Overview

Following on from the success of our Umbraco E-commerce project Soldier of Fortune (SOF) requested us to produce a solution to help improve the overall efficiency of order processing to help cope with the increase in orders they were now experiencing from the website, telephone and third party platforms.

Additionally a new stock management system was required to give greater control over the quantities of stock being bought and sold as well as improve the visibility of stock movements throughout the warehouse. 

Challenges

As a result of the increased volume of orders SOF were starting to receive due to the rise in levels of traffic the e-commerce website it had become clear that improvements needed to be made to aspects of order management help maintain their high levels of customer satisfaction. This would include a complete overhaul of the order management system as well as the introduction of a responsive portal that warehouse staff could during the pick, pack and despatch stages. The portal would also require a POS (Point of Sale) section that could be used by staff to process in-store orders.

Also up until this point stock management had been a largely manual process which was starting to become a very time consuming task for staff to undertake. SOF were keen to build on the existing e-commerce solution to introduce automated stock movements when stock was ordered in as well as purchased via the website as this would reduce the amount of time staff needed to spend on stock management tasks as well as allow for more accurate information to be presented to the customer regarding current stock levels. 

Solution

After the initial consultation process to help define requirements we produced a project specification that also set out the proposed project milestones and time scales. A new staging environment was also created to allow SOF visibility of progress being made and to quickly test out new pieces of functionality without impacting real order data.

The new portal was built using the latest version of ASP.NET MVC, jQuery and HTML 5. It also incorporated modern responsive design technologies such as Bootstrap and CSS Media Queries to ensure the portal could still be used on tablet and mobile devices. By following our 

The first step in designing the new stock management system was to map out all of the current locations stock was being held so we could create a virtual warehouse. It was essential all buildings, racks and bays were included in this so that we could accurately record all stock movements as orders progressed through the warehouse. Next we confirmed the unique SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) codes to be used for each variant of product and identified the new software modules that would be required to allow staff to perform all the necessary stock management actions as stock entered and exited the warehouse. 

The stock management system was designed as a new feature within Umbraco CMS and was largely developed using ASP.NET along with some parts of the Dev Express product suite. This was the optimum choice as it hooked in nicely with existing order and product management features already used in Umbraco so allowed staff to perform a variety of actions in one place.

Conclusion

The improvements made to the order management system have greatly helped sales staff in creating and administering orders and the introduction of the new responsive portal has further improved efficiency levels in the warehouse for packing and despatching orders. The product ranges that have been transferred over to the new automated stock management system are functioning well and have already helped highlight further improvements that could be made in stock ordering and overall stock management.


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