EtteTete is a children’s furniture manufacturer selling its products worldwide via multiple marketplaces, like Shopify, Etsy and Amazon. Their production model works per request, instead of pre-producing the goods in advance and then selling them, therefore the number of sold items goes hand in hand with the amount of work their production line has to do and plan ahead.
The growth of sales volume and many different sales channels caused too much of manual work and EtteTete, in the end, faced the following issues:
- They had too many marketplaces to work with simultaneously;
- Each marketplace has different Sales Order processing workflows and required the responsible person to keep that in mind;
- It was a manual work to get an overview of all Sales Orders and to keep track of them (which are new, which are in progress, which have been shipped, etc.);
- A lot of manual work to keep the production line up to date with what needs to be produced and in what quantities;
- Issuing of the shipping requests (to the carriers) was performed manually, which also caused a lot of manual work;
- A lot of manual work to prepare information for the logistics;
- Production line informed the sales managers manually about the produced items;
- B2B orders were registered and handled manually;
- Proforma invoices, final invoices, logistics manifests and other documents were created manually when needed;
EtteTete had already established a proven workflow and Excel-based registries to handle most of the processes in a digital way but the effort was still too high and growing with the increasing sales.
First attempts to solve the situation
There are several shelf products solving the given situation in general, most affordable of which are cloud solutions, such as Zoho Inventory, Salesforce, etc.
The problems with the shelf products varied from one solution to another, however, when trying to adapt and use them for real-life use cases. Here are just some of the issues faced:
- As the available cloud solutions are, mostly, US market-oriented, the tax policy relevant to the European Union wasn’t supported which was a blocking issue;
- None of the platforms supported editing of the Sales orders imported from the marketplaces, so if the Customer asked to apply some changes to the order, the only thing EtteTete could do would be asking the Customer to cancel the order and create a new one;
- Minimal or no possibility to customize the existing workflows and features as well as adding new ones;
- Lack of integration with several marketplace platforms (Zoho, for example, cannot be integrated with all Amazon storefronts but the US).
Development of a Custom Software Solution
After checking the existing products, our customer made a decision to develop custom ERP solution which would be capable of communicating with the marketplaces they use for sales, and using which they could perform every action they need in the way they need.
The solution was developed in the form of custom web-application, implementing the following features:
- Data synchronization between the marketplaces;
- A possibility to edit all Sales orders;
- A possibility to create shipping parcels;
- Integration with TNT and FedEx shipping carriers for requesting shipments, submitting Electronic Trade Document information and getting shipping labels;
- Customized Invoicing feature, implementing proforma, final invoices and credit notes in the form EtteTete needs them to be;
- Manifest file creation for the logistics;
- Data export;
- Inventory management with information about items sold, in stock, packed, available;
- Module for the production site to be used on mobile scanners for quick item look-up and inventory management;
PHP7, Symfony, MariaDB, Nginx, Docker, Webpack