Order entry is the process of recording a customer’s order into a company’s information system. The order entry process starts when a customer places an order for a product or service and ends when the order is fulfilled.
Typically, the order entry process includes the following steps:
- Order Placement: The customer places an order either online, over the phone, via email, or in person.
- Order Capture: The order details are recorded in the company’s order management or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. This usually includes the customer’s information, details of the ordered items, the quantity, the total price, and the desired delivery date and location.
- Order Confirmation: The customer receives a confirmation, usually via email, that the order has been received and is being processed.
- Order Fulfillment: The company processes the order, which can involve picking and packing in a warehouse for physical goods, or provisioning services in the case of intangible products.
- Order Shipping & Delivery: The order is shipped to the customer, or the service is delivered, and the delivery details are updated in the system.
- Order Completion: Once the customer receives the order, it’s marked as complete in the company’s system.
Proper order entry is crucial for maintaining accurate inventory, managing customer relationships, and ensuring efficient operations. Automation and integration of order entry with other business systems (such as inventory management, CRM, and accounting) can significantly enhance order accuracy and operational efficiency.
Example of Order Entry
Let’s take the example of an online bookstore to illustrate the process of order entry:
- Order Placement: A customer browses the bookstore’s website, selects a book they want to purchase, and completes the checkout process by providing their shipping information and payment details.
- Order Capture: The bookstore’s order management system captures all the details of the order, including the book title, price, quantity, customer’s name, shipping address, and payment method.
- Order Confirmation: An automatic email is sent to the customer confirming the order, including the order number and summary of the purchase.
- Order Fulfillment: The bookstore’s warehouse receives an alert to pull the ordered book from the shelf, package it for shipping, and update the inventory levels in the system to reflect that the book has been sold.
- Order Shipping & Delivery: The packaged book is handed over to a courier service, and the system is updated with the shipping information. The customer receives an email with the tracking information so they can follow the shipment.
- Order Completion: Once the courier service confirms the delivery of the package, the bookstore’s system automatically updates the order status to “complete”. The customer might also receive a final confirmation email or even a survey to rate their shopping experience.
This is a simplified example, and real-world systems can be much more complex, especially for larger businesses or businesses with unique logistical needs. However, it provides a general idea of how the order entry process works.