We’re living through a year like no other. Products we used to take for granted have become more difficult to obtain. Tasks we considered simple have become a little more complex. And projects that were already tricky to successfully manage have become infinitely more so. We can slot order management into that last category.
Order management has always been challenging, especially at the enterprise level. This is because the various roles and locations across an enterprise might all require different devices, assets, circuits, and technologies. The process of ordering these resources is labor-intensive and prone to human error. It requires coordination and communication at many levels, both internally and with vendors. And tracking such a volume of orders and returns is often chaotic.
And that’s during a normal year. This year’s COVID-19 public health crisis is creating new challenges for the order management process, including:
Supply chain slowdowns
Device manufacturing facilities around the globe incurred shutdowns this year due to workers falling ill or to follow government orders. This reduced availability of some devices has created pent-up demand that not every manufacturer has been able to satisfy yet. With global electronics output expected to grow by just .2% in the first half of 2021, the supply chain slowdown will linger for an increased period of time.
Impacts on the supply chain and fulfillment processes trickled down, causing shipping delays. With air cargo fleets grounded, airfreight capacity shortages for overseas goods like mobile phones caused major disruptions. Even the U.S. postal service experienced slowdowns as a result of budget cuts.
Increased consumer e-commerce activity
The pandemic has created a surge in consumer e-commerce purchases and lowered demand for global B2B orders. Carriers like FedEx may need to “rebalance their operations away from more profitable business delivery.” This could have implications for enterprise orders for years to come, potentially causing longer shipping times and increased costs.
The widespread shift to remote workforces
It’s difficult enough to order hundreds of devices when they’re all being shipped to a headquarters or an office. It’s even harder to get devices to employees when everyone is working from home, including current employees receiving upgraded devices, and new employees being onboarded and receiving devices for the first time.
What’s more, some enterprises may need to first ship devices to IT personnel to add security protocols like mobile device management (MDM) and unified endpoint management (UEM) applications. This means the device is shipped and tracked twice — once when they go to IT, and again when they go to the employee.
Finally, some workforces are shrinking this year. Recovering a company-owned device from a remote employee leaving the company is infinitely more challenging than when everyone is in the office.
These issues will affect enterprises the rest of this year and into the next — and potentially even longer. The Tangoe platform can help you overcome these and future challenges in order management in a few key ways:
Help mitigate supply chain slowdowns and shipping delays with end-to-end order management.
Tangoe’s Platform can help you fulfill orders from start to finish. Via a single, configurable user interface, enterprises can manage and track all orders, in all statuses, for all services. This can help you to plan work-arounds or adjust projects if shipping delays are expected.
The solution also makes ordering devices and assets less chaotic and more automated. Our unified customer experience has the capabilities to manage the quote, bid, order and fulfillment processes. End users can more easily place orders correctly based on use cases, service(s) and business rules.
Manage the device needs of a remote workforce with global visibility.
Global and remote workforces add another layer of complexity to an already complex business process. Sometimes you aren’t even sure where to start when placing new orders, because you don’t know what already exists in a spread-out workforce.
Tangoe’s comprehensive asset and inventory management system for telecom, mobile and cloud provides this information in real time. It allows an organization to view and analyze all services and devices, from all vendors, within one central location. This helps create a picture of what you have, who’s using it, and how much you’re paying for it.
Efficiently onboard and offboard devices as staffing needs change.
Tangoe also can help track down and recover company-owned devices and close accounts with vendors and carriers. This will come in handy when offboarding employees, ensuring you’re not paying for resources you’re no longer using.
Order processing during onboarding becomes easier with our solution, too. Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) can integrate seamlessly with the Tangoe application. It’s a snap to onboard and send necessary devices to new employees. We can even install critical programs like MDM and UEM and then ship devices directly to employees, wherever they are.