How to Reduce the Order Management System Learning Curve

Your project plan to install your new Order Management System (OMS) should have tasks and assignments for developing training materials and standard operating procedures. The new OMS will affect the productivity of many departments, including contact center, warehouse, accounting, merchandising, marketing and management reporting.

Companies often struggle for six to eight months after implementation to regain their productivity and proficiency levels. Here’s how your company can shorten the OMS learning curve.

There are several types of documentation and training to consider: system user documentation describes the system (provided by the vendor); training materials which teach your employees how to use the OMS in your business; and Standard Operating Procedures which include company policies and its use with the system.

The vendor’s contractual responsibility is typically to “train the trainer”. This means training a limited number of people (less than 5) that can internally become the nucleus of your training team. Don’t under-estimate the amount of training hours you’ll need.

The development of training materials and the media used to teach the employees is your responsibility. While the vendor will provide documentation about how the system works for major functions, you need to have department managers take this documentation and produce materials that contrast your current system to the new system’s functions.

Identify who your “Super Users” will be. These are the business users and IT you are going to rely on to implement and train the organization. They should represent call center, fulfillment, accounting, management analysis and reporting.

Start early to understand the quality of the vendor’s on-line and printed systems documentation.

Browser-based Windows functions are more intuitive but you still need training materials. Less computer savvy employees may need additional materials and training.

Give considerable thought to your company’s internal training skills and the documentation you have developed before. Do you need to hire a training professional? Are there contractors that know the OMS and can help you?

One effective approach we have seen is to list out every transaction and function and develop a matrix of OMS users. On their own schedule they reviewed the training and documentation for the detail tasks. In this manner the department managers could plan and track the progress of each person.

Larger companies with more training skills and multimedia talent develop training programs about the new OMS. Contact centers which need to train larger numbers can best make use of more multimedia approaches.

Consider how you can use a conference room pilot test environment, normally used for total systems testing, to also be a training and procedures test tool. By running the entire system for testing, the department managers observe the entire system and the effects of all transactions; and you can develop training and procedures accordingly.

With the change over to the new OMS, what should you do to upgrade your Standard Operating Procedures. How do these procedures need to change with the new OMS?

Within a couple weeks after the “Go Live,” follow up within each department to see what additional training is needed. After you have the basic training completed, vendors often offer advanced classes in certain functional areas such as accounting.

Start early and make sure you have all the bases and functions covered. In the end you’ll cut down the learning curve.

Curt Barry ( is president of F. Curtis Barry & Co., a multichannel operations and fulfillment consulting firm.