Customer service and eCommerce portal developed for largest logistics operator

Abstract

Our client is the largest logistics enterprise operating with 41,900 post office locations and 350,000 employees. It provides a wide range of services including domestic and international parcel delivery, mail, acceptance of payments, pensions and allowances payments, and money transfers, to one billion customers annually.

Previously, our customer’s Internet presence was simply a static information site. Users of this interactive client portal were able to calculate postage and shipping costs, track packages, and search for specific post office locations by entering certain parameters, and order courier deliveries. The company needed to start providing customer service capabilities.

While the client’s portal had an impressive list of services from the start, it quickly became necessary for the site to be in a constant state of development. There has been a continuous flow of new services and capabilities requests to be built and implemented.

First Line Software was engaged to develop new functionality for what was a static portal. We automated the ability for customers to order and pay for a range of services as well as maintain and optimize the performance of the system.

Project Development

First Line Software was engaged to develop new functionality for what was a static portal to automate the ability for customers to order and pay for a range of services as well as maintain and optimize the performance of the system.

The Solution

A First Line Software team of specialists implemented several major improvements to the customer’s portal:

  • No form required for parcel mailing When calculating the delivery cost of a mailing, the user can assign a parcel track number through the Portal. The only thing left for them to do is hand off the item to the post office or request a courier to pick up and mail or deliver the item.
  • Online payment Initially, only one city’s residents could use the portal to make payments for mail and shipping costs. Over time, the customer started supplying the necessary equipment to other post offices and regions. This made it possible to simultaneously expand the service of accepting online payments on the portal to other residents in the country.
  • Prompting and geolocation service Specific prompts related to entering addresses online were developed instead of using third-party commercial products. The customer’s address was verified with an internal online service which validated the address information entered by the user and notified users of incorrectly entered address information, then integrated the data with any forms.
  • Request a courier The portal user can submit a request for a courier to pick up and deliver the mail or package by completing a simple form.
  • Delivery to the postamat (automated parcel terminal) This function allows the client to order mail delivery to the postamat using an application form on the portal which also allows them to track the delivery status to the terminal.
  • User’s custom postcards The user can use their own design elements to create a postcard and order it to be mailed.
  • SMS notification of delivery status For convenient tracking of the mail or package, the user can request SMS notification of the delivery status.

The Result

Over a period of six months FLS implemented and scaled up several important business functions for the customer’s portal. Their ability to complete the project within a short period of time was due in part to the team’s technical expertise, as well as a customized and continuously optimized flexible development process.

The Technology

  • PostgreSQL is object-relational database management system (DBMS).
  • Apache Maven is a framework for project assembly automation.
  • Liferay is a platform used to build portals with integration to corporate applications.
  • REST (HTTP/JSON) is the main protocol for inter-service integration.
  • Java Development Kit 8 is a Java language application developer’s kit that includes a Java(javac) compiler, standard Java class libraries, examples, documentation, various utilities, and a Java Runtime Environment system (JRE).
  • JRE is the minimum implementation of a virtual machine required to run a Java application without a compiler or other development tools.
  • Apache Tomcat is an open-source servlet container developed by the Apache Software Foundation.
  • Apache Solr is an open-source full-text search platform based on the Apache Lucene project.
  • Apache Cassandra is a distributed database management system that belongs to the NoSQL systems class. It is designed to create highly scalable and reliable repositories of huge data arrays presented in the form of hash.
  • Apache Ehcache is a universal distributed caching system for Java applications and services.
  • SOAP Web Service is a structured messaging protocol used in a distributed computing environment.
  • JSP is a technology used to create content that has both static and dynamic components.
  • Feign is a simple and flexible HTTP client that is natively integrated with Ribbon and Hystrix.
  • Swagger is a framework and specification for defining REST APIs in a user-friendly and computer-friendly format.
  • Hazelcast is a Java-based open-source data grid.
  • Protobuf is a structured data serialization protocol.
  • Jetty is a Servlet container.
  • RabbitMQ is a message queue.
  • Netflix Feign is a Rest interaction.
  • Netflix Hystrix is Circuit Breaker fuse pattern implementation, which gives control over delays and errors in-network calls.
  • Apache Maven is a project assembly.
  • Slimer.js is an engine used to generate PDF and PNG images.
  • Apache Freemarker Templates are output templates.
  • Ehcache is an open-source code Java cache for general purpose caching.
  • Liquibase is a database migration management tool.
  • Vert.x is an application server.
  • Vaadin is a freely distributed framework used to create RIA web applications.

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