Customer Case: Cargo World Network Portal
Project completed: 2016
Link to Project: portal.cargoworldnetwork.com
Business domain: Freight and shipping
Cargo World Network (CWN) is a global network of freight consolidators. Using IT to enable collaboration and integration between the network member companies increases their competitive edge against freight consolidators that are not part of the network.
Manao Software won the project to provide custom software development services to design, code, test, deploy, and maintain a new cloud based portal, the Cargo World Network Portal. We successfully delivered a turn-key solution consisting of a responsive web application and mobile apps for iOS and Android.
The Cargo World Network Portal offers many benefits:
- Track & Trace of Shipments
- Tariff Rates Management
- Sailing Schedules Management
- Single Customer Service Point
- Reporting and Insights
- Collaboration and Communication
Focus on the Business Domain
Manao Software uses Domain Driven Design (DDD) as our approach to developing custom software for businesses. Understanding the business domain of a client is crucial to successful project delivery. The business domain of CWN is in shipping and freight and it's an area with lots of business lingo, abbreviations, and other barriers that make it hard for outsiders to understand what's going on.
We involved a Business Analyst from the early stages when the client's requirements were still being formed, and we spent a lot of time and effort talking about possible approaches and likely pitfalls, helping CWN to define the scope of work, all the while learning the proper shipping terminology.
Integration of Cargo IT Systems
The cargo business, including shipping companies and agents, freight consolidators, freight forwarders, and logistics companies, is a business with shrinking profit margins when one looks at the development over the last decades. Competition is fierce and companies are turning to IT as a way to improve efficiency and stay competitive.
The Cargo World Network Portal acts as a central hub that provides integration services to the members. It allows each member to integrate their own cargo IT system (e.g. CargoWise One, or Descartes) with the portal through a mapping which transforms their XML shipment manifest files to a format that can be imported into the portal for track & trace and reporting purposes.
The XML files exported from a member's cargo system, e.g. CargoWise One, are transmitted to the portal using simple and tried-and-true channels such as FTP or email attachments. This means that even member companies that don't have a cargo system that can automatically transmit XML files can still benefit from the integration service by manually sending email attachments or tranferring files using an FTP client program.
Once an integration is set up and running, Manao Software continuously monitors the health and assists the member in case there are any invalid XML files that get rejected.
Software Development Methodology
At Manao Software we use Agile/Scrum as the main project management methodology during the initial software development. The iterative development gives us the right mix of flexibility to accommodate changing client requirements, while keeping overhead low. For later maintenance we use Kanban because it's better suited to ad hoc support tasks with varying levels of urgency and importance.
The CWN Portal is a modern, cloud based web application running on the ASP.NET platform. Major technologies and frameworks used include:
- ASP.NET MVC 5
- Entity Framework 6
- Command Processor pattern
- REST/JSON web APIs
- Structure Map
- Microsoft SQL Server
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