Through TMS Automation to Higher Performance and Better Customer Services
packages sent daily
delivery status tracking
MailStep is a leader in professional fulfillment services not only for e-stores. It provides its clients with a complete solution for warehouse management – from receiving goods, their recording and storage through dispatch and handover to the carrier to tracking of delivery status. These services are provided to both smaller e-stores and the largest ones on the market.
We are grateful that, in addition to collaborating on the TMS that is the subject of this case study, we have helped the company to increase warehouse efficiency with MailWise and increase fulfillment capacity thanks to the MailShip platform.
Digitalization and automation of the shipping process
The client’s initial way of handling communication with carriers was no longer satisfactory. There was a risk of losing key clients early on, as the solution was struggling with performance issues. So the company decided to take a step forward – by investing in a new platform that would have the capacity to handle the growth of its clientele and deliver an even better level of services to its clients in the long term.
After a series of analyses and workshops, where we defined the client’s vision and expectations together, we started to develop a new system based on completely new foundations at the turn of 2021/2022.
Quick and straightforward MVP and its subsequent gradual development
The chosen development strategy was to implement basic functionalities that were verified and tested on a single carrier. This initial solution was developed in a way that it would allow for the gradual addition of other carriers – simply and without significant intervention in the code. This strategy allowed us to design an architecture so general that additional carriers could be added with only minimal impact on the existing solution. This is despite the fact that each carrier uses a specific solution.
In the same way, the solution was successful in implementing new functional requirements that gradually emerged during the addition of new customers, as well as further expansion of services based on the offer of individual implemented carriers, including the provision of transport to countries around the world.
The solution was given the name MailStep Transportation Management System (TMS). Its basic function is to automatically receive requests for package transport and arrange for their delivery. In greater detail it is:
- Receiving transport requests from other systems (currently WMS) via the integration interface.
- Sending the order for package transport automatically via the integration interface to the system of the selected carrier.
- Creating and assigning a label to the packages according to the selected carrier and its service, which the TMS obtains from the carrier or can create itself according to the carrier’s specification.
- Continuous delivery status tracking based on the information from the carrier and transferring the information to the system that sent the transport request.
- Possibility to trace detailed information about what happened in the system and when it occurred within each individual shipment.
- Monitoring the health status of connected carriers' systems.
Continuous development of new versions of the solution was carried out by a team of three developers and one analyst/product owner. It flexibly addressed all newly identified needs and shortcomings that emerged on the go. These were mainly related to the system for adding new carriers, but also changes on the WMS side, which forwards shipments to the TMS for delivery.
The system has been successfully tested on smaller customers and is currently onboarding medium and large customers with medium and big customers with thousands of orders per day. At the same time, as part of the strategic planning, together with the client we have created a backlog of further improvements (new functionalities) that are going to be implemented in the future.
As part of a dedicated TMS team, we covered:
- Assistance to the client with requirements definition, business and IT analysis and transformation of the original assignment into a technical form.
- Modification of the brief and overall implementation plan in line with the discovery of new requirements on the go.
- Design of the solution architecture.
- Backend written in PHP and NodeJS.
- Implementation, testing, analysis and elimination of logical inconsistencies in communication with other systems.
Gradually, more and more clients from the original system migrated to the MailStep Transportation Management System. In the production environment, by the time of the handover, we were already registering thousands of packages for delivery daily from dozens of clients, including large players on the market.
The TMS is a robust and versatile system ready for further expansion and the performance load that comes with adding new customers, carriers and services offered by carriers. It has been developed in an agile manner, so development has not interfered with the functioning of the system.
Our solution was handed over to MailStep's full management at the beginning of 2023 as a perfectly functioning product that received great feedback.
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