Daewoo Electronics Sales UK Limited is a world leader in the home electronics and multimedia markets, and is a long-standing customer of Orion Consulting Limited.
In 2005, Daewoo approached Orion with regard to implementing a web based ordering system for spares and consumables. Although there were existing "shopping" systems on the market, any of them would require considerable additional work to integrate them with Daewoo's SAP R/3 system. Orion proposed a method by which this expense could be saved - to use the existing PathFinder data exchange product that was running EDI for the company as a back-end for the website.
The first priority was to design a Business to Business (B2B) website for sales of spares to account customers - retailers and service centres. This was written in Perl, using Orion's Rigel methodology, and utilising MySQL for database storage. The website design was kept free of formatting and style decisions - instead, a configuration table allowed the customer to apply their own page header, footer and stylesheet to the site, allowing it to match their existing web presence.
Keeping Things Simple
A secure user login allows authorised account holders to select from a predetermined list of delivery addresses, and then select products, either by product code, or a flexible text search. Selected products are held in a basket, until the order is complete. The design allows for display of description, price and stock levels. As the customers are ordering regular products that they are familiar with, the emphasis is on speed of entry and ease of use
All information - usernames, passwords, product information, and completed orders - are held in a MySQL database, with the table design optimised for use with PathFinder, allowing automatic import of web purchase orders, and regular exports of product and price information.
PathFinder in control
PathFinder's proven capability with databases makes importing and exporting of information easy and controllable.
User and address information is uploaded to PathFinder in the form of a CSV file exported directly from SAP, which PathFinder translates and automatically writes to the website's user database table. Similarly, product and price information can be uploaded daily, including current stock levels.
New orders placed via the website are imported directly from the database into PathFinder as an XML file. This is then automatically translated to an ORDERS IDoc, and sent directly to the SAP system. The IDoc is SAP's own Intermediate Document structure, and is the same format as the existing EDI data already being imported into SAP. Thus there are no additional changes required to the SAP application.
Saving Time, Saving Money
Prior to this project, Daewoo's customer service department received daily orders by fax and telephone, all requiring manual re-keying. The new B2B system, with PathFinder has automated this process saving time and eliminating potential transcription errors. In the first year of operation, the system has processed almost 7000 order lines.
David Wareing, IS Manager at Daewoo Electronics Sales UK Limited, says:
"The ability to use our existing PathFinder system helped keep development costs down and as we already had complete confidence in PathFinder we knew that from going live our orders would arrive. We needed an efficient on-line ordering system to help save our time and our Spare Parts customers' time, so we asked Orion to build a system which would enable quick transactions without the overhead of a consumer site designed for window shopping. When a large retailer said 'The website is very easy to use....it's one of the easiest sites I've ever seen and because it's not cluttered it loads very quickly too' it confirmed that we had got the balance right."
- Business application: SAP R/3 4.0B
- Web Design: Rigel by Orion Consulting Limited, utilising Perl and MySQL
- Web Hosting: XCalibre Communications
- Software: Orion Consulting Limited - PathFinder v3.0
- Business application: SAP R/3 4.0B
- Hardware: Intel PC, running Windows 2000 Professional