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Order Processing and Tracking System

A highly customizable order processing and tracking system for logistics companies designed to help managers, office personnel, and field workers with their daily tasks.

The customer needed an application that would cover the full order processing and shipment tracking cycle.

They wanted a modular system consisting of an application server, a desktop client, and a mobile client. Various data, including orders, routes, and destinations would be stored on the application server. The mobile client would be installed on PDA’s to assist drivers and other field workers in their tasks as well as track their location using GPS. The desktop client with a visual map would display location data and other information providing office staff with full control over shipment process.

The first challenge the team faced when working on this project was data exchange between mobile devices. Mobile applications use GPRS connection, which tends to fail very often (e.g., when the truck passes under a bridge or gets too far away from a mobile operator’s base station). Frequent interruptions make it difficult to obtain valid location data and track routes.

Tracking vehicle location and sending accurate data to the server in real time posed another challenge as the mobile client often switched into the offline mode and the GPS technology could not provide perfect location data. These factors affected the accuracy of the route displayed on the map and also increased database load.

The Mobile developers team developed a synchronization module that manages connection and data exchange tasks to solve the issue with data exchange between mobile devices. It restores connection, if it is interrupted, collects the data recorded in the offline mode, and sends it to the server, when connection is restored.

To solve the issue with tracking vehicle positions, the team configured the mobile client to save only those coordinates that comply with certain criteria:

  • Coordinates should be recorded every 30 seconds, provided the location of the cargo changes by over 100 meters during this period of time. Otherwise, the mobile client should wait for another 30 seconds.
  • Only coordinates captured by at least three satellites are recorded. This is done to achieve the required accuracy of up to 50 meters.

With these settings the mobile client could filter out redundant data and minimize the amount of coordinates sent to the server. Traffic load was reduced while location data and calculations of distances covered by vehicles became more accurate.

The customer received a solution supporting the full order processing cycle, including booking, planning, execution, tracking, and billing. It consists of modules that can be easily added or removed.

The sequence of procedures may be changed to customize the system for different workflows. The solution supports various languages and enables real-time data synchronization with other systems. Customer-specific fields and filtered data views can be added without recompilation.

The solution is highly customizable and supports various languages. It features customer-specific fields and filtered data views can be added without recompilation.

But most importantly, the software completely eliminates under- and overpaying by providing logistics companies with precise data for fuel cost and salary calculations.

Technology Stack

Server Platform

Windows 2008

Client Platform/Application Server

Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Mobile

Technologies

.NET Framework 3.5, WPF, WCF, WinForms, Custom developed ORM, GPS API

Programming Language

C#

Database

MS SQL Server 2005

Database Design Tool

Visio

Modeling Tool

Visio

Development Environment

VS2008

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