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eLogistics eAgregator

Background

Our client was considered the first same day courier e-aggregator and application service provider (ASP) to leverage the power of the Internet and B2B to automate the same day delivery service and payment process driven by recurring billing for all types of organizations, from very large to small ones.

In same-day logistics space, carriers charge different rates for different journeys. The differences go beyond a simple difference in distance per kilometer/mile. The way a particular journey is defined may also vary. For instance, some journeys called “point to point” are priced at a specific rate between two named places and can have one rate in one direction and a different rate on the return. Others journeys are priced per zone, with additional complexities when a journey crosses from one zone to another, and notions of inheritance can be used when one zone encloses another. Some journeys are simply distance based. Complex journeys may use a combination of several such methods.

The problems

  • how to model and store for thousands of delivery partners that signed up their prices and how to maintain them in the future with least impact for the delivery partner and shipper. 
  • how to seamless integrate with their existing platform, application, processes, so the status updates will be communicated to back our engine without introducing extra user activities.

First Steps

First of all we understood how this logistic industry operates, what are the common processes.

We started with contract first approach. We created a communication specification and then we identified the variants that can change a price (e.g. size, weight, hours of operation, day of operation, service level, number of pieces, vehicle needs, special conditions etc.). We extended the model with generic dynamic parameters that could be added at runtime. 

Challenges 

1. How to store each delivery partner’s pricing?
2. How to update prices?
3. How to integrate/communicate with delivery partners that had their own homegrown software solution?
4. How to inform shipper and receiver of status updates?
5. How to support and provide customer service with solutions to solve physical delivery problems?
6. How to create a reusable messaging specification for B2B communication in order to add new delivery partners?
7. How to aggregate customers, delivery partners billing and present the in electronic format that can be understood by their financial systems?

The solution

We applied service orientation design principles in order to identify and shape proper services collections.

  • Standardized Service Contracts
  • Service Loose Coupling
  • Service Abstraction
  • Service Reusability
  • Service Autonomy
  • Service Statelessness
  • Service Discoverability
  • Service Composability
  • Service-Orientation and Interoperability

Enabled business processes discovered in the analysis phase. 

Mapped our XML definition to other vendors specifications.

Created connectors for different vendors to be able to communicate with our engine.

Technologies:

  • webMethods
  • SOA, webServices
  • XML
  • SOAP
  • J2EE
  • Oracle

Non Functional Requirements

  • 1500 delivery partners
  • 10M pricing elements
  • response time under 5 sec.










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