Mainfreight raises customer efficiency with new system

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One of Mainfreight’s core value propositions is the ability to streamline and manage transport and logistics for their customers, so they can focus on core business rather than the business of shipping and logistics.

The Order Management System (OMS) system was conceived as a way to add even greater value into the logistics pipeline for their customers; raising their customer efficiency and adding greater value to the vendor and supply chain pipeline.  

 

Objective

The project objective was to provide customers and their vendors an online portal and EDI interface, where they can manage supplier orders from initiation through to delivery. As a result, freeing up clients’ staff and systems and enabling them to focus on their core business activities. This would:

  • Provide a highly flexible automated human workflow between buyers and vendors that was both configurable and rule-driven, allowing each customer to define limits and workflows to match their order processes.
  • Consolidate visibility of both order statuses and associated transport and logistic statuses – making issues highly visible, with appropriate escalation.
  • Effectively co-ordinate both human parties and systems, making sure the right data is available at the right time for decision making. Exceptions to the process are also managed early and effectively. 
  • Create a sellable solution that Mainfreight can take to market, with a strong value proposition aligning with their already strong transport and logistics offerings.

 

"We saw an opportunity to allow customers to manage large volumes of orders and vendors, by managing the workflow proactively. We needed a solution that was: 
  • Easy to use and therefore easy to train. A typical customer would have 100-200 difference parties accessing the portal
  • Customisable for each customer. Each customer has unique requirements and we want to be able to say YES WE CAN in each case
  • Able to manage documents in the supply chain process.
  • Manage by exception. The type of customers where this solution makes sense, live in an environment of high volume and low resource levels."

John Eshuis, Mainfreight 

Summary

The build project was design-led using graphic artists to drive the UI/UX of the application throughout all phases of the project. Mainfreight was able to “see” in real-time what they were getting via online design presentations shared in multiple countries.

A flexible workflow driven state transition engine was built on top of architecture that had already been implemented intentionally to be able to be reused for multiple application purposes for Mainfreight. This dramatically accelerated the initiation of the project.  

The OMS is a large state transition and rules engine combined with a data store. It allows complex decisions to be made automatically, co-ordination of tasks between multiple parties (all with separate views) and processing workflows that allow proactive monitoring and alerting. 

The project was approached in a flexible and responsive manner, allowing details of the requirements to be provided during the development. As a final result, the end product met the end requirement.

 

Outcomes

  • Mainfreight has deployed the system to a major online retailer, increasing its value to that customer.
  • By providing a task-orientated web interface to both their buyers and vendors, workflow-driven processes, batch email notifications and integrations to ERP systems; the buyers and vendors are able to streamline their processes and focus on core business activities.
  • The solution is highly flexible and configurable, based around rule-based workflows enabling clients to configure their own workflows & rules, interacting with them through a dashboard.
  • The web interface provides order-orientated visibility of tracking and logistics.
  • Mainfreight is now actively marketing this. The system has extended Mainfreight’s portfolio of solutions, particularly for large customers.