FedEx is the biggest delivery service company in the world, offering quick and reliable deliveries in over 220 countries. It is present on the Polish market since 1989, offering international freight forwarding services. In order to realise its strategy of expanding the service network in Central Europe, in 2012 the company acquired Opek sp. z o.o., expanding the Polish freight forwarding network by 44 new local branches, new automated distribution centre, as well as trans-shipment centres. In the same year the company opened 26 new branches in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland and Sweden. Currently, the company implements the strategy of opening to the e-commerce customers, expanding their infrastructure and optimising the customer service processes in that regard.
Project background – circumstances of implementation
In 2014 the FedEx company faced licensing issues standing in the way of the functional development of the company’s IT infrastructure. The architecture of the system, used by the company to that point turned out not to be fully adapted to the business targets assumed as a part of the adopted strategy, and therefore the company had taken action in order to identify the possibilities of replacing the current system.
System provider selection criteria
The requirement set to the potential providers – connected with the assumption that all organisational processes were to remain in motion – was to carry out the implementation, which included the replacement of all previously used IT solutions with new ones in a very short timeframe, in such a way that would not endanger the fluidity of the processes concerning the areas of customer service and logistics.
Alfa Projekt, as a company which had a portfolio of ready and tested system modules, prepared for quick implementation, which also fulfilled all the functional needs of the company was invited to the negotiations. An important argument was also the fact that Alfa could prove the reliability and the efficiency of their solutions with proper documentation. During a sped-up series of workshops with the Client’s team, the team of business analysts from Alfa Projekt developed a detailed plan of implementation, including the schedule of work, which was accepted by the other party.
The course of implementation process
The plan assumed creation of a parallel, stable system environment, in which integrated modules responsible for supporting the particular processes: Accepting order from the Customer/Sender and processing this order (dispatching centre). The modules were adapted to the data format used by the Client and prepared for accepting the traffic.
Thanks to great commitment of the Client in the process of preparation of the project and very efficient cooperation between both teams the change of systems could happen overnight – after stopping all the processes on one day, they were all restarted in all branches, working on a new infrastructure on the very next day.
Functional scope of implementation
2014 – Stage 1: Implementation of iKlient and connected logistics modules.
The scope of implemented systems covered:
- iKlient module – which is a client web-application, allowing the Senders to carry out all the actions connected with the process of sending a package, such as:
– preparation of waybills, adapted to all the standards of services in the Client’s offer
– selection of additional services from the offer
– estimating the cost of the service
– requesting a courier – placing an order to pick up packages from specified address on a selected hour (the feasibility of the service is automatically verified)
- Dispatching centre – a module designed for streamlining the current pick up orders from the Customers, queuing the orders using a defined method, allowing the operator to fully verify the order’s data and service feasibility
- Accounting – a module allowing for efficient accounting process and issuing statement invoices with deferred payments for the Customers with varying settlement periods, as well as detailed summaries of the services offered.
- Tracking module – the development of which was based on a thorough analysis of logistics processes in the Client’s organisation, allowing both Senders and Receivers full access to the information about the status of every ordered service.
2015 – Stage 2: The implementation of Mobile Courier System
The continuation of the process of supporting the processes in the Client’s organisation with a dedicated IT system was an implementation of Mobile Courier System – a mobile platform communicating the mobile devices used by the couriers with the company’s central system.The Mobile Courier System implemented by Alfa Projekt was to be used for:
- Grouping the Customers’ orders based on their location
- Automatic verification of the courier’s availability/service availability in expected timeframe
- Automatic verification of order feasibility ad-hoc
- Real time control of the delivery plan fulfilment for every courier.
The Mobile Courier System was integrated with 1450 courier devices, communicating with the central system in teal time. The process of configuration and launching the devices in all the branches took 3 months.
Effects of the implementation on business
The first stage of the implementation, concerning the robust implementation of a complex logistic solution resulted in a notable effect, namely increased effectiveness of processing Customers’ orders. Moreover, using an advanced ordering tool, released for the use by the Customers became an important argument in negotiations with potential partners. The development barrier in the company’s IT system has been definitely removed, due to modular structure of the implemented system, as well as its full scalability, which results in the possibility to further develop the system, while preserving its efficiency with the increasing scale of the company’s operations.
The realisation of the second stage allowed for a significant improvement of the effectiveness of the courier teams, working in the field, as well as increasing the punctuality and delivery rate of the packages. It also improved the quality of control over the processes, especially in real time.