Marty! We're going Back to the Future!



  • One phone call today felt like I was in 1996. Or more accurately, like calling an ex-client in 1996, who was a tiny backstreet pet food store, who thought that web-based ordering was printing a blank PDF from a website and getting it in the post.

    Last night, I placed an order on an e-tailer's website (a fairly large & reputable one, thousands of orders a month I assume) which, for one reason or another, today I've decided to cancel. I've got my email from them saying "Thanks for the order, here's the order number" and the usual blah, so I thought, no problem, I'll give them a quick call.

    Call number one - I was told that the order "hadn't hit the warehouse system yet, it probably will in a couple of hours" and I'd get a call back before they processed the order. Ok, slightly odd, but it's the first working day after Xmas (it is here in Blighty anyway), so probably a bit of a backlog, or something temporarily went wrong between webserver and warehouse system.

    Call number two - They didn't call me, so I called them. They still "hadn't got the order on the system", to which I expressed my worry about them having my credit card details at the same time as losing my order, and I told the guy to describe their system. Apparently, after the order is placed on the website, the order is then sent to the warehouse on an email. Some poor loser, or multiples thereof, then has the job of manually re-typing all the orders into their warehouse system so that the pickers can do their job.

    Manually typing in the orders!?!?!?!?! Whaaaa?! If you can afford a shiny, well-put together website, send out even shinier paper catalogue and fulfil thousands of orders a month, surely someone has had the thought "how can we make this more efficient to [let's be honest] make more money!!!"



  • Job opportunity! Send me tne e-mail address of their CEO!



  •  noame and shame please - it's not like this is a bit trashing of there reputation.



  • @MeesterTurner said:

    Manually typing in the orders!?!?!?!?! Whaaaa?! If you can afford [b]someone to manually re-enter[/b] thousands of orders a month, surely someone has had the thought "how can we make this more efficient to [let's be honest] make more money!!!"

    FTFY.  Even at minimum wage for order entry, it's gotta be cheaper to automate that process and be done with it - even if that requires paying a tech $25 per hour to write the interface code.

    It could be that the current system is an excuse to pay a useless person a wage to keep them off welfare.



  • @Helix said:

     noame and shame please - it's not like this is a bit trashing of there reputation.

     

    Yeah, ok, since I'm still p****d off (just called them again, and they still haven't heard or seen anything of the order - but at least my credit card hasn't been charged AFAIK).

     BTW, don't laugh about what I could've been buying... my wife's pregnant. I don't have a beer gut to fit into a maternity dress...



  • I've actually worked for a company very similar to this - You can do online ordering and technical support, but the backend system just emails the final result to orders@ or support@, and its then upto the person who receives that email to type it into the ordering system in the same way they process a telephone order. I've asked them about it before, but they don't trust a fully automated system, and since someone has to be there anyway to take the telephones orders, they need the staff anyway. The only problem is that one person processes web orders, whilst theres about 8 people that can take telephone orders (but normally only 4 - 6 at any one time). It doesn't take a genius to realise that telephone orders can arrive days before the equivalent web order over busy periods. 



  • Script the website to send the e-mail in XML (or any delimited file format), and some vba script in Outlook to handle the order processing. Done. Maybe a weeks work (from DEV -> UAT -> Production) with testing.



  • @Medezark said:

    Script the website to send the e-mail in XML (or any delimited file format), and some vba script in Outlook to handle the order processing. Done. Maybe a weeks work (from DEV -> UAT -> Production) with testing.
    Thats fine if you work for a company with a proper process. However, the company  I talked about above had one server - production. If you wanted to test something, you copied the production file to <name>_test.ext, ran that and if it seemed to work, renamed it. Since that was such a hassle for some pages (eg, ones which were loaded or included by others), some people just edited the production files directly for small changes. For larger changes, the entire site was copied to another directory and run from there (still accessible from the public if they knew the path, often "test" or "test123" or somesuch). It was fun when you copied the dir, ran the copy and ended with strange results, and then found a hardcoded absolute path. 



  • You need to phone them back and explain to them that they have legal obligations under the Distance Selling Regulations

    The information required to be provided by paragraph (1) is ... information about the conditions and procedures for exercising the right to cancel under regulation 10

    So, they need to give you written details of their cancellation procedures when you place an order. Sounds like they can't possibly do that as they don't have any proper procedures!



  • This sounds similar to another company....When you order a pizza over the web, the individual store receives a FAX so that they can make it.

    I have no idea what happens in-between (whether a human has to manually fax the order or not).  You can try it youself here - see if you can beat your order to the store (I've managed to do so several times).

    http://www.unos.com/unotogo.html

     



  • @Auction_God said:

    This sounds similar to another company....When you order a pizza over the web, the individual store receives a FAX so that they can make it.

    This on the opposite is perfectly acceptable. Most of the stores do something like that in Germany too. It's much handier for a few orders a day. And it is much harder to not see an order.

    The Fax (at least at thebroker I know) isautomatically generated.



  • @Auction_God said:

    This sounds similar to another company....When you order a pizza over the web, the individual store receives a FAX so that they can make it.

    Argh. I've ordered a couple of times lately from a place that does exactly that. The first time, they didn't notice the order at all until I rang up 45 minutes later to ask where the pizza was. The second time, they couldn't READ the fax properly, so they

    • missed half the order
    • got the other half wrong
    • and tried to charge me a second time.

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