Customer use case always trips you up

Posted by Martyn Shiner on November 24, 2011

When developing uzERP we’ve tried to make the system as flexible as possible for the many ‘use cases’ that our customers may have. However, sometimes something trips you up that you were not expecting.

Before I explain, a little background is required.

Severn Delta, the original sponsor of uzERP, is a contract manufacturer for certain ‘major’ retailers in the UK. As such there are a limited number of products and those products¬† are specific to the customer and have a single price. Talon Engineering, the second biggest user, is the opposite – they¬† have many, many products in their catalogue and a combination of trade/retail and special discounts to arrive at the selling price. uzERP caters for both at order entry time.

So… where does the use case ‘problem’ arise? Well, Severn Delta customers never enquire about prices as they are agreed up front – consequently we never built a price enquiry view into uzERP. Talon needed a price enquiry function but just used a ‘dummy’ order, which they would enter but not save, to get/check a price for a customer. They didn’t let us, as developers, know this was something they were doing – they had no reason to.

However, as at release 11.9 we ‘improved’ the order processing routine which, while making the processing and editing of orders slicker overall, messed up Talon’s price check use case. Despite testing by Talon this wasn’t picked up until after the upgrade and some customer facing users were a bit miffed (to say the least).

This happened on Monday but I’m happy to report that we’ve pushed out an 11.10 release today with price check uzLET which you can see below

Price Check uzLET

This is actually an improvement over the way they were doing things before and we’re pleased to have turned it around as soon as we have.. and so are Talon’s sales team!

There are positives and negatives here. On the negative…. we need to do more customer ‘surveying’ to find out how in practice our customers are using the system – difficult for a small company like ours. Positive – we’ve demonstrated to a strategic customer how responsive we can be.