As your business grows, the number of orders, suppliers, and points of contact will also grow. Sometimes faster than you can anticipate.

But your success depends getting products to customers efficiently, handling your expenses, and staying organized as a business. So how do you keep it all together as your company’s responsibilities expand?

Save time, money, and hassle with these five order management best practices.

Manage your inventory in one place.

If you sell products on multiple channels – your website, Amazon, and maybe even a physical location – inventory can get complicated fast.

You need to take steps to prevent overselling. Overselling can cause you to lose out on sales, harm your standing with online marketplaces, and permanently damage your brand’s reputation.

With a tool like GoOrderSync, you can aggregate order information from multiple marketplaces and sync it with your shopping cart platform, easing the burden of organizing and managing orders.

Embrace automation.

The more employees involved in any particular process, the higher the chance for human error. It also means lost productivity. Look for ways that you can take people out of the process and free up resources for other tasks.

For example, is your staff regularly engaged in data entry tasks? It’s estimated that there is typically one error for every 300 keystrokes. Consider how many orders you handle in a day and how many keystrokes are involved with each one.

If you already use GoDataFeed, then you don’t have to worry about the messy process of manual data imports for multiple shopping channels. But look at other places where you can automate or reduce the need for data entry. Do you still manually input tracking numbers from your shipping company? Order status?

Re-analyze your packaging process.

65% of returns are not the consumer’s fault. Damaged items and receiving the wrong items are the top reasons for a return.

You can work to prevent these issues by analyzing your packaging and shipping process. Are you providing adequate protection for items? Do you have a system in place to double-check the picking process?

You can start the process by looking at which items are returned. If you find that certain items are popping up again and again, try to determine why. You may find that smaller items or items with similar numbers are easily confused. Or you may need to approach packaging differently for certain items.

Taking the time to fix problems before they happen can not only prevent costly returns, but also damage to your store’s brand.

Develop a system for handling returned items.

Even if you perfect your picking, packing, and shipping process, items will be returned sometimes. Don’t let them gather dust. Develop a strategy for moving them back into your inventory or disposing of them.

Provide customers with a brief return form that requests their identification information, the item name, and the reason for the return. This can speed up the return process for you.

You’ll be able to confirm receipt of the item immediately and refund the money. And if a customer reports that the item was broken or damaged, it’s likely you can simply dispose of the item. This saves you the trouble (and time) of analyzing the item yourself.

You should set a regular time – weekly, monthly, quarterly – for assessing returned items that may be re-added to your inventory, and establish specific protocols for that process.

Train your staff.

As responsibilities, tools, and software change, you will need to educate your staff on the ins and outs of your order management system. Order management requires many different pieces, people, and processes; educate your staff members on all three.

How should each staff member interact with the software, and how will his or her input affect the overall order management? How should they handle common customer services issues? What power do they have to fix things for angry customers?

Your business may be dealing with any number of suppliers or sources for order management, but your customer only relies on you for an efficient order fulfillment and delivery. Empower your staff to be able to make things right by your customers.

Making order management a priority is making customer service and efficiency a priority.