Mainfreight is a global supply chain business with over 240 branches around the world. They offer sophisticated logistics solutions in and out of the most dynamic economies in the world. 


Background to the Project

One of Mainfreight’s core value propositions is the ability to streamline and manage transport and logistics for their customers, allowing their customers to 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.  

"Many customers have complex supply chain requirements due to the volume of transactions, diversity in suppliers, pressure to meet deadlines, difficulty in document management, high level of internal touch points or just plain difficulty in managing date variations.

Our customers' systems often have a gap in functionality and do not manage the workflow around the logistics component of their supply chain.  Instead they focus on planning, ordering, <GAP> warehousing and sales – missing that vital piece between ordering and warehousing. Mainfreight saw an opportunity to support the customer base with that missing piece.

What Mainfreight was lacking was a solution to support the ordering process and to help our customers actively MANAGE the orders to ensure on time delivery to the warehouse."  

John Eshuis, Mainfreight


Project Objective

The project objective was to extend Mainfreight’s value proposition deeper into their customers’ supply chain. This would 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.

The solution 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 saleable 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 would be:  

1. Easy to use and therefore easy to train. A typical customer would have 100-200 different parties accessing the portal. 

2. Customisable for each customer.  Each customer has unique requirements and we want to be able to say YES WE CAN in each case.

3. Able to manage documents in the supply chain process.

4. 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


Project 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 were 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 an award winning 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. 

Designertech approached the project 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.


How the Project has Helped 

Mainfreight has deployed the system to a major online retailer, increasing their 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 an order-orientated visibility of tracking and logistics.

Mainfreight are now actively marketing this. The system has extended Mainfreight’s portfolio of solutions, particularly for large customers.


Custom Software Development

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