Automating Order Ticket Printing for an E-commerce Website

TL;DR

I worked on an e-commerce website where customers ordered products based on the city they were from. Each city had its own warehouse. Each warehouse had multiple areas, each with its own printer. My task was automating order ticket printing for an e-commerce website. This included automating the process of generating and printing order tickets in the correct warehouse on the appropriate printer.

I used Python to create a PDF order ticket and Node.JS to manage the entire process, including tracking orders and notifying designated contacts if an order was not printed. I also used WebSocket to facilitate communication between Python and Node.JS.

I faced a challenge when dealing with a printer that lacked an API, but overcame it by creating a one-time setup script. Additionally, I connected all printers to one computer per warehouse to simplify printer management.

Overall, the project demonstrated the benefits of automation and technology in enhancing business operations and streamlining processes.

Background

My client had a challenge in managing their multiple warehouses across different cities. Specifically, they were struggling with the manual process of printing order tickets for each warehouse whenever a customer placed an order. The process was time-consuming, error-prone, prone to delays, and resource-consuming which ultimately impacted customer satisfaction and delivery times. The client approached us to automate the process of generating and printing order tickets for their warehouses.

Objectives

  • Automate the process of generating and printing order tickets for each warehouse
  • Ensure the order tickets are printed in the right warehouse and printer
  • Notify the relevant contacts if an order ticket is not printed for any reason

Approach

As a Python developer, a Node.JS developer, and a WordPress developer, I leveraged the client’s existing WooCommerce website to receive orders. Using Python, I developed a script that generates a PDF order ticket with all the necessary details such as order number, product details, customer details, and delivery address. I also developed a script to print the order ticket in the warehouse’s designated printer.

However, I faced a challenge when the client used an 80mm printer that had no API, and the printer’s provider was unable to help. To overcome this challenge, I created a one-time setup script that would set up the computer the Python code was running on according to the printers connected to it.

To ensure that the tickets were printed in the right warehouse and printer, I used Node.JS to manage the whole process. Node.JS communicated with Python using WebSocket technology. I also set up each warehouse with one computer to which all the printers were connected.

I also developed a mechanism to notify the relevant contacts if an order ticket was not printed. The mechanism ensured that the orders were tracked and notified the contacts if there were any issues in the printing process.

Results

My solution was successful in automating the process of generating and printing order tickets for the client’s warehouses. The client no longer had to rely on manual processes, which saved them time and resources and reduced errors. The process of printing the order tickets was now faster and more efficient, which resulted in improved customer satisfaction and delivery times. The client was also satisfied with the tracking mechanism, which helped them identify and resolve issues promptly.

Key Takeaways

  • Automating processes can save time and reduce errors
  • Effective communication between different technologies is crucial for the success of a project
  • Tracking mechanisms can help identify and resolve issues promptly
  • A one-time setup script can overcome challenges with printers that lack APIs
  • One computer for each warehouse can simplify printer management

Target Audience

One of the biggest challenges I faced during the project was ensuring that the order tickets were printed in the right warehouse and printer, especially when dealing with an 80mm printer that lacked an API. I overcame this challenge by creating a one-time setup script that would set up the computer the Python code was running on according to the printers connected to it. Another challenge was managing printers for each warehouse, which we resolved by connecting all the printers to one computer per warehouse.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the project successfully automated the process of generating and printing order tickets for multiple warehouses of an e-commerce website. By leveraging Python and Node.JS technologies, I was able to develop a solution that significantly reduced errors and saved time, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and delivery times.

The project also highlighted the importance of effective communication between different technologies, tracking mechanisms to identify and resolve issues promptly, and attention to detail when dealing with different warehouse and printer configurations.

Overall, the project demonstrated the benefits of automation and technology in streamlining processes and enhancing business operations.

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