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shipping system based on weight, size - I need help understanding process....

Thread began 6/13/2016 5:51 pm by Christopher West | Last modified 6/14/2016 4:53 pm by Ray Borduin | 313 views | 8 replies |

Christopher WestCommunity Expert

shipping system based on weight, size - I need help understanding process....

Hi all, ok I am having problems looking into the logic of setting up the follow shipping system.

The types of products are furniture.

So, items could be a small candle, bedside lamp, chair, table, bed etc. So varying weights and sizes.
Because of the product range the client is using 3 different shipping companies.
Royal Mail (for small items)
Parcel Force (for small to medium items)
PalletWays (for large items)

Each of the above have their own weights, sizes and delivery options and different tiers.

Now all this can be quite complex. So I am am working it out with the client so that we try and simplify it in some way, I need you guys help here.

on the basket page we will just have one delivery option (standard delivery) then the system will work out total weight of basket and calculate the totals for height, width and depth. taking these calculations it will then cross reference with what is stored in the system to calculate the cost. I think this system would work fine if it was single items in the basket, but because the basket can consist of varying sized/weight items and quantities of those, this is where my head is hurting trying to work out a system I can code.

I have already created admin pages where the client can create shipping costs, by entering the following data:
shipping option
shipping max weight (kg)
size (small, medium or large - (royal mail, parcel force or palletways).
shipping cost

I think thats all I need.

in the products table I am storing product height, width and depth separately and product weight.

Would it be easier for me to also create another field in the products table to categorize the product as either small, medium or large, that way I am force a certain calculation?

I am worried how I would work out the calculations? especially working out multiple products in basket, for example in the same basket, a customer orders a large bed which would need to be delivered by PalletWay as its a large bulky item, and in same basket, maybe 2 lamps with is more bulky to be classed as a small package for royal mail but small enough to be classed as a medium package for parcel force. These are my concerns?

It doesn't matter for the customer to know how many delivery companies will be used, I just need to calculate the shipping charge and then the client will determine the best delivery companies to use.

Can anyone give me any feedback, insights or tips please?

I need to most simple of solutions since I need to code it all in.

I need to get this done asap. thanks for reading.

Chris

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Ray BorduinWebAssist

You have to first figure out how the client would ship and then find logic that mimics it. What would actually happen if someone ordered a large bed and two large lamps? They need to define that first and then you could try to add logic to the site to mimic that.

Do they ship items separately using different carriers? Do they combine the items into one larger package and make a single shipment? First thing is first, clearly define how they do it and then you can see if you can figure out logic that mimics their decision process when shipping.

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Christopher WestCommunity Expert

Would it be logical for the following idea:

Categorise the products into different delivery tiers, the very large items (which would in reality require a longer delivery time) would be exempt from delivery calculation as this item would be sent seperatly (the client could add on extra onto that product price to compensate that it would be added to the final delivery cost) then my calculations would be easier on the smaller items where I could calculate the weight and size and determine the delivery cost on those only?


Chris

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Christopher WestCommunity Expert

Well from what I know so far, the client would probably separate the delivery, because a large table or bed may take time to delivery, yet a small candle could be sent same day from the local post office next door to clients shop. The customer doesn't need to know this at checkout, once the client gets the order then they can determine best delivery method (which of the 3 delivery companies).

I think first I should check the basket if it's only one item, as that calculation would be straight forward and relatively easy to do. Does that make sense in terms of logic?

But then my problem is when there are multiple items in basket. Would it be best to categorise the products as small, medium and large (stored as a value of 1,2 or 3) in the product record. Then in my calculations group the products into their corresponding size tiers and then calculate their weight and then height, width and depth) and determine the cost value that way?

I'm just not convienced that I am doing the right type of calculations. Because if I categorise the products as either small, medium or large (which relates to the 3 different delivery companies, then if I have several items as small then their total weight and size may then full into the medium delivery category. I'm so confused. Are you or anyone can provide proven methods?



Chris

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Ray BorduinWebAssist

You won't be able to do it perfectly since it would take some human logic to figure out what can and can't be packaged together and how to fit them into what size box depends on the precise shape of the package. Writing an algorithm to capture that logic would be extremely difficult.

You will probably have to generalize and over simplify the logic to get something good enough. So I think saving the volume of each item might make sense in your case with the weight. (volume = height * width * depth)

Set thresholds for what volume is considered large, medium, and small (this should directly correspond to their delivery method decision).
Maybe you assume all large items are shipped individually.
Small and Medium items are packaged together with a maximum combined volume, and then shipped based on the combined volume.

That logic might be more reasonably calculated and may allow you to estimate shipping well enough to satisfy your customer.

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Christopher WestCommunity Expert

Hi Ray, this is helping a lot to get my head around the calculations..

(1) So would you think I should save the volume calculation in the product record...or I could do the calculation at checkout and save it as a variable?
(2) So I would also think when creating a product, that the client would assign it small, medium or large and have that saved in the product record.
(3) One thing I am wondering with this logic, if a customer orders one large and one small, the website would calculate it to the use the PalletWay company, as they will send large orders since they use pallets. However lets say that the client would separate that order into 2 deliveries, since the customer would receive the small item sooner as its a quick walk to the post office...but then that would mean the client would lost out money on delivery costs as the customer would have paid for 1 delivery method, but the client would send out as 2 deliveries...I guess that's up to them though,
(4) The client has provided me with the 2 different delivery companies price list, they are so indepth because each delivery company has different pricing tiers (I figured to use the 'middle tier, as there are only a few pounds in it either way. I guess its all about taking the average cost. Since its the best guess.
(5) One delivery company even has a price structure for 'zones' these zones are made up of the first 2 letters of the postcode, as it gives the location in the country, so will determine traveling distance...but I think it would be best to not use 'zones' since this would increase the calculation formula.
(6) I think maybe is to take all 3 delivery companies price list and try and determine similarities in pricing and take the average of those,
(7) So the product will store the weight and size.
(8) the shipping cost table will contain many records that will determine the cost by "weight up to" and "size (HxWxD) up to" plus delivery method (standard deliver) and the . This would then be cross checked with the related weight and size "total" of the shopping basket and then the cost is selected (the website doesn't need to know what the delivery costs relate to which delivery company....as its up to the human interaction to determine which delivery company best suits the scenario right?

Chris

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Ray BorduinWebAssist

1) I'd add a volume column to the cart
2) You can determine small medium or large based on volume so they shouldn't have to assign that separately
3) You could have logic that uses two delivery methods in this case if that is what the customer would do
4) I'm not sure about that, maybe ask the client
5) I would use the zones since you can store that in the database and easily filter for it on the checkout page... I imagine it is significant.
6) Maybe compare the three and use the cheapest option
7) Yes
8) You would break up the cart into packages and then could evaluate each package and cross check the delivery companies for each package to find the best rate.

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Christopher WestCommunity Expert

ok, my next question, would you think that using the ecart object itself to check for all these different shipping rules? would it be capable of such conditions?

to give some context, this is the pricng structures I have (2 of them are screenshots)

Royal Mail
Weight: up to 5kgs
• Size: Rectangular: up to
610mm x 460mm x 460mm
Tubular: up to 900mm in length
(Diameter restrictions apply)

For medium and large delivery please look at the pricing structure screenshots...

So from the screenshots and above royal mail can you see it to be a relatively easy process to setup?
Notes: (1) for medium only going to use Express48 and (2) for large only going to use Economy and maybe only Full Pallet pricing.
Does these screenshots give a better context on what I require? and if possibly ecart shipping rules allows me to define these rules?

if you look at the large.jpg screenshot, the reason why its best to ONLY use the Full Pallet Economy pricing, is that if you look at the variances in pricing compare to the Half Pallet and Quarter Pallet, its not that much extra. only a few pounds here and there. So makes sense to simplify it this way right?

Chris

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Ray BorduinWebAssist

It is complex enough so that you won't be able to do it in the cart with rules. The cart rule would probably just charge the amount stored in a session variable and you would need custom code to loop through the cart and determine package sizes and rates and store the result in the session.

I think it makes sense to simplify it in any way that is acceptable to your client.

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