There are a number of ways and off-the-shelf solutions to integrate your Magento ecommerce Website to a logistics, ERP or back-office system. The main integration points are:
- - Orders automatically sent from Magento on payment approval and loaded to the back-office
- - Inventory levels synchronisations between magento and back office
- - Shipping tracking update to Magento and automatic completion of the order
With these three integrations and automatic emails to the customers in place, your Online business is on autopilot. You save hours of keying, eliminate mistakes, eliminate out-of-stock issues and provide the fastest shipping time possible.
The problem with these projects/Solutions in our experience is...
A quick scan of the market will show you will need to pay $10-20K for the integration software, another $5K to $40K to get it working and if you are using SAP business one or a similar back-office, you are in for new licensing and feature costs.
The consulting blows out as the solution is not readily adaptable to mapping your data and system requirements. We have seen so-called SAP to magento adapters that looked like they were built by a team from the local Kindergarten. Lets face it, Digital/Advertising agencies and programming sweat shops have no idea about workflow and real world order management or supply chain processes.
Many of these solutions use the Magento and back-office web APIs. These interfaces are absolutely dependent on the computer power of both systems. A big batch of magento orders due to a promotion can fail as the back-office system can't process them fast enough.
When something goes wrong they are difficult to troubleshoot and often have no means to re-process steps/orders
The right way to go about an integration project is:
- Data transfers go into queues and are processed on a first-in first out basis eliminating system overloads, internet issues or bad experence for consumers using the web site
- All orders, shipments, inventory updates are simple csv files that can be copied or read into a spreadsheet
- Transfers and workflows are controlled by a simple scheduler ( like cron ) and are easy to read and modify scripts, no obtuse/convoluted object oriented programming requiring a PHD to understand.
- All data mapping from one system to the other is controlled by "mapping templates" this means its easy to map address line 1 & 2 from magento to a single field for the back office system
So what is the best, simplest, most cost effective way to connect to the back-office systems while still doing the project the right way.
The Answer is:
"EDI". Its been around for years, Its probably already set up for your back office and there are many services on the web that can get your back office EDI ready. Many wholesalers setting up an ecommerce site already have extensive experience in EDI, in this case half the project is done!
All you need is the xPractical Magento EDI adaptor and some mapping and consulting and you are right to go. A few features of our solution are:
- Super fast magento order extract via direct database access ( we never add records direct to magento via database but its ok to read )
- Multi store, multi EPR/backend capable
- No modifications to magento core or order status/state system
- EDI850, ASN/shipping/856, all the usual and proven standards
- Full logging of progress in Order History
- Email issue notification and integration with the Magento HOLD Order function
- Simple easy to read template mapping system
- Works with Magento's bundles, xPractical multi-store inventory module, Configurable product
- SKU mapping ( because the product IDs in the back-end may be different to the magento product IDs )
- Advanced ASN processing, can handle multi-ship, part-ship, over ship etc
- No complex module to install, its one cron job and 4 php files and a file system folder arrangement.
- Uses FTP and SFTP pick up and drop off to communicate with the EDI service
- Use magento order filter system to easily identify hold ups, short ships etc
- Archiving of all incoming and outgoing documents for easy retrieval and re-send
- All EDI documents are transformed to/from simple CSV file format before read/write to magento, simple to find data mapping errors or bad data.
- Writes to magento DB are all via standard magento PHP function. Absolutely no use of the very slow Magento import/export functions or the equally troublesome web API system
- Will not overload your ecommerce store even while processing 1000's of orders or shipment updates in seconds.
- Extensive checking of data integrity, designed based on our 20 years experience in EDI, B2B ecommerce and industrial automation experience.
- Works with version 1.8 and fully tested with community 1.9.4
The cost of the solution is $3000 US. You own the code. Its proven in a $XXmillion order per year multi country SAP system environment. You will need consulting, mapping and support services. We can teach your IT team to own it if you wish to go it alone. The whole magento to EDI end of the project with testing will likely be $5000-9000AU