Odoo 10 Upgrade for Multi Channel Trading Platform

We use Odoo (aka openERP) on our multi channel trading platform for all purchasing, warehousing, manufacturing, CRM and financial functions. After attending the Odoo10 tour in February. We could see there were significant benefits to using this new version.

  • Improved UI & Stability for business users
  • Improved Point of Sale system
  • Re-write of the Warehouse module (now called Inventory)

So we took the plunge and decided (in consultation with our platform tenants) to upgrade the platform to this new version. Our existing webstore to OpenERP connector did not support Odoo10 so we needed to find a new version.

We choose the Odoo Bridge For Magento (MOB) bridge product from Webkul.com. After installation on the staging environment and initial sync of data with the web storefront, we ran a number of tests to check business processes. A couple of minor issues were resolved by the Webkul support team, very quickly. We then repeated the install on production and all is working well.

For data migration we performed a stock take prior to the change and then used the web store front as the stock master during the transition. The only other data migrated is cost price which has been done using the Odoo export/import functions.

First Post Peak Deployment of 2017

Today we successfully deployed the first change of the year to one of our clients warehouse management system. The change covered a number of functional changes which were designed & developed during peak trading for release in the New Year. These included a new returns courier service and fast track shipment handling for remote destinations.

Proverb2 retail customers are ready for peak trading 2016

Last week saw the completion of all scheduled system upgrades by Proverb2’s retail clients for 2016. They have now entered into a change freeze to let system and process changes bed in well before they are challenged by peak trading over the Christmas period. The suspension of system changes during this period removes the risk of introducing any new problems through code or configuration changes (which can occur even with careful regression testing).

Each year Christmas peak trading ecommerce order volumes are higher than previous years, here are a few of the changes recently implemented to help our clients cope with this year’s demand.

Platform Upgrade for Redmoped.co.uk

One of our food and beverage retailer clients online business is growing at a fast rate and they were worried that the service level they offered their customers would suffer this peak trading period. There main bottleneck was the manual transfer of data between their web storefront and on premise ERP system. To overcome this we migrated them onto a SaaS ERP system (ExactOnline) and integrated it with their web site (which we also replaced with a new Magento storefront), carrier and email marketing system. The system went live in September and the client is now enjoying automated order management and increased international sales due to the new destination based delivery charges provided by Magento.

Virtual Stock Pooling

Another client of ours had an issue at their warehouse where replenishment orders for their web pick face sometimes caused the destination location to become overloaded. The solution involved a modification to the clients Warehouse Management System to implement a “Virtual pool” in which to hold the replenishment orders. This pool is then depleted by a “draw down” job which periodically checks to see if there is space in the web pick face. If there is space then the system automatically creates warehouse transfers to fill the web pick face with stock from the virtual pool. Proverb2 managed the specification, development and testing of the solution which was deployed last week.

Stock out handling

It is a fact of  life that no matter how good your inventory management systems and processes are, sometimes a product is not physically available to pick when a customer order is being fulfilled. It’s not uncommon that this occurs on the fast selling items, which then results in “over selling” on products that the systems thinks are available but, for which, no stock physically exists. One solution for this, which was implemented in the summer, is to automatically suspend an item from sale on the web storefront as soon as a picking problem is reported at the warehouse. The solution also alerts a “hit squad” of stock controllers and merchandisers who then investigate the issue. If some stock for the affected item is located then the item can be unsuspended

Over the winter we will be managing the specification, development and test of the next set of changes for release to production in the New Year. This will be carried out more directly between Proverb2 and the clients suppliers to allow the client to focus on the operationally intensive peak trading period.

Point of Sale solution for Suffolk Socks at Yarndale

Background

Online specialist wool retailer Suffolk Socks made it’s first major show appearance at Yarndale this year. As this was their first venture into “real” retailing they needed a Point Of Sale solution that would allow them to handle card and cash transactions. Proverb2 provided a solution which worked without fail and also helped out at the show!

The POS solution was given rave reviews by customers, with one customer going as far as to call it the “Best till at the Show”!

Requirements

  • Price labels for all items (being pure online retailer price labels are not normally applied)
  • Fast POS software to speed up the transactions
  • Decrement stock from sales at the show to avoid over promising to online customers
  • Professional looking till hardware incorporating cash drawer, receipts and barcode scanning (to reduce errors)
  • Ability to run the POS all day with no mains power!
  • Tolerant of poor internet connectivity

Here is how we tackled each of these challenges……

Labels

We used LabelJoy (pricey but worth every penny) to print labels for all items in the warehouse. The data was taken as an export from OpenERP which provided SKU code, Price, Barcode, Quantity on hand and Short Description. The file was imported to LabelJoy which then printed a label for each item. The software uses the quantity to determine the number of each label to print (nice). Label printing was carried out and several thousand labels applied to stock by the warehouse staff!

POS Software

As Suffolk Socks runs on a OpenERP backend (with a Magento store front) we decided to use the built in Point of Sale module. This is web based but downloads the functionality and range on startup so it can run without internet connection (as long as there is a connection at the end when the sales are uploaded).pos

Stock is decremented in real time for POS sales, so web stock levels were updated regularly throughout the day with the push of a button on the OpenErp-Magento connector.

POS Hardware

We used as standard laptop, thermal receipt printer, barcode scanner and cash drawer for the on site hardware. the printer was set to print the store logo on all receipts and a link to the cash draw allowed it to open automatically when the receipt was printed. A standard PS2 barcode scanner was used (along with a USB adapter). The total outlay was under £50 (excluding the laptop and the barcode scanner which they had anyway).

For card payments we provided a Paypal Here terminal which provided chip & PIN and also contactless payments. At £49 for the unit and around 2% transaction charge it is a good solution for retailers who do not normally take customer present card payments. It connects to an mobile device running the PayPal Here app. Customers were comfortable to use it.

Battery Operated

Yarndale is held at a cattle market and each stall gets a sheep pen (rather appropriate) to set up their shop. There is no mains power to these areas so the system had to run on batteries. The cash drawer and printer run on 12V so they could be powered from a leisure battery. For the computer we set up 3 different laptops with the necessary print drivers (no POS software was required as this was web based) and these were swapped out as each one ran out of juice. All three were charged up back at the hotel for use the next day.

Internet Connectivity

Wifi was available at the site and all devices were set up to use it. Unfortunately due to the large number of customers using the wifi during the show it failed. We had a backup 4G device but that did not get a strong enough signal. The fall back was a personal hotspot on an iphone 5s which worked well enough for the paypal transactions and stock updates.

Proverb2 Visits – The National Museum of Computing

While attending a trade show in Bedford this weekend I popped over to Bletchley Park to visit the National Museum of Computing and met up with a few old friends 🙂

IMG_20160730_132210Remember the dreaded RAM pack wobble!

IMG_20160730_131850As a trainee technician I once connected two of these VT220s back to back and tried to fool my colleagues that I had an AI program running on the mainframe.

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These Transputers were the future once.
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I am sure the seat outside Fenwicks cafe in Newcastle was actually a Cray supercomputer.

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Source code
10 PRINT “Jon is King  “;
20 GOTO 10
This is not on github.

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A mate of mine once carried once of these around a trade show, as it was soo portable!

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The Oric Atmos was not particularly acceptable in the 80s, but I bought one.

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Wow, feeling so nostalgic I could bubble.

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Osborn, the first laptop!

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There was a sign saying “Do not touch” otherwise I would have knocked up a quick program using the front panel of this PDP11.

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I used to be able to type quite quickly on the Agenda personal organiser.

Well worth a visit if you are in the area. TNMOC

 

Proverb2 successfully completes business start-up project

Proverb2 has recently helped a local business, develop their concept into a operational, trading business.

Bee Farrell, a local food anthropologist and illustrator came to Proverb2 with a business concept to sell ethically produced illustrated products that document and celebrate artisan bread making. Bee wanted to carry out the majority of the work herself but needed professional project management input to make it happen.

Proverb2 converted the clients requirements into a phased project plan that covered everything from product development, business process engineering, brand identity and website content creation.

breadearhomepageSquarespace was chosen as the platform for ‘Breadear‘ as it is a easy to use low cost solution to get a online retail business up and running in short amount of time. Phase 1 of this project was completed in under 3 months which is quick considering the client had other business interests to run in parallel. Now that the business is up and running, there is a lot of interest in the product and values of Breadear which is reflecting in healthy initial trading results.

For Proverb2 this project was slightly different to its normal eCommerce retail assignments as 90% of the work related to business and product development rather than IT.

‘Working with Lucy from Proverb2 was so valuable, she understood my needs and supported me through the start up of my business with great skill!’ – Bee Farrell, proprietor of Breadear.

Breadearlogo

 

Online Chat with Formilla

Today we implemented live web chat for suffolksocks.com using the Formilla Magento web plug in. Hassle free installation and easy to customise to match the look and feel of the Suffolk Socks site.

Suffolk Socks are hoping that this real time communication channel helps increase conversion to the site by putting sales staff in direct communication with customers.

Proverb2 project manages implementation of CardEasy PCI compliant telephone payment solution

CardEasy

Last week we deployed a major PCI compliance upgrade for one of clients. The solution allows them to take secure telephone payments using a hosted service which means that no sensitive card data is handled by their customer service operators or comes anywhere near their systems.

The project involved:

  • Changes to their Magento Enterprise Edition web storefront to call the hosted service when a payment is required
  • Setting up the 3rd party DTMF based virtual terminal to use the client’s Payment Service Provider
  • Making sure the necessary fraud checking data was being supplied to the PSP

Proverb2 advised on the solution, project managed the development & config work and also managed system & acceptance testing.

This technique is becoming more popular with online retailers as, once implemented, it means their staff and systems can be regarded as out of scope for PCI compliance.

The solution used in this project is CardEasy from Syntec

Radley and Co ready for peak trading 2015

We completed the last of this year’s back office systems deployment for Radley and Co this week ready for their peak trading change freeze.  We have project managed a number of developments this year including:

  • Despatch bench printing streamlining
  • Introduction of electronic international invoices
  • Introduction of new click and collect carrier
  • New international delivery services

Atrium Studios Relaunch

Atrium Studios, providers of office and studio space for artists and small businesses, relaunched today following relocation to a new area within UCS. Proverb2 project managed the relaunch event and a refresh of the website. The was the first official engagement for new project Manager Lucy Walters. The launch event, held at the studios, was a great success with a large turnout of local artists and businesses.

50% increase in workforce

Trainee project manager Lucy Walters started at Proverb2 today. Lucy has several years retail sales and back office experience and has decided to move into project management. We are hoping that Lucy’s design experience (she is a graduate of UAL) will allow Proverb2 to expand into new areas.

Suffolk Socks

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www.suffolksocks.com a brand new online retailer launched today. This new online business provides an exclusive collection of wool and related products for sock knitters.

Proverb2 managed the implementation of the platform together with production of content for the initial product range. The business is the first to use the Proverb2 MultiChannel Trading platform which is in development.