How do you build efficient data flows in the transport sector?
New, efficient data streams for transport information and communication
Platform integration with OutSystems
The numbers behind the ride
OutSystems sets data in motion
Verhoeven.eu serves several large-scale customers. They often have specific requirements regarding reliable and timely delivery of their valuable goods, as well as the need - at any time during the journey - to have access to updated transport information. The automated processing of orders and invoices was also high up multiple wish lists. Finally, each client managed its own internal handling systems and communication between on-board computers and central transport management had room for improvement.
With the new customs regulations for transports to the United Kingdom now in force, the provision of timely and reliable information has become even more important.
As a transporter, Verhoeven.eu was using a lot of unlinked digital systems. It was time to take advantage of the benefits of digital integration. An integration platform is a system that makes the control of how all these different applications exchange data with each other easy. For example, no information is lost and there is no need for (constant) human intervention.
Integration platform as data hub
What does a good integration platform do? It keeps data connected, prevents "point-to-point" connections between systems and reduces interdependence. iO developed the integration platform for Verhoeven.eu in OutSystems. Developing in OutSystems platform enables integration of new systems via, REST APIs and SOAP web services, as well as the import of EDIFACT messages (Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport).
In the past, EDIFACT messages were presented manually in Excel files. The OutSystems integration platform automates this so that Verhoeven.eu clients can deliver automated EDIFACT messages - without the intervention of an employee. Transport is arranged in the integration platform and then sent to the transport management system.
Light at the end of the Eurotunnel
Verhoeven.eu installed a new on-board computer system and linked the data with the existing transport management system. This improved the flow of real-time data, for example, planned trips are sent to the onboard computers via the integration platform. The information from the onboard computer system is then sent back to Verhoeven.eu via the integration platform. Information is also shared by email and sent to document locations on the local Verhoeven.eu network.
Verhoeven.eu is primarily a European operation but this field has changed radically for transporters since Brexit. For example, new customs rules are in place and import declaration are now mandatory, and a separate application for digital boarding passes for the 125 weekly Eurotunnel journeys is also essential. These requests are now made centrally from the transport management system and then forwarded by the integration platform to the UK’s HM Customs and Excise and Eurotunnel. Information regarding the request is sent back to the transport management system via OutSystems.
Why low-code with OutSystems?
Our choice for low-code platform OutSystems was no coincidence. Low-code has several advantages for the development of an integration platform. Setting up the integration platform is a vision of the future in which more and more systems can be linked, and processes can be automated. In this sense, the project is never 'finished’, and low-code development is a major asset, especially in the following areas:
Extensive integration capabilities
Adjustments or extensions are both time and cost efficient
The platform offers standard release management, monitoring, and logging
The visual design makes integrations less complex. Less code and more insights
A low-code platform takes many repetitive standard tasks off your hands and thus reduces the risk of human error
You build a solid foundation for efficient dashboarding and information delivery.
A future-oriented project like an integration platform is never finished. The addition of new modules and technologies means there is a constant need for adjustments to link them together and ensure a smooth flow of data and information.
Today we are also working on integrating WhatsApp for direct communication with drivers. This is part of our commitment to constant technical innovation because we are always looking for new ways to make more connections with large clients. To be continued...
Is iO the perfect technological partner for your brand?
Contact us at iO. We would love to hear your story and see how and where our end-to-end expertise can help you to achieve your goals.
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