Home Depot announced on its Q1 earnings call that it has gone live with its first in-store implementation of a new customer order management system (OMS), with plans to roll it out across its U.S. supply chain by the end of 2014.
The system “is designed for greater visibility and execution of special orders by our associates and a frictionless experience for our customers,” said Craig Menear, Home Depot’s president of U.S. retail, during the earnings call.
“When customers place an order they can understand the status of that order, including where it is in the process of manufacturing,” Menear said. “And our associates will have visibility into store arrival so they can better answer consumers’ questions during that process. It’s also a coordinating effort that drives back into our manufacturers and our suppliers, allowing coordination all the way through the supply chain.”
Frank Blake, chairman and CEO of Home Depot, said the company’s largest suppliers now have the technological capability to work with the OMS system. “We are working with some of our smaller suppliers to bring them up,” Blake added.
Currently a Home Depot customer’s greatest visibility into the status of an order is a phone call to an associate in store. Now with the new COMS, they can get that information in real time and via any mode they choose – by mobile or desktop, text or email.
The OMS system will also make the manufacturer order process much more efficient and eliminate the potential for errors, said Matt Carey, Home Depot’s executive vice president and chief information officer.
“Believe it or not, a lot of these orders used to be faxed to the vendors which obviously meant a lot of opportunity for error,” Carey said. “So we have eliminated those faxes, put it on EDI (electronic data interchange) and really started to streamline how those orders look.”
When the system is fully implemented, the entire order process will be “100 percent EDI,” said Home Depot CFO and Executive Vice President of Corporate Services Carol Tome.