Managing Orders

“When will my order show up?”

We get that question a lot. For many simpler e-commerce websites, I’m sure it’s possible to track everything through OpenCart. But we also get orders coming in through various sources, PayPal invoices being the most common. Then we have to fill them in various ways: shipped straight to the customer from the manufacturer, or shipped to us from the manufacturer, then forwarded on to the customer. Sometimes the customers pick up.

The manufacturers aren’t always great about letting us know when stuff has shipped. And they don’t always acknowledge when they receive an order from us. So we have to keep on top of them to make sure our customers’ parts get delivered.

Right now, some of this is kept track of through the Teamwork project management system. It’s easy to use, free, and will e-mail a daily report of what’s due.

But as we expand, we’re going to need something that’s customized to our needs. So I’ve been looking at the Redmine open source project management system. Redmine does most of what Teamwork does. It’s not without its warts though. The UI isn’t quite as slick as Teamwork’s. And certain things, like turning an e-mail into a task, are much more difficult than they should be. The next step is figuring out what I can do versus hiring a Ruby on Rails expert to customize.

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