Nov 18, 2009

Big problem, small solution

The folks at Country Meats had a problem.

The Ocala-based producer of smoked-meat snack sticks had recently added to their marketing reach by starting to take orders from their fund-raising customers through an online order form. Unfortunately, they were facing an issue commonly encountered by many businesses on their initial entry into the world of e-commerce: Accurate order fulfillment.

Their online order form also sometimes proved a challenge for site vistiors to use. Country Meats required orders to be placed in case quantities – but the online form didn’t have any method in place to verify quantity or to prevent the accidental placement of ‘odd lot’ orders.

CountryMeats-smOn top of that, County Meat’s staff depended upon the order form’s output for order fulfillment – and the e-mails generated by the form were a bit of a disorganized jumble. Problems with deciphering e-mails generated by the form were causing lost time in processing orders and other difficulties with insuring each order was correctly packed.

“If the customer ordered a lot of items, the old order form created a lot of wasted space and could be very confusing,” Country Meats’ Jeremy Geatches says of the problem. “It took more time for our shipping department to figure it out and it was easier to make mistakes.”

So they turned to NetSource Technologies for help.

Fortunately, vexing problems don’t always require expensive solutions. NetSource’s experienced development team was able to correct the issue with only a few hours of coding work to create a custom e-mail form processor for County Meats’ order page.

The custom processor enforces a case-quantity business logic for all orders. Country Meats’ customers can now quickly mix-and-match the products for each case, and the online order form provides easily-understood prompts when an order doesn’t meet case-quantity requirements.

The form also provides a clear, HTML-formatted output that’s closely patterned after County Meats’ standard off-line order form – so their staff no longer wrestles with fulfillment details when they begin to pack each order.

“The new form has helped a lot with the accuracy of our orders,” Geatches says. “And the new form gives our customers more options. Now it’s easier for them to order more of what they want.”

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