Logistics software for delivery services

swissconnect has always relied on its own specially developed logistics software to process the fastest deliveries in Switzerland.

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Even before the founding of swissconnect ag in 1999, the requirements for its own logistics software were set down. Even then it was clear that, in addition to the physical express deliveries, the associated data would have to be transmitted quickly and securely. In addition, the software would have to determine the fastest and most sustainable route from sender to recipient. It is crucial that the entire network, which today comprises 80 professional courier firms and 10 railway companies from all over Switzerland, is connected to a central logistics software. Every individual express delivery is processed within it.

The multi-modal courier platform represents a sustainability innovation in Europe and swissconnect ag is considered a pioneer with its concept. It allows for nearly CO2-neutral transport performance thanks to the 'bike / train' combination. Particularly noteworthy is the ICT platform for handling its services together with 80 courier companies and ten railway companies.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Stölzle Director of the Institute for Supply Chain Management of the University of St. Gallen, Chairman of the Jury Eco Performance Award

swissconnect ag: a courier and technology company from the start

When swissconnect was founded over 20 years ago, the individual couriers communicated with each other via landline phones and fax all across Switzerland. When the first version of the specially developed logistics software was launched in 2001, two years after the company was founded, it was an absolutely pioneering achievement. Orders for express deliveries within the swissconnect network could be recorded and processed centrally via this IT platform. As a result, communication between couriers has been largely digitised, the administrative workload reduced, and quality increased. Since the very beginning, swissconnect has been not just a courier company but also a technology company, and was recognised for this pioneering achievement in 2019 as part of the Eco Performance Awards, the leading European awards for sustainability in the transport and logistics sector.

swissconnect unites the largest network of professional courier companies and has always relied on central data management in the company's logistics software. From order receipt to shipping coordination and preparation of data for the invoicing, everything takes place in a software specially developed for the purpose. The customer can send his order quickly, autonomously and completely digitally to swissconnect via web form, customer login or API interface. In the event of an order by telephone, the necessary data is manually entered into the system by the swissconnect staff. The logistics software selects the fastest path between sender and recipient. On the one hand, the rail connections of 10 Swiss railway companies (SBB, BLS, RhB, etc.) are used in real time and, on the other, the availability of the 80 courier companies in the swissconnect network is checked. This means that the fastest and most ecological transport variants can be determined.

Usually, four companies are involved in the unique swissconnect transport system:

1. The local swissconnect partner company that picks up the urgent consignment from the sender and loads it onto a closed-off compartment of the train at the nearest station.
2. The train company that transports the urgent consignment free of traffic jams, punctually and with low emissions over greater distances.
3. The local swissconnect partner company that unloads the consignment from the closed-off compartment of the train and personally hands it over to the recipient.
4. swissconnect, as a central contact partner for the customer, coordinates and monitors the entire process.

In most cases, the combination of several courier partners mentioned above is the fastest, most ecological and most cost-effective way to transport goods. This swissconnect transport system is unique in Switzerland and provides the customer with the appropriate means of transport at the right time and the right place. In the case of urgent large and heavy consignments, the software automatically points to a direct journey and we offer a courier with the corresponding means of transport who can take the consignment from the sender to the recipient without reloading. In addition to holiday planning, a CO2 calculator is also integrated. This calculates the pollutants saved, since the software selects not only the fastest but also the most ecological route.

Personal shipment monitoring

swissconnect insists on the highest quality. The trained employees thus monitor all software-supported express shipments and can personally intervene in the event of any deviations. All planned and current shipments are displayed on their monitors and updated with real-time information. This means that, for example, delayed trains or track changed are noticed immediately. This allows tracking of shipments and offers the employees at swissconnect the opportunity to inform the customer proactively by telephone, should a shipment be expected to arrive later than planned for once.

Interfaces to internal and external systems

The major partners of swissconnect see all shipments in their area directly on their dispatcher’s own monitors and can pick up swissconnect orders themselves. In addition, swissconnect offers an in-house courier app, with which smaller partner companies and the individual bicycle and car couriers can obtain information digitally. All common interfaces to internal and external peripheral systems are offered and are used productively. These include REST API, SOAP Webservice, Flat-File and XML interfaces. This means, for example, that railway personnel are automatically informed about an impending express delivery or customers can transmit orders to swissconnect directly from their familiar ERP system (e.g. SAP).

The open e-business platform of swissconnect combines Switzerland's numerous local courier companies and railway companies into a high-performance value-added community. Coordination is largely automated, accelerated and error-reduced through the platform.

Jury Best of Swiss Web Award Netzwoche 5 / 2015

swissconnect has been the national market leader in express deliveries for corporate customers since 1999. Especially in B2B deliveries, the focus is on a safe delivery, since important goods are at stake. In digital processes, too, swissconnect does not compromise on security. Our logistics software is a PHP application based on the Symfony framework, whereby the data storage is undertaken by a MySQL database. All data is transferred via HTTPS and access is secured with a username and password. All systems are monitored and run on a managed server incl. automated failover. Exceptions trigger notifications to the responsible bodies. The web application is secure and hosted exclusively in an ISO 27001: 2013 certified Swiss data centre; 24/7 support is guaranteed.

The unique swissconnect logistics software has been in its current version since 2013 and is developed constantly. These new developments are meticulously implemented according to the SOLID Principles and maintenance of legacy code is based on the Boy Scout principle: leave the area/code tidier than you found it. Regression tests are performed automatically by our CI server. Any change is also monitored by static code analysis to ensure that coding guidelines are strictly adhered to. The swissconnect logistics software, known affectionately "Mathilda", was awarded silver in the Best of Swiss Web Award in the Business category in 2015. "The open e-business platform of swissconnect combines Switzerland's numerous local courier companies and railway companies into a high-performance value-added community. Coordination is largely automated, accelerated and error-reduced through the platform”, said the jury.

Tom Suhr
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Tom Suhr
Head of IT
041 227 20 09