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Thread: API and Royal Mail's (DMO) - Despatch Manger Online

  1. #1
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    Default API and Royal Mail's (DMO) - Despatch Manger Online

    Hi guys,

    Does anyone know a developer who can integrate BP and Royal Mail's Despatch Manager Online?

    I've just teamed up with a company in the UK who will be shipping our orders. They use Royal Mail's browser based DMO to create address and tracking labels for their thermal printer, but they are having to create the labels manually, by inputting all the data by hand, which seems crazy.

    I spoke with Royal Mail yesterday and they say that there are 2 ways to achieve automation.

    1) Have BP create a CSV file and then import it into DMO via a browser
    2) Have BP put a file in a folder automatically when an order is dispatched, which DMO will then see automatically and print out the label

    The latter option is the one I want to go for and would be really neat. It also may very well work for Parcelforce.

    I spoke to Richard about this and he says that this cannot be achieved via Bluepark's built in data export capabilities and would be a job for a developer, via Bluepark's API. Does anyone know a good developer?

    He also added that if there was enough interest he would consider full Bluepark integration. So come on guys!!

  2. #2
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    We use Linnworks to create our csv file to upload to RMDMO. We manually upload the csv when we are ready to print the labels. Until there is some form of ebay/Amazon integration we can't move away from Linnworks as we need it for stock control, so once that is done then I would put my hand up and say I too would like the RMDMO integration.

    EDIT: One thing, before we had Linnworks I did actually create my own BP csv file using the data export facility. It took a bit of doing for the mapping of the columns but it is possible. I'm can't remember how it coped with orders with more than one item in it though as it needs the total weight.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info KayJay.

    Linnworks looks great for multichannel but we just have the one website at the moment so I'll go down the CSV import route for the time being, whilst I search for a developer.

    I'm surprised that there's only two of us that would like to see RMDMO integration... is everybody just using PPI at the moment? Maybe the API forum wasn't the best place to sound this out

  4. #4
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    I would of loved to see RMDMO integration, but I'm also just about to sign up for Linnworks which will also take into our account our eBay & Amazon sales.

    But I do think that RMDMO integration would be very useful for BP in general though, as it's easily the most commonly used courier in the UK.

  5. #5
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    We only have one website, no multichannel, and would also love to see RMDMO integration! Count me in.

  6. #6
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    I've only just read the first post properly, does this mean we would have to mark the order as shipped before we would get the actual label printed? That wouldn't be the most effective method in my opinion.

    If it could be done when an order was picked, it would be much better...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasMurray View Post
    I've only just read the first post properly, does this mean we would have to mark the order as shipped before we would get the actual label printed? That wouldn't be the most effective method in my opinion.

    If it could be done when an order was picked, it would be much better...
    I think therein lies some of the problem, we need the labels before we pick or ship because we pick and pack at the same time. It would need to be some sort of EXPORT NOW button that puts everything into an RMDMO csv and then you run the labels from within the RMDMO website. That way it would suit everyone as you would process and print the labels at the point you need it. This is how we run it in Linnworks. We export the csv when we are ready, import it into RMDMO and print the labels.

    Basically as I see it what this really needs is a tailored csv that puts all the relevant data into a spreadsheet which you then import into RMDMO. Of course, not everyone will want all the possible RMDMO fields as we don't use email address for example.

  8. #8
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    Default Rmdmo

    I have some experience with this so I can give you my thoughts FWIW....

    We currently extract all orders from Bluepark via an export function once a day and with in-house software create a .csv file that we put in front of the RM DMO java client that creates the RM label on a zebra printer, much as you would want.

    We hope to change the extract to an API call shortly. Our problem is that I don't want yet another local database to work out if a BP order is a Large Letter, ZoneSort Pack, Signed For etc so I am designing a state-less connection. Our constraint is that there probably are not enough custom fields to store all the elements that describe a package correctly on BP. Also each customer has different rules and rates for sizes /packages etc I'n not sure if you can do this generically.

    I can tell you that creating the csv file itself is not easy because as I have discovered that the RM DMO helpdesk in Plymouth do not have access to the specification on the SAP machine. If you have a problem it is the blind leading the blind. They cannot tell you that if you use Service 'X' in field position 2, then it will generate an error if you dont have Service Class = 'Y' in field 5 for example. There are also lots of other undocumented features concerning Monaco, BFPO etc etc that you only find out when RMDMO rejects it. This normally happens about 5 minutes to 5pm!

    If Rich wants to explore this area I would certainly like to count myself in but he has lots of other equally valid tasks to do and this is not as trivial as it first looks.
    If I get an application anything close to something that somebody else could use I will let you know.
    Rob

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AQP View Post
    I've just teamed up with a company in the UK who will be shipping our orders. They use Royal Mail's browser based DMO to create address and tracking labels for their thermal printer, but they are having to create the labels manually, by inputting all the data by hand, which seems crazy.

    2) Have BP put a file in a folder automatically when an order is dispatched, which DMO will then see automatically and print out the label
    To answer your original question - Yes it is crazy, but for a company that ships for others for a living this is nothing short of insane and would make me question their ability to do other aspects of your shipping.

    2) above is the only solution if you are doing more than 2-3 orders a day.
    What you have to also bear in mind is that the DMO create Shipment page is a clunky old SAP system that knows nothing about Ajax etc. Every select box in the form forces a page refresh (yawn). Some fields are completely pointless, it is a huge timewaster.
    Rob

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandanashop View Post
    What you have to also bear in mind is that the DMO create Shipment page is a clunky old SAP system that knows nothing about Ajax etc. Every select box in the form forces a page refresh (yawn). Some fields are completely pointless, it is a huge timewaster.
    Rob
    I think you mean the OBA create shipment page, and not DMO create shipment page? The DMO shipment page only refreshes when you're choosing between different formats, such as large letter & packet, and even then there's only a very slow delay.

    But I do agree that the RM OBA page is a nightmare to use.

    Up until recently we copied & pasted each individual order into the Royal Mail DMO interface & it wasn't too bad at all, would take approximately 20 seconds per order to generate a label.

  11. #11
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    Hi Thomas, I am referring to the one at https://www.rmdmo.co.uk/ which refreshes the screen about 5 or 6 times for each label you print out.
    A mmajor bottleneck for most BP customers I suspect.
    Rob

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandanashop View Post
    Hi Thomas, I am referring to the one at https://www.rmdmo.co.uk/ which refreshes the screen about 5 or 6 times for each label you print out.
    A mmajor bottleneck for most BP customers I suspect.
    Rob
    The RMDMO wasn't that slow for us, but that's because the large majority of our sales are 1st class packets.

    So once we got going we didn't need to refresh the page at all, as it was just the customer information that needed adding. But I can see how it would be more time consuming if you have multiple shipping methods & formats.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bandanashop View Post
    Hi Thomas, I am referring to the one at https://www.rmdmo.co.uk/ which refreshes the screen about 5 or 6 times for each label you print out.
    A mmajor bottleneck for most BP customers I suspect.
    Rob
    We upload our csv into RMDMO which has a mixture of formats, countries etc. We upload it and then process and print them all as a batch so there is no refreshing, it just churns out all our labels in one go and it's done.

  14. #14
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    Hi,

    I've deliberately resurrected this thread as we have today had notification from Royal Mail that as of October 2015 (yes, less than 3 months away!) all parcels sent on a business account must have a 2D barcode for them to begin their testing and roll-out of the tracking service. This move to tracking is great but is not pain-free because we will need to use DMO and I don't like the time-consuming idea of exporting to a CSV from BP and them uploading to DMO. We tend to print orders as and when they arrive rather than in a batch at the start of the day and this potentially means creating a CSV for individual orders which seems very cumbersome and adds additional steps to our order fulfillment process.

    Has anyone had good experiences of developers creating APIs for integrating between BP and DMO since this thread was started? As this is being forced upon all businesses shipping under a RM account I can only assume that the demand for an API is going to increase significantly, and perhaps this now might become a higher priority for the BP team to provide an in-house solution?

    Rich - has anyone made you aware of this change?

    Thanks
    Paul

  15. #15
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    Yes, we received the same info from RM. We have a choice of using DMO or creating an API. Will look into further over the next week.

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    Does anyone know if this change applies to businesses using OBA with Royal Mail?
    Joe

  17. #17
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    It think it applies to OBA. I had a call from royal mail asking if I want to go on it and I said no as I can't see an easy way of doing it. A lot of our orders are large letter not parcels so we won't know until we have printed the order if it will require a barcode.

    sounds like it's going to be a headache for everyone.

  18. #18
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    I'm not ignoring this thread, I'm lurking.

    I've seen the initial API spec, it's no small job. Part of me thinks the best solution would be a man-in-the-middle application, a third party integration which opens up this and other despatch options.

    We're keeping our options open at the moment.
    Developer :: Bluepark Solutions

  19. #19
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    Thanks for letting us know BP's position Rich and I tend to agree with you.

    We're looking at a couple of options: Linnworks or a third party API development. Ideally we'd like to keep as much of our operational systems within the BP framework as possible as we know it well and it works for us, so a 'bolt-on' might be the better idea. Linnworks apparently has DMO integration built-in so would I suppose be an off the shelf solution, however if you're not planning on using its full potential yet (i.e. management of the entire supply chain process from POs through to despatch, including stock control etc. which we currently use BP for) then it's a lot of on-going cost just for the DMO integration as opposed to a one-off API development cost.

    If anyone knows of any 3rd party developers who have worked on shopping cart integration with DMO previously then I'd really appreciate contact details. I've already approached one suggested source but have yet to hear back.

    Cheers
    Paul

  20. #20
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    Neil mentioned NetDespatch to me previously. Can you guys have a look and see what you think?

    http://www.netdespatch.com

    Realistically, we know that we can never integrate with every delivery service, any more than we can integrate with every payment processor.

    In terms of sales channels and stock control, we will have it covered. We already have eBay, we will have Amazon, therefore Linnworks is the wrong kind of solution (and very expensive anyway).

    We need an affordable third party company which opens the doors to multiple delivery services for Bluepark customers. Several birds with one stone, so to speak.

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