Back to the Future…when real time isn’t.

Written December 7th, 2008 by
Categories: CEO's Blog
Comments Off on Back to the Future…when real time isn’t.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

How can you tell when an eCommerce website is out of sync with its back office inventory and financial system?

When you try and order the product on December 7 and there is a message on the product detail page saying that it is "unavailable" until the next shipment arrives on November 28.  See the attached screen shot…

PErformanceBike

So what's the big deal?  I've lost confidence in the website. 

There is no doubt in my mind that this company's accounting system and inventory system knows that today's date is December 7th.  I suppose that their website also knows that today is December 7th, since they're offering me a discount for "two days only".  But since they probably have inventory information in two places, their website and their back office systems, that means someone forgot to update the website. 

By the way, it is clear that some time before November 28 someone did take the time to manually go into the eCommerce website's inventory module and update this particular item's inventory situation.  I can tell that because the "Select" drop down has the inventory situation appended to the price of the product "(available on 11/28)".  There is no way that that is synchronized with the back office system automatically.  A human being did that.  That means extra work and potential errors.  Clearly, forgetting to update this piece of information is an error.

The cost of this error?  I'm going to buy this product elsewhere because I want to clean my bike's chain sometime this week (why is another story).

If the website's information was being served from the inventory and financial system in real time, there would be no need for this extra person's job (evidently he/she hasn't returned from the Thanksgiving holiday yet) and there would be no possibility for errors.

That's why we've designed our service to integrate into SAP in real time.  We don't want to disappoint your customers and we don't want to create more work for your organization.