders automatically through regular syncing.
  • Digital catalog management: By sending and receiving information to and from mobile order writing apps, eCommerce portals, and your ERP, an order hub can display inventory data in real time as well as customized pricing. Through the order hub, this data also be edited directly and mined for analytic purposes.
  • Customer database management: Customer data can be edited within the order hub and updated automatically within your ERP. New customers added through a mobile order writing app (which can happen during trade shows) will also be reflected throughout the sales and ordering platform. Customers can also be assigned to reps and regions.

The benefits of using an order hub are clear:

  • Faster shipments more satisfied customers.
  • Lower shipping and labor costs.
  • A better understanding of your customers and what they buy.

We would love to hear your order data management story in the comments below. If you have a problem that could be solved by an order hub, let us know.