Part 7: Order Management OfferingSubmitted by Matthew Turland on Thu, 09/03/2009 - 07:12
View, Edit, Create, and Fulfill Orders from Admin Panel
This was covered in posts on Customer Accounts and Customer Service and the user guide has a chapter on the subject. Orders can be created for customers by going to Customers - Manage Customers, creating or editing the customer, and clicking the Create Order button in the top right area of that form. Upon creation of an order, that order will be displayed just as it is if accessed via Sales - Orders. Clicking on a row for a specific order, either under Sales - Orders or in the Orders tab of the form used to add and edit customers, will display that order with buttons to Hold, Invoice, Ship, or Reorder that order near the top of the page.
Create Multiple Invoices, Shipments, and Credit Memos Per Order for Split Fulfillment
Shipping to multiple addresses — or split fulfillment — is touched on in the user guide, but doesn't agree it from a customer perspective; I didn't notice the link in the default theme initially. Luckily, there's a screencast on shipping to multiple addresses from the customer side.
Go to edit an order, either from Sales - Orders or from the Orders tab when editing a customer under Customers - Manage Customers. Click the Ship button at the top right corner. On the next page, scroll down to find the Items to Ship section. On the far right, you'll see the quantity ordered and invoiced for each item and a text box allowing you to adjust how many to ship.
A validation check on the quantity field prevents shipment of a larger quantiy of an item than was ordered. However, it doesn't appear to be affected by an item being out of stock, presumably because automatic inventory management tasks are performed when the order is placed rather than when it is fulfilled.
Print Invoices and Packing Slips
The user guide touches on how to create these for invoices and shipments, but it's pretty simple. From Sales - Orders, select an order. Click the Invoice or Ship buttons on the top-right if needed to create a new invoice or shipment. Once that's done, go to the Invoices or Shipments tab, click on a record in that grid to view it, and then click the Print button on the top right corner of the page. This will generate a PDF version suitable for printing.
Call Center Order Creation
I'm not sure why this is stated as a separate feature, as it's simply one potential application of the features for managing orders in the admin area as described earlier in this post. I will say that I wouldn't recommend this particular application unless you have fairly powerful hardware for supporting it. On my system — a laptop with Intel Core2Duo 1.83GHz with 4 GB of RAM, admittedly not intended to be a server — this area of the admin interface feels sluggish, and I'm one user compared to a call center of users.
In addition to creating new orders, one useful addition to this area would be the ability to more easily access a list of orders taking more than a certain number of days to process in order to enable proactive resolution. This is currently possible with the search feature, but requires manual date calculations.
Create Re-orders for Customers from Administration Panel
When viewing orders from the Orders tab of the form for adding or editing customers under Customers - Manage Customers, a Reorder link is shown per order in the order list. Likewise, when viewing the same order under Sales - Orders, a Reorder button provides access to the same functionality. In both cases, the same interface for creating an order for a customer is displayed with all data from the previous order prepopulated into form fields as appropriate. The reorder can be modified as needed at that point before it is submitted.
E-mail Notifications of Orders
No documentation appears to exist for this feature in the user guide and little support has been offered to address why this is. It's addressed for customers in the user guide, but not for admins. I think part of the reason for this is that it's the same functionality being used and admins are just copied on e-mails already going out to customers. To configure this, go to System - Configuration - Sales - Sales Emails and look for fields labeled Send * Email Copy toward the bottom of the Order, Invoice, Shipment, and Credit Memo sections.
RSS Feed of New Orders
From Sales - Orders in the admin area, a New Order RSS link with an appropriate icon next to it appears centered above the order grid. I imagine this feature is useful for smaller shops without a large order throughput insofar as e-mail notifications may not make it to their destination and logging into the admin area seems too intensive an operation just to check for new orders.
Features in this section are overall well-implemented. Some have been covered before due to overlap with other sections, some have limited usefulness depending on the customer's needs, and most are still lacking in the way of documentation. Despite that, this does appear to be an area where Magento shines.
On a semi-related note, while reviewing the features for this post I decided to do a small experiment. I installed Firefox 3.5 via aptitude shortly after it was released and I'm currently running 3.5.2. However, there's an annoying bug that causes Firefox to crash sporadically when I close a notification from Magento that appears immediately after I log in to it. As such, I decided to give Opera 10 a try.
Firefox has been my primary browser for years, but I must say that I'm impressed with Opera. I did run into an odd issue where Opera wasn't propagating cookies in my local installation (126.96.36.199) when Firefox was. Even stranger, this issue didn't occur with the demo store in either browser. A simple core hack cited in this forum thread seemed to fix the issue and I'm told that it will be included in future Magento versions.