API literally saved the day!

Wayfair, MintSoft, XERO, Zapier and some API

Anyone already selling on Wayfair knows the challenges faced. When a sale is made shipping labels and packing slips need to be downloaded triggering order acceptance. Next an invoice created, then to the warehouse for logistics to kick in and collect.

My client was becoming overwhelmed and asked me to find the solution. It was immediately clear that this needed sorting out. Things were unmanageable and it looked like more people were needed.

Automation was the answer

It’s not difficult to imagine a world where everything is run by computers. Indeed artificial intelligence (AI) is being hailed as the next revolution. It’s quite a way off so unfortunately we all still have to work for a while longer. Successful process automation requires knowing when to keep manual tasks and when to automate.

I looked at all of the systems, the tasks, the scenarios, actions and outcomes based on how the various systems had been configured to meet the business’s unique working practices.

The following is a small insight into the project

Application programming interfaces (API) allow different applications to connect, communicate and manage data throughout a business process without human intervention and error. An API can literally save the day!

Estimating the time it takes to manually process orders 

Ideally orders would be processed when received. In reality within smaller to medium enterprises it’s common to batch process orders once a day. As an example, the following tasks and timings are based on how my client was processing 10 orders a day.

Wayfair

Order notifications are received via email on a per order basis.

30 seconds

Email notification

seconds

It takes approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds to access and download the shipping labels, packing slips and order details in a comma separated value format.

2 minutes 30 seconds

System login

seconds

Document download

seconds

Order .csv download

seconds
Microsoft Excel Logo

Downloaded order data needs adjusting to meet the warehouse management applications import requirements.

3 minutes

Excel formatting

seconds
Mintsoft logo

The order details .csv file, shipping labels and packing slips are uploaded to the warehouse order management system for action.

1 minute 30 seconds

Login

seconds

Label and slip uploads

seconds

Order .csv upload

seconds
Xero logo

Each Wayfair order requires an individual invoice to be cerated and exported as a PDF file.

10 minutes

Login

seconds

Invoice creation

seconds

PDF invoices are uploaded. This moves the orders from a processing  to completed status allowing payment to be scheduled.

1 minute

Login

seconds

Invoice upload

seconds

It takes a total of 18 minutes and 30 seconds a day to process 10 orders

Obviously this is an approximation, but it demonstrates a number of tasks and the time taken for each.

18 minutes 30 seconds

Total order processing

seconds

API takes zero manual minutes, no matter the order volume

My client now focuses on their sales leaving all order processing in the hands of their automated systems. No need to employ additional staff. No order processing bottlenecks and best of all an ROI in less than 3 months.

This is what creative thinking looks like.

API processing

seconds

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Wayfair, MintSoft, XERO, Zapier and some API