The Power of Technology: How to Bring Logistics Into the 21st Century?
The biggest innovations in the logistics sector over the last half a century have been the introduction of sea containers and the migration to electronic waybills. However, MyDello, in cooperation with its development partner Uptime, now wants to bring the logistics industry into the 21st century.
The logistics sector sees nearly 10 trillion euros worth of business each year, but many of the sector’s business processes are exactly the same as they were decades ago: a client has to talk to dozens of different vendors to ship their goods, sometimes wait a day or more for estimates, and during all this, the client needs to know all of the steps their shipments have to pass through to reach its final destination safe and sound.
“If we take shipping something from Hong Kong to Tallinn, for example, there are almost 18 different parties involved. All of them have their own bespoke systems and software that cannot communicate with each other, and as such, they all require different information in a slightly different form,” explained Siimu Kaas, IT Manager of MyDello. “MyDello’s goal is to streamline and simplify this process for the end-user, e.g., the party shipping the goods.”
MyDello’s solution helps to solve the shipping puzzle for the end-user, harmonizing and consolidating everything necessary into one ecosystem. Within the MyDello platform, the shipper only has to submit information about the start and endpoint of their shipment, its dimensions, and the system takes care of the rest itself: the user is shown all of the various options available for delivering their goods, be it by air, by sea, or by land, alongside pricing info and delivery times. With this information at hand, the customer can make the decision that suits them the best.
“When using MyDello, the shipper does not need to know which steps their shipment has to pass through or which ports it needs to clear,” said Kaas, adding that in New York, for example, there are nine different airports and before MyDello, the customer had to know which airport was the right one for their shipment. “Our system is smart enough to figure out the most efficient and cost-effective route for a shipment to get exactly where it needs to go.”
The transparency offered by MyDello’s system also ensures significant price savings in many cases. “A company may have been using air freight for years, but our solution can show that using rail transport can be ten times cheaper and the delivery time would still be acceptable for the customer. No one has simply offered the shipper this option before because they have not known to ask for it,” said Kaas.
State of the art technical approach
Kristin Kuhlap, project manager responsible for MyDello’s development at Uptime, explained that the innovative approach and the ambitious plan to change the logistics sector with the help of digitalization created an opportunity to use the most modern and bulletproof technical solutions available on the market.
“The entirety of MyDello’s system is based on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which ensures maximized uptime and easy scalability,” said Kuhlap. The ease of scalability was also highlighted by Kaas – setting up MyDello in a new market is not a matter of weeks, but of hours.
Since MyDello is also a completely new solution, it meant that from the point of view of the development process there was no need to worry about any legacy code – everything could be created using the latest technologies and the latest versions.
In addition to providing users with the best possible user experience, the technical solution developed by Uptime also allows MyDello’s own team to stay up to date on everything they want – the system is integrated with several external systems, such as Business Central and Recommy, which means that employees have a real-time overview of everything going on.
From a technical point of view, Kuhlap also noted the use of Kubernetes, a tab-in-tab solution in the user interface, a tailor-made table generation solution based on AG-Grid, the use of RestfullAPI for the back-end and front-end communication, and using IronPDF to generate PDF files.
In addition to that, all of the project’s documentation is easily and conveniently manageable via Azure, which means that all parties can easily find the relevant information at any time.
However, the use of state-of-the-art solutions and the absence of old burdens does not mean that there are no hurdles or issues to overcome when it comes to the development process.
“The bigger and more complex the project, the higher the probability that something will happen at some point – what’s important then is to be able to solve these issues,” Kuhlap explained. “The development of MyDello’s platform clearly highlighted to all parties the importance of constant open communication between the customer and the development partner, the need for transparency, and constant testing of any completed phase. It is also sometimes necessary to stop for a second, review the whole process, review where we are and what has happened, and then get back to work, solve any problems, and come up with further solutions that will ultimately lead to a solution that everyone can be proud of. ”
Kaas shares the same opinion, noting that in the event of any hiccups, one should not just give up, but look at the big picture, refocus, and find solutions that suit all parties. “Ultimately, we have a working product that does what’s expected of it.”
In addition to the challenges presented by the process itself, one may also face some unexpected technical challenges during development. Siimu Kaas gave the example of Google addresses. “MyDello uses Google addresses to find the best possible routing. It may seem like a simple thing, but in reality, each country is different, the address formats are unique and contain more or less information, depending on the country. This means that the system must be able to take all of this into account, and a seemingly small and simple thing can become quite a challenge,” he noted.
Much is yet to come
MyDello has now been available to customers in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for a few months and the feedback so far has been very positive. However, this does not mean that the development process is over.
In addition to the fact that the development backlog still contains some of the technical solutions noted in the original analysis, artificial intelligence will be added to the MyDello system in the future, as well as features to make the system even more efficient and offer customers even more options.
“Our goal is to digitize logistics and we are moving towards this goal,” said Kaas.
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