Author Topic: HOW is Stock Managed?  (Read 22079 times)

MikeUK

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2008, 12:03:00 pm »
It need to be fixed so that a 'manual' put back into stock is possible and that the stock is actually reduced when check-out is finished and the order is placed. The purchase is then to be considered 'reserved' but not delivered. Still no other customer should actually see the item in the shop. (Think about the shelf in the supermarket and it's stock in back. What do you see as a customer and what do you actually have access to?)   

Yes, this makes sense to me. Good to get someone with major retail experience commenting, by the way.

From my point of view, a cancelled or declined order is only related to the payment process. It doesn't mean the customer doesn't want the goods, or should immediately lose the option of purchasing (if the stock automatically goes back and some else purchases). The payment processor, not the customer for example, may be at fault.  I'm not 100% sure if this is also part of your point akerman, but to me it makes a lot more sense that in such a situation manual intervention is required. That the order is still in a state of being 'reserved' until admin decides to make enquires or manually delete it and add back the stock.


Perhaps in the order list there should be a refund or cancel (or something) button, and clicking that triggers another page, or a popup, that allows you to manage the other processes involved in refunding or cancelling an order.

The pop up would allow you to select which products to put back into stock, for example you could just add 2 of 4 and possibly involves the payment process too. This would allow the stock to be manually controlled, but in a more efficient manner than just removing stock changes on cancel/refund altogether.

I think this is a nice idea, when focusing on just the issue in this thread. I suppose my view here is affected by my overall concern with VM, which is that, if every situation is solved by attempting the ideal programmed route (which I would say your idea is), we could end up with a system that is incredibly large and complex, and much harder to debug and, inevitably trust. Still, if popular opinion was for such a button, I would vote for it being a one-way button, where it was only possible to click once, which if it returned the items to stock, also archived (or deleted) the order so there was not chance of automatically OR manually, doing it again. Possibly that's what you meant anyway?
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willowtree

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2008, 12:15:56 pm »
possibly, I think at the moment anyone should put forward any ideas, and hopefully we can come up with a solution that suits.

After reading your post, it occured to me that perhaps if there was such a button, and pop up. If items were put back to stock, the date they were put back could be added so if it was clicked again you couldn't put the same items back,

Personally i don't like deleting orders as I like to be able to look at a customers history, and it is useful to be able to go back and see an order, and customers quite  like to be able to see them too, even if just to check that it has been refunded
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akerman

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2008, 00:19:49 am »
I think Mike just touched one of the 'make or brake' issues here:

What is VM and where does it want to go? To be only a cart? More than a cart? A fully fledged eCommerce solution for all types of tangible and non-tangible goods?

The answer to that question is the answer on how complex VM will/wants be/to become...
...and also the probable answer to how a decent/good stock management implementation could look like.

I'm sorry, but I think that trying to present any solutions/ideas in this area is going to just become water under the bridges, until the goal for VM is answered above.


In the meantime my suggestion is to just look at a small commercial system (or possibly the competition), and just simply copy that 'procedure'/approach. A kind of semi-automatic solution if you will (as Willowtree said). There's really no idea to develop something unique for VM. There are already good, simple solutions implemented out there. It's just that 'someone' needs to take the time and evaluate some of them.
(...Not me though... ;) )

And Willowtree is correct, an order system never deletes the order. It just flags status differently or in some instances it has suborders created that are active, while the parent order is already delivered/paid in full. The reason for keeping them in the system are of course mainly for bookkeeping and for purposes of backtracking. 


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Akerman
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MikeUK

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2008, 09:19:05 am »
I think Mike just touched one of the 'make or brake' issues here:

What is VM and where does it want to go? To be only a cart? More than a cart? A fully fledged eCommerce solution for all types of tangible and non-tangible goods?

I've always been good at adding more questions and not giving any answers. :)

Obviously this thread is not about VM as a whole, so I'll be brief. It is already much more than a cart. But I think OsCommerce showed us something. It showed that an ecommerce system can grow and grow, become very popular, and then begin to lose popularity because it is too big / too complicated. Zen cart comes along and gets praise for being a simpler, more straight-forwards system, with easier styling. I wonder what the OsCommerce devs thought about that after spending hours ans hours adding new features?

How about something like this then:

1) orders are placed, stock is adjusted for those products
2) one order is cancelled, admin goes to that order, clicks 'cancel' button'
    (cancelled is removed from drop down list and becomes separate button, for clarity, maybe put in red box to warn admin to nor click by   mistake)
3) cancel button archives order  (perhaps looking at it from the inside, placed into a new table?), returns to stock.
4) cancelled orders can not be 'uncancelled'. A new order must be created if customer returns.

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willowtree

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2008, 09:25:19 am »
imho, to be any kind of functional cart for tangiable goods, it needs to have a better stock management system than is already in place. Too many errors are introduced  into the system in its current form. Errors are also multiplied, in that the system will automatically make changes, and possibly notify users that there is stock, when there isn't. Combined with payment processes not updating the status (such as Worldpay in vm 1.1)there are too many issues controlling stock levels.

I do agree that we shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel, other systems must have processes in place, so lets see how they do it.

For what its worth, in a post above I was looking at Freeway who have a semi-auto system.

Has anyone used/trialled any other systems with solutions they liked? Lets post them here in the spirit of improving VM
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willowtree

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #20 on: November 27, 2008, 09:45:03 am »
Mike posted while I was typing, so I'll respond to his post here;

again, this is just imho, but this is a must have for VM, rather than an additional feature. I can see your concerns about VM becoming too big and cumbersome, but that I feel is a slightly different issue, such as how to keep the core minimal, but allow people to change vm to suit them, by adding new features etc. Currently by hacking vm to bits, which is really the only way, but that puts people off upgrading, which causes more problems as people are running old systems....but I digress :)
Quote
How about something like this then:

1) orders are placed, stock is adjusted for those products
2) one order is cancelled, admin goes to that order, clicks 'cancel' button'
    (cancelled is removed from drop down list and becomes separate button, for clarity, maybe put in red box to warn admin to nor click by   mistake)
3) cancel button archives order  (perhaps looking at it from the inside, placed into a new table?), returns to stock.
4) cancelled orders can not be 'uncancelled'. A new order must be created if customer returns.

AFAIK at the moment, the only way to add notes to the order history, automatically goes through the order status change process and runs processes it finds there, which is why adding notes to the history can add products back into stock multiple times. It is this coupling of 2 processes that causes one of the problems.

I think we are talking at slight cross purposes.

A straight cancelled order is fairly straightforward, problems generally occur when things do not go to plan.

A few for examples:
1 - An order is placed, paid, and shipped. Customer then reports that product arrived damaged, and returns it for a refund.
We need to a.) process the refund b.) mark as cancelled c.) NOT put the stock back as it is damaged

2-An order is placed and paid for via paypal. We do not have 1 of the items in stock so we process the refund in PayPal.
In this case, what I beleive happens is the stock is deducted when the payment is received by PayPal. The stock is ALL then returned then the partial refund is processed by PayPal as vm beleives it is a Full refund. Currently we then have to go into each line item and correct the stock levels.(ouch)

3- An order is placed and paid for by Worldpay. VM no longer updates the order status to paid so stock is not removed, then another order is placed for the same item, which is no longer in stock, and is paid for by paypal. a third customer then tries to order that product but it is now out of stock, so they are added to the notify/waiting list.
We have to a.) send the product to the first customer, updating the status as we go, b.) refund the 2nd customer, which adds to the stock, sending out a notification to the third customer, who then orders an item that is not actually in stock, so we have to refund that one....

We have a few thousand items in our store (a lot are archived too, we cannot delete them as it will mess up order histories etc) so searching for an SKU, waiing for the product list, selecting the item, switching tabs entering new stock level, saving etc takes a while for 10 items in an order.

I like the notify feature, but its achillies heel is that its based on a stock level that too easily is incorrect.

Perhaps instead of automaticalle emailing customers, there should be a send notify list option or something that lists the customers, and the products, and what it beleives is in stock, then we could double check it and only send the notifications we want? Althought, again I fear I have drifted off topic.

Stock is such a fundamental issue, it seeps into so many other VM features.

:(
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MikeUK

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #21 on: November 27, 2008, 10:47:21 am »
Just a brief thing, before a proper reply.

Stock is only reduced on a 'Confirmed' payment? I didn't know that. I thought a 'pending' return also did that. But I don't have my own shop right now, so I guess I haven't used stock control enough.

So what's the issue with Worldpay? I've seen a few Paypal setups where it is necessary to have both Confirmed and Pending options in the payment module config set to 'Confirmed', due to the successful Paypal response being recognised as Pending. But I think this is only an issue with the payment module config, not anything else.
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willowtree

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2008, 10:58:02 am »
Quote
Stock is only reduced on a 'Confirmed' payment? I didn't know that. I thought a 'pending' return also did that. But I don't have my own shop right now, so I guess I haven't used stock control enough.
In my experiance, only a confirmed status reduced the stock,i could be wrong though, and my shop definaltely seems a bit hincky with stock control at the moment,

Quote

So what's the issue with Worldpay? I've seen a few Paypal setups where it is necessary to have both Confirmed and Pending options in the payment module config set to 'Confirmed', due to the successful Paypal response being recognised as Pending. But I think this is only an issue with the payment module config, not anything else.

I'm at a loss over worldpay. In vm 1.0 I had it all working, as payments were processed, the order status was changed to confirmed.

I upgraded to vm 1.1 and now it doesn't update the status after a successful transaction. I didn't change anything, just installed the upgrade. I beleive I also tried to copy over the old worldpay notify file and that didn't solve it either.

It has been posted on the forums a few times but no solution so far.

Another thing that has just occured to me is if people choose to make offline payments, we don't get it very often, but sometimes people send a cheque. Whilst we haven't received payment, that stock needs be be 'reserved' or somthing until the cheque arrives, then we can update the status.
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cinos

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2009, 17:11:51 pm »
Just putting my two cents out here...

Is there a way that we could just have the stock management set, so that it only modifies the stock when you update an order status to shipped?

Nothing else, just that. I know for myself this would solve many problems. :)

cinos

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2009, 17:24:50 pm »
Also wanted to note that currently stock is deducted when the order is pending. It is also automatically increased when the order is set to cancelled AND when it's set to refunded (two increases there) AND AGAIN if the order is deleted for some reason.

Surely that's a bug?

cinos

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2009, 14:40:41 pm »
Bumped. :)

MikeUK

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2009, 18:50:48 pm »
Just putting my two cents out here...

Is there a way that we could just have the stock management set, so that it only modifies the stock when you update an order status to shipped?

Nothing else, just that. I know for myself this would solve many problems. :)

This wouldn't work as a general mod as what if 3 customers all shopped in one day and bought more stock than was available, as the first of these orders may not have been shipped. This is something much more down the custom path.
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cinos

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2009, 11:23:29 am »
Well going with your example, my general thinking was that when the orders are placed you see that 3 people have ordered the same item.

You check your inventory and you see that you have only 2 in stock. So you order extra stock and package up and ship two of the orders.

As soon as you manually change the status of the order to shipped, the inventory is reduced and you then just wait for the additional stock to come in for the 3rd order.

I don't think I understand what you're trying to say. What do you mean by "the first of these orders may not have been shipped"?  ???

MikeUK

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #28 on: March 01, 2009, 16:06:26 pm »
cinos, I wasn't suggesting it was a bad idea or wouldn't be a good solution for some, but it would not be a universal solution. It would be suitable only for certain types of online shop, and something more custom.

Many types of business may not be able to wait until 'shipped' in order to determine stock. Some my not even use standard shipping. Customers must end up purchasing something that isn't available, and maybe can't be replaced.
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hellodave

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Re: HOW is Stock Managed?
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2009, 11:53:45 am »
This is the last thing I need to sort out before launching my site.
Is everyone just adjusting stock manually until a solution is found?
On my site currently, stock is reduced when "confirm order" is clicked.
I only really want the stock reduced when payment is received.
I can cope with manually adjusting stock levels for refunds and cancellations etc if I can fix this.
Has anyone made any progress with working out how stock is managed?
currently working with -
Joomla 2.5.8
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