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Integrating WooCommerce into a manufacturing environment

The Challenge

Build an eCommerce system for a furniture manufacturer that allows the back office staff to fulfil and order, but also produce material dimensions in a spreadsheet format to allow a CNC machine cut all the raw materials.

CNC Machine + Operator
CNC Machine + Operator

The key features achieved:-

  • Restrict access to approved Resellers of the furniture
  • Apply discounts on a per Reseller basis
  • Adjust prices according to the quality and type of materials chosen
  • Apply price ranges on size of the items select and allow full customisation of the finish; colour, hinge positions, hinge types, unit height/width/depth, work surface height, rear gap for services
  • Integrate into the back office workflow
  • Calculate sheet material sizes based on customisations
  • Generate CSV files for CNC cutting machine
  • Generate PDF Production Documents for the machine floor staff
  • Generate PDF Delivery note

The Solution

We implemented the solution using the WooCommerce plugin on a WordPress website.

The basic functionality of WooCommerce allowed products to be entered into the system, and to allow price variations we utilised the Variable product feature using Width as the price variant.

As we also allowed the Reseller to pick a customised width we had to make sure the customised width inputted did not ‘drift’ into the next price point.

Then there were the many customisations we would allow on the unit. Customisations are not the same for all units in the Range so we setup separate product attributes that the Reseller could choose from.

In additions, some of the attributes (material to use) also has a price bearing.

So, in the cart/basket processing paths we check the material used in each item and apply that to the recommended retail price as well as applying a Reseller specific discount.

Once an order is placed the back office staff can proceed the order and chose from the new order actions to produce try Production Document, generate the cutting calculations for the CNC machine, and generate the Delivery note

Benefits of the system

Financial: the system has reduced Order pricing errors to zero buy checking the individual prices as they are added to the Order.

Also, as the Reseller now has to fill in the Order themselves all ambiguity is eliminated.

Staff time: the process of producing an accurate cutting sheet now only takes seconds whereas prior to installing the system the process was mainly manual and could take hours and prone to errors resulting in inaccurate material cutting and waste.

Reporting: with WooCommerce reporting it is much easier to track the progress of orders through the manufacturing process and also highlights the most popular items thereby allowing the scope of products to be greatly reduced and profitable.

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