Weblinc has been engineered from original design to allow companies to exploit the power of the Web, and other Internet technologies. It facilitates the development of new collaborative business-to-business processes, building new and dynamic relationships with customers, suppliers and business partners. This is achieved by extending the capabilities and investments within existing ERP systems through Internet based services, ultimately generating competitive business advantage by capitalizing on the current IBM AS/400 based ERP systems.
The Web based order entry process integrates with a website providing real-time order entry via a browser with options such as; standard order templates, the facility to re-use a previously entered order, set up favourite orders, plus the ability to store away a partly completed order for revision prior to its confirmation.
Many up-sell and cross selling features are delivered through the website, options include:
All options can be built into the order entry web pages as part of the order process.
Weblinc can be easily and quickly integrated with existing websites, extending them with new ordering functionality. Weblinc also provides the opportunity to run different branded websites connecting to the same ERP system. Via the functionality of the website, Weblinc will allow orders to be placed on smartphones, tablets, PCs, Macs and Smart TVs.
Principles of design
Combined with these design principles, we have focused the development effort in the areas that we believe are critical to deploy a successful integrated e-commerce website, and have assembled a development team that has the necessary skills to deliver to these principals.
As a part of the implementation, we can design and develop a new ecommerce website from scratch, or integrate with your existing ecommerce platform. Designing a new website from scratch often allows for a better user experience as the ordering process can be tailored to your business needs, whilst keeping the ordering process slick and efficient. This is especially true when considering the ability to place orders on smaller devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Each user is set up with a profile, plus a password that restricts access and also defaults many elements of customer specific functionality required. This information includes a default Website, a list of customer accounts to which they are authorised, buying lists and the authority levels within the application. These authority levels limit where and what the user can do within Weblinc, including read only or edit/change approvals. Also, user specific views of information can be created within the enquiries, which will display user requested data in different table formats, with sort facilities on columns as required.
Weblinc contains help text throughout. This aids both the ease of use of the site and its general administration. The help text has been designed to provide meaningful information to assist with the rectification of errors, rather than just a meaningless error code. The initial error message can then be expanded to provide a more detailed explanation of the problem and potentially a recommended solution, presenting further information to administrators and end users.
The standard ERP data on an item can be extended with multiple groups for the website search facilities, multiple images, extensive text and specifications. Each item can also have different units of measure.
A utility is provided to identify new, deleted or changed items from the SYSTEM 21 / Aurora system, which then can be extended with additional information, for inclusion in the Weblinc catalogue ensuring that the SYSTEM 21 / Aurora and Weblinc item files remain synchronised. This functionality can also be used to reduce the workload associated with the initial data import exercise.
Weblinc provides many ways to search products, a user can search for an item based upon its item code, a full or partial description, via product categories, features, size, weight, colour, price, product functionality and many more variations.
If a user cannot remember a product code, then the required item can be identified by using Weblinc’s catalogue. This allows a product to be searched for by using hierarchical category groupings, where a product can belong to multiple groups. This extensive search facility ensures that the required product can be found at all times. When a user finds the item that they believe is the correct one, extended information can be retrieved for this item, such as an image or text.
The Weblinc order entry has been designed so users do not require any training to operate the site and therefore it is simple to use. It includes many features that help with the ease of entering a full order or entering an individual order line. These features also aid speed of data input, therefore making the site more acceptable to users.
To ensure that a customer or user only has visibility of the items that they are allowed to purchase, there are defined customer buying lists. Each customer is assigned to one of these lists. Therefore, when a user performs an item search, only the items that the customer is allowed to buy will be visible.
Weblinc offers several standard short cuts to reduce the time to input an order. These functions are designed to allow the user to utilise previously entered orders or pre-defined lists to speed up the creation of a new order.
COPY A PREVIOUS ORDER
COPY A PREVIOUS ORDER
If a user inputs an order but does not complete the order because they are interrupted, Weblinc will always retain the partially completed order. This pending order can then be retrieved, completed and confirmed when required. This facility can be used to store away orders at any time during the order entry process. This function also ensures that Weblinc will never lose an order as a result of a bad Internet or network connection.
If a user is creating an order from “scratch”, there are many functions available that assist in this task. As the data is entered, Weblinc tries to help by providing as much detail as possible, guiding the user to create the order quickly and easily.
ADD A LINE ITEM
TOTAL ORDER VALUES
On a user entering Weblinc a credit status check can be performed on the SYSTEM 21 / Aurora system. However, if the credit check fails a Weblinc rule can be configured to continue to accept orders, or display a message for example for the user to contact you. This credit check can also be performed throughout the order entry process, including order confirmation. If a credit check is failed after the order is entered due to the value of the order taking the account over the limit, the order may be held within the Order Workspace for review by your customer services department. There are many options for setting rules to manage credit accounts in a way that suits your specific needs.
When a sales order line is entered, Weblinc retrieves the specific customer price dynamically from the AS/400 using the standard SYSTEM 21 / Aurora pricing routines. As a result of using the AS/400 to perform the pricing of lines, Weblinc ensures that the customer is given the correct item price including their discounts or price breaks. Consequently, the complex SYSTEM 21 pricing algorithms required to generate the specific customer price do not need to be replicated or maintained on two systems.
On entering an order line, Weblinc checks the stock status for the item within the SYSTEM 21 inventory system. Depending on how the Website has been configured, it can indicate a shortfall in stock, or potentially display the actual stock position or availability dates. However, Weblinc can also be configured to always indicate that there is stock available. Because the stock status is obtained from the AS/400, it always represents the very latest inventory position ensuring that the customer receives the correct information. Also, when an order is confirmed and is applied by Weblinc to the AS/400 SYSTEM 21 system, the stock balance is immediately updated, therefore ensuring that this status is always correct including Web orders.
Weblinc can maximize the customers’ order value by displaying the next price level break of the item combined with displaying any “associated” products that may normally be purchased together with the item. If an out-of-stock situation arises, alternative products can be suggested.
Once a user has entered all the required sales order lines they then confirm the order. If they are not completely satisfied with the order, there is the option to save it away to be retrieved and amended at a later date. If they do confirm the order, and the user has the authority, they can override the delivery dates or the actual delivery address to which the goods are to be shipped. Free –format text can be attached plus the user’s own reference number. Once this additional data has been entered, then the order is transmitted to the SYSTEM 21 AS/400 system via Webstream. The order details are only committed to the SYSTEM 21 database after the “confirm” button is pressed and the order detail successfully completes the validation performed on the AS/400. If successful, a SYSTEM 21 order reference number is provided back to the user. This is confirmation that this order has been accepted and processed within your main sales order processing system.
Once an order has been confirmed and the SYSTEM 21 order entry system has been updated then this order cannot normally be amended. However, Weblinc does provide the facility to add additional order lines onto an existing order providing that the order has not been totally fulfilled on the SYSTEM 21 system.
Even if the SYSTEM 21 system is unavailable, Weblinc will still allow the user to input an order that will be retained on the Web Server until the AS/400 is available. Once the back-end SYSTEM 21 system is available, the order will be automatically transferred across via Webstream and undergo the normal validation procedure. If this order fails any of the criteria, it is passed to the Order Workspace for review and is not entered into the SYSTEM 21 system.
To maintain the ERP database integrity, all transactions ae validated prior to being committed to the SYSTEM 21 database. More than 70 tests are performed on an order prior to it being applied to the transaction database on the AS/400. Any sales orders that do not pass this validation are held in the order workspace for resolution. Once the order has been corrected then, and only then, is it applied to the database. Tolerances / rules can be set so that abnormal orders can be identified and held in the order workspace for review. Different errors can be handled in different ways, depending on the site, and the user. Certain errors can be allowed where the users will not be told, but the resultant order would be posted to the order workspace for review. Once in the workspace it can be reviewed, corrected and re-sent to the AS/400 based.
Retaining integrity of the SYSTEM 21 sales order processing database is critical. If any abnormalities are introduced into the SYSTEM 21 order files by the Web Server, they could “crash” the ERP system. This could have disastrous effects to the whole of your company and they are very difficult to rectify once introduced. Therefore, all data must be carefully validated and all the necessary SYSTEM 21 order processing files must be updated as required, together, as one. Weblinc performs this by only transmitting data via Webstream.
Weblinc provides hosting services for both the website, Weblinc and any associated website software. Dependent on the size of the purchasing organization, making use of our hosting is usually the most reliable and cost effective approach to managing and operating the ecommerce platform. Where Weblinc provides the hosting, the AS400 is connected to the hosting via a secure VPN.
Larger organizations with their own data center can host the entire ecommerce environment in house. To support and maintain the ecommerce platform, Weblinc would require secure remote access to the servers.
Support and maintenance is provided on an SLA that is tailored to meet the needs of each specific customer. Weblinc provides a full annual maintenance and support service that ensures the platform is always available and running at peak performance.
As a part of our maintenance contract we monitor the website, Weblinc, the server environment and the VPN. Monitoring is provided 24 x 7 365 days a year.
To request a full list of Weblinc functionality or to arrange a discussion with one of our technical consultants, CONTACT US
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