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 Stock Control is Lacking
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cayars
Starting Member

USA
49 Posts

Posted - July 20 2007 :  14:11:46  Show Profile  Visit cayars's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm finding the stock control in VP-ASP to be very limiting.
You can have different products that have different needs.

0. Does the item require inventory control?
1. Is the item in stock?
2. If not in stock, can it still be ordered?

The expected functionality for a cart of VPASP's caliber is to handle the answers to the above questions with minimal configuration and even less maintenance.

First, it should be understood that any respectable size shop will have some items for which inventory control is important, and some for which it is not. The cart should handle this requirement with appropriate database structure and script logic for individual items (as opposed to the current "all or nothing" structure). This could actually be handled with the current structure, by checking whether a value exists in the cstock field of the products table. If any value exists, it is presumed then that the item is inventoried and the value represents the true stock situation. If no value exists in the field, it means the item isn't inventoried at all.

Then there's the question of whether an inventoried item can go into negative stock values (backordered). This will require a separate field in the table (cboflag?). The logic for adding to cart will first check the stock value, if there's a value, and then if it's zero, then check the cboflag for whether the item can be purchased, then act accordingly.

If an item is inventoried, then the customer should see a message on the product page if a product is not in stock (or perhaps an actual stock level or "In Stock"), along with a message indicating whether backorders will be accepted and a note that backorders will be charged immediately (this satisfies the typical VISA/MASTERCARD requirement that the customer not be charged without his knowledge on an item that can't be fulfilled immediately)

All this should be relatively easy to implement within your current script logic. Why force users to fit their business model around a the current shopping cart limitations of stock control?

Carlo

cayars
Starting Member

USA
49 Posts

Posted - July 20 2007 :  14:30:05  Show Profile  Visit cayars's Homepage  Reply with Quote
At present I'm also finding other very important things missing from the Shopping Cart/Ordering System that should be in the software IMHO.

BACK ORDERS & PARTIAL SHIPMENTS
VP-ASP is completely void of any functions for tracking partial orders. I never even gave this a thought when selecting software as I just can't believe there isn't a method to track partial shipments. From what I can see it appears the only thing we as customers can do is use the "tracking" to set the "Order Status" to "Back Ordered".

PACKING SLIP
While not "mandatory" this IMHO is needed to be included in the package. Of course this should show what HAS & HAS NOT been shipped and allow you to handle "Back Ordered" items.

REPORTS
Well there needs to be a couple of reports to show items that are back ordered.

Carlo
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cayars
Starting Member

USA
49 Posts

Posted - July 20 2007 :  14:31:30  Show Profile  Visit cayars's Homepage  Reply with Quote
How do you (VP-ASP) customers handle the above issues?

Thanks for any advice,
Carlo
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support
Administrator

4266 Posts

Posted - July 20 2007 :  15:47:44  Show Profile  Visit support's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Carlo,

Great breakdown of how this should be handled.

VPASP can handle stock control perfectly using the Inventory Products system to cover these points:

0. Does the item require inventory control?
1. Is the item in stock?
2. If not in stock, can it still be ordered?

You need to have the settings as follows:

xcheckstocklevel = Yes
xoutofstocklimit = 0
xstockcontrol = Yes
xstocklow = 0

You need to have a stock level of 1 entered into the parent product record so it will display.

In the child products enter your stock levels so the child products will display as required.

When a child product is ordered the child product stock level is decremented.

When all child products reach a level of 0 the Out of Stock message will appear instead of the order button and no child products will display.

If the customer enters a higher quantity than what is actually available they will see an error message with the stock available and the reason why the error message is being displayed.

For products that have no stock requirements simply insert into cstock 99999 so the item will in theory never run out of stock.

Back Orders:
One of the problems with handling different business requirements is the multitude of variations in how they should work that different people expect.

Currently we do not handle items to be back ordered and this would need to created from scratch. You can use the order tracking module to handle this however while it is perfect for the follow up you do still need the logic included for when the product is ordered initially.

Your breakdown for handling back orders is fairly comprehensive and what I am going to do is have a chat with the guys in development on Monday and see about whether an advanced stock control module can be built.

Does anyone else have any requirements they would like to see included in an advanced stock control module?

We can't be all things to all people unfortunately however this one does sound like it would be a great addition for businesses that use VP-ASP and stock control.

Thanks
Cam

VP-ASP Support
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cayars
Starting Member

USA
49 Posts

Posted - July 20 2007 :  20:41:45  Show Profile  Visit cayars's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm not using child or sub products that I'm aware of. To give you an idea I sell Aqaurium Reef Chemicals, Corals & Fish. I "manufacture" the chemicals myself so technically I'll never run out of these as long as I have bottles & bulk chems in stock which I always do since I wholesale this to other companies. It would be most helpful to just leave the stock field empty for these items and have the shopping cart do nothing to the stock level since it's not there. This would be better then using 99999 or another made up number. I can see a "bogus" number tripping things up at End of Year if I use the stock numbers to base inventory on.

I grow/propagate my own rare corals (would use stock control) as well as have hundreds of common corals setup online in 4 different sizes (features). These latter corals are ordered by me after the customer has placed the order and I have them in a day or two. Occassionaly the distributor will be backordered on the piece and will ship it to me within 2 weeks or will cancel the order. I'd love to be able to do the same for my customers on these corals. All backorders will be shipped when they arrive or a credit will be given in X time.

Ideally I'd love to be able to set the stock at ZERO but still allow the items to be ordered and not show a "Not in Stock" or "low inventory" message. Maybe another "flag" field could be added to the product table could be used to allow this. This would allow control on a per item basis and not across the whole system. This would de-increment the stock level by one (IE -1) so I could easily generate a report showing all inventory items below 0 who need to be ordered. Ideally another field would be added that could track items ordered (from our suppliers) and a report could be made to show what needs to be ordered. This would be a combination of onstock (even below zero) and items already ordered. This report would make sure anything needed to be ordered to fulfill the customer orders has been placed.

I do agree that back orders can get comprehensive depending on how different businesses handle things. Ideally if the platform is flexible in design the system could be used many different ways. For example the changes mentioned above would give a lot more freedom to the stock control and allow things to be handled on a per item basis.

The next "step" would be in the "order processing". This is really where much of the code changes would occur I'd imagine. I've seen different software handle this differently. Some for example will use one order number regardless of how many shipments it takes to complete the order (best in my oppinion). Others will "roll over" unsent/backorder items to a new invoice and zero them out from the original invoice (confusing to some customers).

The ideal way to handle this for a lot of functionality would be to include a packing slip type module. Each item ordered would be marked off as packed, cancelled or back ordered. We could ask the customer to include any specific directions in the order textbox to let us know how to handle items not in stock or of course we could email or phone them. Depending on the outcome of what the customer wants to do we would mark the packing slip line item with the correct status.

If any items are backordered the order could be flagged as "partial" so it wouldn't be closed. It would of course need to be able to track multiple shipments to the customer.

That was a quick "think" and I'm sure I could sit down and think up better rules and ways of handling things. I'd love to hear what others think about this too.

When you get ready I'd love to help design and test this module.

Carlo

PS If you have Quickbooks or other similar software you could play with it to get an idea how others handle this type of thing.
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cayars
Starting Member

USA
49 Posts

Posted - June 21 2008 :  11:01:09  Show Profile  Visit cayars's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Bump, any word or update on this?
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support
Administrator

4266 Posts

Posted - June 21 2008 :  23:36:11  Show Profile  Visit support's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi there,

We will be looking at this for version 700. While we do not have a timeline on release a backorder module will certainly be included in the next version.

Thanks
Cam

VP-ASP Support
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cayars
Starting Member

USA
49 Posts

Posted - June 27 2008 :  23:08:42  Show Profile  Visit cayars's Homepage  Reply with Quote
How about also adding a new field(s) for product ordered and the needed code to manage this. I know many people have to use Excel or something similar to track if the product has been ordered and who it was ordered from.

Many people don't stock items at all but order products to fill orders. Sometimes products are available from multiple distributors and we don't always order it from the lowest price distributor do to order minimums and days trucks arrive with deliveries, etc...

It would be really nice to have this tracking ability in the shopping cart instead of having to manage it seperately.
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cayars
Starting Member

USA
49 Posts

Posted - January 25 2009 :  09:38:43  Show Profile  Visit cayars's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Now that ver 7 is getting finalized can anyone confirm if the functionality mentioned 2 messages up has made the software or not?

Any chance you could let us know what new items have/will make the software?

Carlo
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