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eCommerce, real-time stock updates and outdated ERP systems

Retrofitting old technology to support tomorrow's needs.

Setting the scene

A multi-channel retailer with 50.000 items on stock, three warehouses and 10.000 items in stock through a drop-shipper, all coming from a legacy ERP (Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a type of software system that helps organizations automate and manage core business processes for optimal performance) going into three websites, of which one Magento and two WordPress sites

The Challenge(s)

Not having this middleware creates a situation where customers order no longer available items. This situation leads to unhappy customers and a high overhead cost in refunding orders and time spent by customer service. 

There are three things to consider:

  • stock must always be correct
  • drop-shipping inventory of 1 piece is to be considered 0
  • ability to override stock values
  • disable products by rules

How did we solve it?

We created a middleware capable of wrapping around the legacy database to deal with the first source of stock-information

Secondly, the drop-shipping sources are regular CSV files mapped to the internal SKUs. These have, during the import, some logic applied to determine what the desired adjustment should be. (If the stock is 1, treat it as 0)

Thirdly we bring the different values together and allow the creation of rules to override the stock and disable products.

The final piece of the puzzle is mapping the relevant products to the relevant websites. Every night we check which products have been added and removed from the website. This predefined map allows the products to be updated with the correct stock values as soon as an update comes in.

What are the results?

Always having up-to-date information on the websites is not humanly possible, with over 60.000 products changing status 24/7.

By automating the process, we have eliminated ghost sales and relieved the organization of needless customer service time and refund admin, paving the road to the next phase in their scaling process.

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