PalletFORCE, the palletised network owned by its 88 shareholder member depots, is moving to a full track and trace, electronic proof of delivery, real-time transport management system (TMS) , developed by Progress OpenEdge application partner Trans-aXion, as part of a major investment to re-vamp its IT operation.
The TMS (Transport Management System) will be hosted by Trans-aXion at 3 data centres in Southampton, London and Belgium, and offered as a service providing software on demand, via PCs and broadband Internet connections to PalletFORCE and its members who operate depots throughout the UK and Europe.
PalletFORCE is one of the fastest growing companies in the relatively young, 10 year old industry, which provides a solution for smaller palletised consignments that are too big for collection and delivery by van, but too small for economic operation with larger trucks. PalletFORCE has carved out its niche by selling on quality of service, and since its formation in 2001 the network now operates around 2500 vehicles and capacity has recently doubled from two warehouses to four at the Lichfield central routing hub.
Trans-aXions TMS is an end-to-end solution meeting every need of the express transport business from order entry, shipment, depot and hub management, electronic proof of delivery with signature collection via GPRS, scanning, track and trace, and CRM to billing.
PalletFORCE carried out a thorough 12-month long evaluation of suppliers, initially not finding a good match for their requirements on the original short list of three until Trans-aXion entered the running late. TMS facilitates a massive leap forward enabling us to grow the size of the network without compromising the commitment to service and provide real-time systems visibility to our members and their customers, says Jayne Hawkes, who led the PalletFORCE IT Project Team.
With Trans-aXion, PalletFORCE is introducing fully integrated wireless warehouse scanning and weighing, which together with real-time track and trace is expected to save around 20 man hours per day in handling discrepancies throughout the network and dramatically improve customer service. Full information stored on the central Progress OpenEdge database will be available instantly on screen at every step of a pallets journey.
Trans-aXion has created a modern and innovative solution designed from the outset for a service-oriented architecture (SOA), developed entirely using the Progress OpenEdge business application platform and deployed on the OpenEdge database. Integration of services, is handled by the Sonic ESB, (enterprise service bus) which dynamically connects, mediates and control services and their interactions and enables easy integration of TMS with the PalletFORCE members own internal systems. The PalletFORCE network has immediate access to information on the central database, which is mirrored between Trans-aXions three data centres for resilience and added security and offers full recovery in the event of any failure.
The Progress/Trans-aXion combination gives us the best of both worlds, says Jayne Hawkes, cutting edge business applications from a specialist and innovator who understands our business backed by the reliability and stability of a global technology provider.
The new system is expected to go live in April.