As one of the top three logistics brands in Taiwan, this client fulfills the responsibilities and “delivery” expectations of international brands.
As the number of orders increased, the order-tracking system familiar to the client was unable to handle the load. Even the client’s internal system needed to become bigger and more efficient.
When this client decided to choose a development company, there were several necessary criterias:
- The development team must be a trustworthy and quality brand. No assembly of refitted parts. No technical debt.
- Perfect technology transfer, so that the internal team may take over seamlessly after the system is completed.
With expectations regarding product quality, the client decided to choose 5xRuby, the company with which they had had excellent experience with collaboration. We were expected to help link together the complex procedure of logistics tracking to help them increase work efficiency and enhance service quality.
While deconstructing the specifications, we faced several challenges related to the unique characteristics of the logistics industry:
- Accuracy v.s. shipping efficiency
In the logistic industry, speed is everything.
In the past, in order to meet delivery objectives, some data were roughly entered when goods were received, and accuracy took second place. It was more important to be quick and start the goods shipping process, and to make corrections afterward.
At this stage, even though speed was important, the old system lacked flexibility such that subsequently, a large number of IT staff was required to perform manual corrections. However, the team responsible for handling shipping operations could not make adjustments by themselves. Therefore, even though the goal of speed was met, a huge labor demand was required to finish the process.
On the other hand, if every field was verified when the data was entered for the first time, the speed of shipping would bog down.
Thus the first challenge was to effectively reduce data entry errors without affecting the delivery speed.
- Invoice automation
While shipping goods internationally, monitoring of the status of flights and trucks is closely linked to the commitment to the client’s customers.
While delivering each order, the delivery route often spans multiple time zones / multiple cargo flights / multiple trucks.
In the past, since there was no verification of accuracy when the data was first entered, there could be various different entry styles according to varying habits of the staff who was responsible. Errors were also unavoidable with manual calculation of time zones. Problems after problems made tracking even more difficult, which inadvertently increased administrative costs.
The shipping information is always necessary while creating an invoice to bill the customers. In the past, to create an accurate invoice, the information for questions one and two must be corrected before the process may proceed. The payment request was frequently delayed for several weeks to one month.
- Cross-order query report
Due to database design problems in the old system, it was impossible to query data of a single field. Whenever situations arose, such as goods from one order were assigned to different flights / flight transfers were required / goods were assigned to different trucks, it was impossible to generate a query report for orders of a particular date or any customized query conditions. This issue made it more difficult to manage the shipping business.
First, for customizable data such as flight numbers and time zones, we changed the data entry method such that it was built-in and managed by the administrator, instead of the need to be written by hand. The 5xRuby team created a dynamic time zone conversion system capable of calculating the local arrival time at the destination based on the cargo flight departure time and arrival conditions, which made order management more convenient. Since the client had customers with offices located all around the world, based on different time zones around the globe, the system may automatically calculate the shipping method / shipping condition / the departure and arrival time of a particular order number, and integrate all into SLA.
Also, the database was restructured to enable query reports based on cross-orders / cross-time zones / freight / flight number. The team and management personnel may create a delivery report with customized search criteria based on management requirements. This measure has allowed the client to better understand the status of all deliveries, and enable better service to their customers.
During the development process, our client also assigned an engineer to station at our office. Whenever there were technical questions or anything requiring clarification, we would quickly discuss and resolve the issues. Our team shared our technical knowhow directly with the client’s IT personnel, which indirectly helped the client’s team to take over the system after implementation.
After the new system was launched, the average monthly data entry error rate of 10 to 20 errors improved to nearly zero error per month via adjustment of front-end input verification field, automatic flight information entry, and cross-national time zone calculation.
Moreover, the automated invoice function greatly enhanced the efficiency of payment operations. Due to heavy workload, previously there were several payment-request delays per month, each lagging an average of 2 to 4 weeks. The problem has been completely resolved.
After the project was completed, 5xRuby provided comprehensive system documentation to facilitate a smooth transition and take over by the client’s internal team.
We pride ourselves in our ability to transform extremely difficult challenges into possibilities, to help clients resolve problems while completing projects that boost our own self-respect.