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

  1. #21
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    Feb 2013
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    Hi Rich,

    I agree, in the short term our best option is probably a 3rd party to integrate BP with various delivery services. Netdespatch looks like a good solution if they are willing to work with BP and I would support further investigation of this.

    Regarding Linnworks, although BP will soon have multi-channel integration covered, the stock control and management features within Linnworks appear at first glance to be far more sophisticated and can, for example, be integrated with POs to make booking in new stock and allocating it a very slick process, amongst other things. I guess it depends on how far you see BP developing and how much of the supply chain you want to cover and in what detail. For us, BP's core competence lies as an excellent e-commerce platform for hosting our site and providing the basic operational functions and it works very well for where we are as a business now, but as we grow we are going to need something like Linnworks to pull together all of the operational functions, from re-ordering through to dispatch, in a more comprehensive and flexible way as we could not operate as we are if we were say, twice the size - its just too manual an exercise. Either that or we employ multiple 3rd party APIs to fill in the gaps which could be too complex.

  2. #22
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    Aug 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Neil mentioned NetDespatch to me previously. Can you guys have a look and see what you think?

    http://www.netdespatch.com
    I use the NetDespatch portal for booking with APC and it works fine - if I could book the parcel and print the label in the Order Manager in BP that would be fantastic and save me a significant amount of time. Since I believe they provide services to APC, RM, DPD, Yodel and others that would have a whole host done for you in one swoop.
    www.plantpref.co.uk

    The Plantsman's Preference - specialist plant nursery

  3. #23
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    I'll see if I can bring this thread to my contact at netdespatch attention.

    I have to say - I do prefer a semi-auto booking system that we currently have, rather than a full automatic system.

    We have to put the weight of each item in by hand and then just click a button to book, as the exact weight can be variable depending on the packaging used.
    Regards

    Neil.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    I'll see if I can bring this thread to my contact at netdespatch attention.

    I have to say - I do prefer a semi-auto booking system that we currently have, rather than a full automatic system.

    We have to put the weight of each item in by hand and then just click a button to book, as the exact weight can be variable depending on the packaging used.
    That sounds like a good idea Neil as we'd have the same issue. We have all the product weights set in BP but it's very difficult to know what the final total is until you know the box size etc, etc. This would be on my spec list as an option for any bespoke interface we might have built.

  5. #25
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    We already have the middle bit connecting BP to APC via netdespatch and it really is a fab piece of software.

    We were going to start on the RM bit in a matter of weeks, although it seems my old netdespatch contact has left so I need to find out who I need to deal with now.

    If Rich is integrating it though then its whether we'd be better waiting.
    Regards

    Neil.

  6. #26
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    May 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe@ScoreStore View Post
    Does anyone know if this change applies to businesses using OBA with Royal Mail?
    Reading through the small print on RM's website http://www.royalmail.com/barcodeready it won't apply (for now anyway) to small businesses trading under the VAT threshold, using the BPL codes.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    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.
    Hi Rich,

    Have you made any progress on researching whether Netdespatch might be something BP could/would integrate with?

    Thanks
    Paul

  8. #28
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    Nov 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foil Play View Post
    Reading through the small print on RM's website http://www.royalmail.com/barcodeready it won't apply (for now anyway) to small businesses trading under the VAT threshold, using the BPL codes.
    We're under the VAT threshold and use Royal Mail OBA at present. What are BPL codes ? We use CRL. I spoke to Royal Mail about all of this yesterday and there was no mention of not having to use barcodes if you're under the VAT threshold. I told RM this whole thing was going to be a logistical nightmare for us as we don't ship by weight - we offer a flat shipping rate based on order value. I just can't see an easy way to deal with this for anyone. But I really don't think RM have a clue what they're doing to be honest.

  9. #29
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    I'd read it all because this is in there...

    "From Spring 2016 our operation will be changed to work with barcoded parcels, and it will be more expensive for us to handle items that are not barcoded. If you cannot change this may mean a higher price to reflect these costs."

    So if you don't want to use barcodes, seems you won't have to, but you'll be paying higher prices.
    Regards

    Neil.

  10. #30
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil View Post
    I'd read it all because this is in there...

    "From Spring 2016 our operation will be changed to work with barcoded parcels, and it will be more expensive for us to handle items that are not barcoded. If you cannot change this may mean a higher price to reflect these costs."

    So if you don't want to use barcodes, seems you won't have to, but you'll be paying higher prices.

    Yes but they cant say how much more and they haven't got anyone available to talk about the options and when you mention CRL accounts it goes quiet , and goes back to the line we are not forcing you BUt the CRL account will be Fazed out

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by rachett View Post
    Yes but they cant say how much more and they haven't got anyone available to talk about the options and when you mention CRL accounts it goes quiet , and goes back to the line we are not forcing you BUt the CRL account will be Fazed out
    Actually they have, I have had the integrations rep out for a chat and he was very helpful and knowledgeable, there is no point in messing around with the first person you get on the phone - you need to go higher up.

    At the end of the day if you send by courier you have to input all the address details, so I really don't see what the difference is.
    Regards

    Neil.

  12. #32
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    Nov 2011
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    Right. I've just come off the phone from 2 different people at RM regarding DMO

    This is what I've been told:

    If you currently use OBA and use the CRL codes, this is the first system that will be moved over to barcoding and that will be in October. I asked if it's compulsory to use barcodes and they couldn't tell me. I also asked whether it's more expensive to use track & trace and again, they couldn't tell me.

    It is apparently still possible to average out your weights - you don't need to move to a weight-based shipping charge. You can still input the average weights the same as you currently do in OBA.

    If you have 50+ parcels a day they say you should use the csv import method to get the names and addresses into DMO. If you ship less than that you can input all the names and addresses individually !

    I asked why I can't just print the barcode onto the address label that we take off our label paper which is what we use for our despatch / picking sheet. No answer

    My concern is the amount of time this is going to take. We'll be moving from a simple process where we just "pick all", then "print all despatch notes" and then starting picking and packing orders. To - pick all, print all, type all the individual names and addresses into DMO (double check it matches exactly what the customer typed in when placing their order so that if it gets lost we don't get the blame for typing in the wrong address), print the label, match the label to the despatch note, hope it doesn't get detached whilst in packing and then check and double check that the barcode label you are attaching matches the person whose order you have just picked and packed. Then, when you've done that, you can sit and type the barcode number into the despatch notes for the individual orders on BP so that the customer can track where their parcel is in the system !!!

    Absolute madness. Talk about one step forward, 10 steps back !!

    For us, RM is unfortunately the only solution to our post. Most of our orders are large letters or small parcels and couriers are too expensive for these types of packages so we're stuck with RM. It seems to me that whilst barcoding is a step forward for them (apparently), it's just more expense and time (neither of which we have) for small businesses like us

    Apparently the question about being below the VAT threshold - RM don't care whether you're VAT registered or not - everyone is having to move to this system or face an increase in prices.

    If Netdespatch is a possibility for integration with BP, I would really, really, really appreciate using a system like this. Business is hard enough as it is without having to spend time typing in names and addresses onto a RM website that doesn't work half the time !
    Last edited by SarahT; 14-08-2015 at 15:58.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by SarahT View Post
    If Netdespatch is a possibility for integration with BP, I would really, really, really appreciate using a system like this. Business is hard enough as it is without having to spend time typing in names and addresses onto a RM website that doesn't work half the time !
    Just to say we met with NetDespatch this week. We will be integrating their service this year, most likely a November feature release - but earlier if we can manage.
    Developer :: Bluepark Solutions

  14. #34
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Just to say we met with NetDespatch this week. We will be integrating their service this year, most likely a November feature release - but earlier if we can manage.
    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU !!!!

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Just to say we met with NetDespatch this week. We will be integrating their service this year, most likely a November feature release - but earlier if we can manage.
    That sounds brilliant. We are in a similar position to SarahT having used OBA for ages. We have such a variety of sizes and values that we use just about every RM shipping method available, but with a low turnover. The changes RM are introducing are just not designed for the like us of us and we have been panicking.

    Thank you.
    Chris
    gifts for cat lovers

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Just to say we met with NetDespatch this week. We will be integrating their service this year, most likely a November feature release - but earlier if we can manage.
    Just to add I contacted NetDespatch regarding a ParcelForce integration and this is currently development with them and they are expecting a release within the next few months so it maybe timed well. It will certainly help us.
    Shaun

    Loxta Hardware
    www.loxta.co.uk

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by christopher View Post
    That sounds brilliant. We are in a similar position to SarahT having used OBA for ages. We have such a variety of sizes and values that we use just about every RM shipping method available, but with a low turnover. The changes RM are introducing are just not designed for the like us of us and we have been panicking.

    Thank you.
    Chris
    gifts for cat lovers
    Don't forget though that Netdespatch is simply a way to get the labels printed, you will still need to give it the order details, weights etc, same as RMDMO.

  18. #38
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    Feb 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Just to say we met with NetDespatch this week. We will be integrating their service this year, most likely a November feature release - but earlier if we can manage.
    Great stuff Rich. Look forward to the release.

  19. #39
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    Sep 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by SarahT View Post
    If you have 50+ parcels a day they say you should use the csv import method to get the names and addresses into DMO. If you ship less than that you can input all the names and addresses individually !

    I asked why I can't just print the barcode onto the address label that we take off our label paper which is what we use for our despatch / picking sheet. No answer

    My concern is the amount of time this is going to take. We'll be moving from a simple process where we just "pick all", then "print all despatch notes" and then starting picking and packing orders. To - pick all, print all, type all the individual names and addresses into DMO (double check it matches exactly what the customer typed in when placing their order so that if it gets lost we don't get the blame for typing in the wrong address), print the label, match the label to the despatch note, hope it doesn't get detached whilst in packing and then check and double check that the barcode label you are attaching matches the person whose order you have just picked and packed. Then, when you've done that, you can sit and type the barcode number into the despatch notes for the individual orders on BP so that the customer can track where their parcel is in the system !!!

    Absolute madness. Talk about one step forward, 10 steps back !!

    For us, RM is unfortunately the only solution to our post. Most of our orders are large letters or small parcels and couriers are too expensive for these types of packages so we're stuck with RM. It seems to me that whilst barcoding is a step forward for them (apparently), it's just more expense and time (neither of which we have) for small businesses like us
    Just felt the need to join this place to have a rant about the new DMO requirements among people who understand how pick, pack and despatch works in reality, unlike Royal Mail. My main issue is the apparent need to only print labels for parcels you're sending out that day - which is fine when you're just doing a manageable number, but when you're talking hundreds it gets a bit tricky. Firstly despite years in the business it's impossible to estimate the exact amount you'll do - we've always been able to get to a cut off point and if not everything has been done hold them back for tomorrow and docket appropriately, but now it seems the only way to do that would be to hold items on the system, meaning they can't even be picked.

    Secondly as well as running a manual End of Day process the system also runs one automatically daily at 6pm, meaning in theory you can't print labels until the day of despatch. We've always tried to print the day before so orders can be picked and packing begin first thing in the morning, or if large volumes staff can come in early to get a head start. Royal Mail don't seem to understand you need to print the labels at the point where the rest of the paperwork is printed, not as you give them to the driver! The last thing we want to do is have to search through all are parcels to attach the right label at the end of each day - that's asking for trouble. Royal Mail seem to be under the impression that printing the label is the last stage of the packing process, but actually for us and I think many others it's the first.

    There seems to be no willingness from Royal Mail to listen to feedback from their customers - a couple of simple changes would solve those problems for me but I'm basically told DMO is set up how it's set up and that's the end of it! Considering we're all having to adapt our systems to cope with their new demands (which has took me the best part of the summer - we have our own aging bespoke system at the moment though I ended up here looking at other options for the future) it's frustrating they aren't putting the customers first.

  20. #40
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    Here here RSM, we are seriously considering just paying the undefined 'higher charges' at the moment as the thought of introducing another half hour process into our daily routine is unthinkable!
    Joe

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