Case Study 3 - Courier Linkage
Sage 200 Courier Linkage
Company: Walls and Floors
Requirement: To interface Sage 200 to Courier Software
Our client, a successful distributor of tiles across the UK, made frequent bookings with various courier companies, including Interlink, for the prompt delivery of tiles. The high volume of deliveries, often exceeding 100 deliveries a day, was labour intensive and also prone to error and administrative investigation when deliveries were late or lost.
A transparent link from Sage 200 was required to post deliveries directly to the Interlink software.
The Interlink software resided on a dedicated workstation running bespoke software provided by Interlink and a solution was required to transfer Sage 200 dispatch data to this software.
Additional information, not stored in Sage 200, is also required by the Interlink software.
Finally, the consignment number generated by the Interlink Software needed storing in Sage 200 to reduce investigation time when a customer query is received.
A bespoke C# .Net module was developed to sit inside Sage 200. Using Form Scripts, a new field was added to the Sage 200 Sales order that enabled selection of various couriers (ParcelForce, DX, Lombard, Own Transport or Royal Mail) as a delivery method, and when this occurred a new form is presented to the operator to request information that is required by the courier software but is not stored on the Sales Order, such as the number of packages involved and the delivery timescale required.
Once all the additional data is entered, the bespoke module generates a consignment by linking to the varied courier software systems and if successful receives an acknowledgement containing the Consignment Number.
The consignment number is then stored in a new field on the Sage 200 dispatch record so that users can instantly interrogate Sage 200 to resolve telephone enquires chasing or questioning deliveries.
The system was a pilot venture and was highly successful. Processing time reduced very markedly and address accuracy increased. Almost at once an addition was commissioned to add bar codes (using Draycir Spindle) to picking notes so that bar-code scanners on the dedicated dispatch workstations could be used to reduce processing speed even more.
Since the original bespoke module was installed, Walls and Floors are now considering extending the scope of the solution, to include:
- Addition of automatic courier selection in Sage 200 using rules based on order weight and delivery postcode. This includes the dynamic calculation of consignment weight on screen during order entry.
- Posting of the courier references to the Walls and Floors website to allow customers to track their own deliveries.
- Generation of a loading manifest for Walls and Floors own transport, providing a route list and map pinpointing the driver delivery locations.