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.
Order notifications are received via email on a per order basis.
Downloaded order data needs adjusting to meet the warehouse management applications import requirements.
The order details .csv file, shipping labels and packing slips are uploaded to the warehouse order management system for action.
1 minute 30 seconds
Label and slip uploads
Order .csv upload
Each Wayfair order requires an individual invoice to be cerated and exported as a PDF file.
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
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.