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    Project Fashion is built to support daily business of an international trading company who specializes fashion products. Main functions of the application include product management, customer and vendor database, order management (both sales and purchase), and inventory management.

    The company is based in US with two subsidiaries in mainland China. Its challenges lied in multiple folds. First, orders and updates are emailed back and forth which is error prone and can be quickly out of sync with reality. Second, operation becomes unaccountable when critical data points are missing, eg. who made the last modification 2of a sales order? Third, vendors are operating in Europe and North America time zones while the company's customers are in China. The time difference and geographical separation between the two ends make information flow difficult without a centrally maintained information repository. Cloud drives were tried but still they lack the capability to provide a coherent view for both sides.

    On top of these issues, the company was to launch an initiative to develop an e-Commerce platform for its customers and vendors. This calls for a backbone system that can support not only the company's currently offline operations, but its strategy going forward.

    Without a further delay, I will introduce the core functions and design considerations in these articles:

    1. product and inventory
    2. sales order and purchase order
    3. reporting

    — by Feng Xia

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