I have recently finished work on a back-end service that is constantly running and checking for returns from Amazon, for over 30 seller accounts now but it could easily handle 1000. This bot monitors amazon accounts for all removal request that are made and then tracks those orders, collecting data on the products, the descriptions, images, sale prices, shipping information such as tracking numbers, which products will be in which shipment and how many units will arrive. This bot helps a company manage products that were originally sent to Amazon as Prime eligible items that did not sell or were returned or exchanged. When the seller has then returned, the bot will find all the products and gather all the details required to automatically track incoming packages, allowing for them to feed the data into their warehouse software, which will allow the team to prepare space for incoming products in mass. Then using the data collected it will then integrate with other software which will then automatically list the products for sale on alternative sales channels at prices and rates that are thought to be the ideal price for moving the units. The amount of time and effort that it would take to manually handle what this bot does over and over 24/7 without ever resting would take a small workforce. Instead, you have a computer running a background process automatically interfacing with multiple platforms built in multiple programming languages, connecting to a variety of systems all working together for a common goal.
Most of my scrapers, bots, data miners and such I can’t really talk about due to the confidentiality agreements I have with the companies I build them for. I really wish I could talk about some of them because some are just mind blowing awesome. This one I can talk about so I figured I would post about it as I am trying to keep my blog updated at least once weekly. As a developer, I am trying to get in the habit of blogging about problems and scenarios I run into working as a freelancer in the hopes that some of the information will prove to be informative and even helpful to someone at some point.
I don’t think that many people understand the value in incorporating automation into their business models. It is a shame that business owners and management aren’t aware of what kinds of benefits that accompany having a software developer analyze your day to day operations and create custom software to help reduce the cost of labor and to increase proficiency. Most of the smaller companies I work with (50 or less employees) tend to miss a lot of opportunities to take advantage of these benefits, especially since they are the ones who really need to make sure they are keeping their operating expenses at a minimum so they can focus on expanding their company instead of wasting resources on staff that perform the simplest of tasks that are repetitive and time intensive. I am going to be working with a new company starting the week after next and I will be helping a company that has been around for 14 years retool their entire standard operating procedure. After 14 years, so many processes have become inefficient, work-a rounds have been turned into habits. At the end of the day you have a system that is working but it is not as efficient as it could be. Currently, 16 employees are currently handling data entry tasks 8 hours a day 5 days a week. I will be sure to write up weekly reports over the coming weeks explaining my initial findings, the recommended course of actions, the priority level of the areas we intend to restructure, any 3rd party services we intend to use and an overall assessment of the level of productivity per dollar spent by the employer and then compare the results after the overhaul. I think this will be an interesting case study that will help me help anyone who reads it to help see the benefits of automation. I am looking forward to using PHP, C# and Python on this project, so look forward to a diverse set of code snippets and ideas put to practical use and their effects on a business in real time.
I was going to post up some MWS API PHP code, but right now in its current state I need to add some commenting and such before I feel like showing it to others. I will update this post when I am finished with the additional documentation. I think a lot will find it useful for interacting with the MWS API. It will also show how the process of requesting reports and pulling reports works and how to best avoid throttle limits. Until then happy coding everyone!