Dealing with Duplicate Orders in Your ERP Solution?

This week I was contacted by a company with major issues and concerns over duplicate order entries.

Like most distributors, they receive orders via EDI, telephone, fax and e-mail. In some cases, they receive orders from various departments within the same customer.  Unfortunately, it was often the case that the same order would be submitted through multiple channels and each would be captured as a distinct, new order.  When this issue was discussed with the affected customers, their response was as expected:

“Can’t your system identify them as duplicate orders? Should it not be part of the service that you provide us?“.

There was a point in my career when I would have disagreed, but, times have changed and expectations for systems intelligence has evolved. As the vendor, I should be aware of the orders I am receiving and at the very least raise a flag for orders that I identify as potential duplicate orders.  We’re partners, right?  Collaboration and customer service is a fundamental requirement of being a successful distribution partner.  When you get right down to it, these duplicate orders are MY problem, not the customer’s.  They are not going to purchase the order twice just because our system was unable to differentiate between duplicate orders.

duplicate orders through multi-channel processing

This company admitted that the situation has escalated to the point that they are checking every order manually for possible duplicates. Of course, this causes serious delays in the order entry process. Confirmation back to the customer takes longer and even with the extra effort, they are still missing too many.

Is this just a customer service faux pas, or is it even more than that?  The fact is that margins will drop for every duplicate order!  Let’s begin by understanding the harmful effects of duplicate orders.

Consider the effects of each duplicate order received:

False demand

  • Effects on forecasting
  • Procurement
  • Vendors

Potential shortages of inventory

  • Unplanned shipments/requirements
  • Customer shortages for real requirements
  • Expediting
  • Increased costs

Return merchandise

  • Inventory overage
  • Costs of returning and restocking
  • Labor requirements
  • Transportation costs

Discounted sales to avoid returned merchandise

Cost of Goods sold

  • Two sales, one order invoiced

Confused planning requirements

  • Nervous planning system

Loss of revenue!

  • Return process
  • Inspection (Scrap/Re-stock)
  • Return to stocking location

Discard original packaging

Multiple handling

It adds up, right?  One duplicate order sets off a chain of unnecessary processing and a loss of customer confidence.  Hundreds or thousands of duplicate orders can make a serious dent in margins.

So why continue living with duplicate orders?

The right software solution can eliminate the duplicate order entry fiasco with little or no human interaction. Manually checking every order by hand or even using a search function in a software solution during the order entry process is not an acceptable answer.

The order entry process needs to be fast, accurate and reliable. This does not apply strictly to availability and price.  The system needs to be able to identify potential duplicate orders based on established rules and provide that information during the order entry process at the line item level.

AXIO Distribution for Dynamics 365 Operations

AXIO Distribution for Dynamics 365 Operations addresses the points I listed above.   Implementation templates allow customers to easily incorporate best practices and proven business process rules that deliver:

  • Workflows for fast and accurate decision making and approvals
  • Automated alerts built on your rules and applied across the business
  • A System that is totally traceable and auditable as you identify issues and apply solutions
  • Pricing that is always correct based on the agreements in place and the expected and planned margins
  • Duplicate order rules based solution to avoid duplicate orders
  • Return Merchandise Authorization process connected to inventory, quality process and finance
  • Rules based workflow and alerts during order entry process
  • Forecasting solution for MRP or DRP

AXIO Distribution for Dynamics 365 Operations is built by industry experts that recognize the real needs that arise from managing operations where “on the spot” decisions can make or break success.  In this case, success is defined as maintaining highest levels of customer service while meeting planned margins for profitability.

Dominic Telaro CFPIM, CIRM
Vice President Industry Solutions, SBS Group

Dominic Telaro brings over 35 years of Manufacturing, Distribution, Software and Dominic Telaro 001 IBIS DT 110113Consulting experience. Half of his professional career has been in Manufacturing and Distribution from shop floor and warehousing positions to management. During this time he implemented ERP, DRP and Logistics solutions as internal Project Leader. The second half of his career has been in consulting, product management, product development and both consulting and software sales. He has held positions as VP Of Industry Solutions, VP of Product Development, VP of Sales and Marketing and Global Practice Leader for companies like IBIS Inc., IBM, Janis Group, Metamor, Marcam Corp. and more. Presently he is responsible for Industry Product Vision for multiple ERP solutions at SBS Group USA.

APICS Fellow and Certified in Integrated Resource Management, Instructor at Universite de Montreal, Vanier College and Granby CEGEP for APICS certification; Lead instructor for internal APICS training at Bell Helicopter, Avon, Le Groupe Hamelin


Watch how you can use color coding in advanced order management to better track orders and provide customers with real-time status updates!

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