F. Curtis Barry & Company Blog

How to Take Charge of Your Order Management System Project

IT projects often fail to be delivered on time and within budget. This is an old recurring theme for many system projects whether done internally or trying to implement a packaged order management system. A study conducted a while ago by Dynamic Markets Limited of 800 senior IT managers revealed:

  • 62% of the IT projects failed to meet their schedules
  • 49% experienced budget overruns
  • 47% experienced higher than expected maintenance costs
  • 41% failed to deliver the expected business value and return on investment (ROI)

Although this study is aged, it is consistent with other studies we see published about IT project management.

Why do order management system projects fail such a high percentage of time?

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Topics: order management system

Operational Assessment Shows Cost of an Error to Your Business

Many multichannel businesses are partners with marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, and big-box retailers like Sears, Walmart and the like.  With them, you’re not just processing orders, managing inventory and agreeing to performance standards.  Working with one of our clients recently in their call center’s support operations for their marketplaces, we focused our attention on the cost of an error.  

When was the last time you conducted an operational assessment to analyze the cost of various types of errors? Not just the number of times monthly or annually a particular error occurs, but what is the actual cost of that type of fulfillment error?  The types of errors I’m referring to are mis-picks, customers' lost packages by the carrier, packages damaged in transit, etc.  The best place to obviously capture these are in the call center and fulfillment center.  

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Topics: operational assessment

What's Your Inventory Turnover Ratio?

Often times we meet with multichannel companies that don’t have reporting that accurately reflects the inventory turnover ratio, or they debate how significant this KPI is, and the need to analyze turns. By taking a financial view of inventory turns, companies can manage the inventory asset even better, which in turn leads to stronger profitability. Larger retail and multichannel businesses manage turns tightly in order to remain competitive and drive profit margins. Companies must bear in mind that on the balance sheet, inventory is typically one of the largest assets.

By managing turns, multichannel businesses are able to benefit the overall business in many ways. These include the ability to:

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Topics: inventory turnover ratio

How to Apply Material Handling Solutions to Your Distribution Center


Most small to moderate operations have what we call conventional warehouse operations. They have applied limited material handling solutions and rely heavily on manual processes and manual labor to get product in and through the center and the customer orders out the door. So, it’s not uncommon for the owner or senior management to seek out how automation can be employed in their distribution center to improve efficiency, cut labor costs and reduce errors.  But there isn’t a silver bullet.  There isn’t a one size fits all solution to improving your distribution center with automation. Material handling solutions are a means to the end. Because of the capital expense you have to find the practical application that has a return on investment (ROI).

This article discusses a successful methodology for identifying where automation can be practically applied.  Then, we give examples of how other multichannel companies we have worked with in our operations & fulfillment consulting practice gained an ROI through automation.

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Topics: material handling solutions

How Does Your Cost of Shipping Compare?

There is always a lot to keep in mind when dealing with your company's freight contracts and shipping rates - both LTL/TL and small parcel. We feel like there is a need to keep a few points in mind when looking at your LTL/TL inbound freight rates and to continuously strive to make improvements. Below, we have introduced a few of those points. We have  briefly outlined the current freight market, listed a few cost saving opportunities and mentioned how you can get a confidential, no-charge freight rate audit to benchmark your current cost of shipping

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Topics: freight rate analysis

Selecting Order Management System that Best Fits Your Business

To replace your current Order Management System (OMS) or Warehouse Management System (WMS), there are a wide variety of choices.  Should you go with a specialized OMS, or would an enterprise-wide system such as an ERP system be the best choice?  

From a platform perspective, should you choose an on-premise license model or does it make more sense to use a Software as a Service (SaaS) or cloud-based model and pay as you go?  If you really like the functionality of your order management system, what options do you have to implement a best-of-breed standalone WMS? 

Here are 6 points to consider:

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Topics: order management system

Don't Count Out Big Retail in the Omnichannel Rise

Amazon opened its first brick and mortar campus store at Perdue University last week. It is also reportedly in talks with retailers like Radio Shack to give it a more omnichannel presence. One online publication declared this move would be “another nail in the coffin for malls.” Really? That’s a pretty big leap!

My bet is on big retail and big-box stores, not Amazon. Walmart, Macy’s and Kohl’s, to name a few, recognize that the new wave of omnichannel retailing is a “do or die” proposition. If you read retail companies’ annual reports, you get an inkling of how high they see the stakes, their investments in omnichannel retail and their use of social networking.

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Topics: Omnichannel Retail

Multiple DCs: Way to Reduce Cost of Shipping and Transit Times

Some days I feel we’re caught between the proverbial “rock and a hard place”.  Carriers regularly as bigstock-warehouse-worker-driver-in-uni-41792278clockwork increase their charges.  The competition is absorbing more of the cost of shipping, if not giving away “free shipping”.  The customers are expecting more from every business.  Customers have that point, click and deliver mentality.  It’s not going to end.  Consider hiring an advisor or consultant that has this experience to help you. The cost of shipping and the time to get the package to the customer affects many customer’s decisions to buy from your business.  As these trends continue, multiple distribution centers may be the only way to control and reduce these problems.

Everyone knows about Amazon’s commitment to DC investments with their facilities in every state.  Most major retailers and “big box” merchants are multi-DC too.  Yes, these companies are among America’s largest and best financed businesses.  However, in our consulting experience with site location studies, we have seen this strategy work for small to moderate sized companies too. This article discusses the factors to evaluate in making a multi-DC decision. 

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Topics: cost of shipping

The 2 Cent Refund Check - What's the Real Cost?

As God is my judge, this is a true story.  An example I challenge the reader to find in their business and eradicate.

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Topics: systems assessment, assessing your system

Operations Assessment: Getting Ready for Holiday 2015

You’ve barely finished shipping Fall and Holiday, but it’s time to assess your operations performance for 2014 and start planning for peak season 2015.  What are the objectives you and your management team have set for improving operations in 2015?  Here are 8 steps for determining what changes will most benefit your operation.  What are the second tier projects for 2016 consideration?

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Topics: operations assessment, warehouse consultants, fulfillment consultants