Case Study: Coastal Pacific Xpress
This whitepaper briefly describes a recent project that used !Tsuite and its sister product !Tgateway to resolve a client challenge encountered in the trucking industry.
Coastal Pacific Xpress (www.cpx.ca) provides flexible and tailored solutions, encompassing truckload and less-than-truckload services and the necessary warehouse and distribution capacities to augment the over-the-road services.
CPX has received tremendous value from !tSuite as a database integration tool. JAAT Solutions were able to quickly understand our business need and translate it into an automated process that is seamless and stable. Their attention to detail and responsiveness made the development process smooth. I will not hesitate to use them again in the future. Clint Hall
The client challenge was fairly straightforward, being a desire to pull third-party refrigerated trailer tracking information from the tracking provider (Thermo King) web services into the scope of their trucking management system (Truckmate), to improve reporting opportunities. There was also a stated desire to reuse this data for additional purposes at a later date. One of these extension uses followed quickly on the footsteps of the first effort because of the satisfaction of the client with that initial step and the work of the JAAT Solutions team.
Scope of Solution
The initial scope of the solution was to access the data from the third-party web services API, draw it down periodically, and then insert it into a purpose-built data table.
The decision was made to deploy !Tgateway, a sister product of !Tsuite, which allows for custom connectors to pull data from any source specified by the construct of the connector. Existing !Tgateway core code was deployed, and a new Connector (the Thermo-King Connector) was written to attach to the API and draw down validated XML from the API. !Tsuite was then deployed with a custom job to insert the data into the custom table (which, according to client desire, was embedded in the context of the reporting source database). From a technical viewpoint the following technologies were deployed.
From a purely process viewpoint the flow of the solution was thus:
The simplicity is evident in that process flow, but there were several challenges in the scope of development of the solution:
- The possible mutability of the Thermo-King Web Services API, which was being modified at that time, which forced abandonment of the WSDL construct in favour of a POST and GET model;
- The need to be certain the Connector could account for desired data conversions (this feature-set is built into !Tgateway, but the Connector configuration needed to support them); and
- The need to test thoroughly to ensure that incoming data was reliable before the client risked introduction to production.
!Tgateway was deployed using the new Thermo-King Connector and set to cycle on a 5 minute interval, drawing down the raw XML from the web service. This worked flawlessly, and this XML was processed by !Tgateway to better conform to client needs, before being saved to a monitored directory on the client server. The monitor service of !Tsuite detected the dropped file and processed it using a custom !Tsuite job, which injected the rows into a database table stored in the client’s primary reporting database along with supporting audit tables.
Because of the success of the solution an immediate add-on used another !Tsuite job to aggregate the data to a summary table, using a single SQL statement in a timed !Tsuite job. Because of the stability of the solution, this add-on took almost no additional time.
Products and Features Used
The product features used for the solution were:
- !Tgateway, using the:
o Thermo-King Connector.
- !Tsuite, using the following components:
o Editor, to create jobs to fulfil the necessary tasks;
o Monitor, to watch for new XML files and launch the jobs as needed;
o Runner, to execute the jobs as triggered; and
o Watcher, to report on the success of the jobs.
Resulting Client Benefits
Resulting from the solution, CPX was able to take advantage of the solution in several ways:
- They gained dispatch visibility into refrigerated data from within their primary operational system (Truckmate;)
- Now have a full audit trail inside their operational system in terms of tracking interactions;
- Have gained automated odometer updates to their equipment file;
- Can provide a valuable single-view for dispatchers; and
- Have a fully automated and simplified approach to collecting Thermo-King refrigerated trailer information.
By using the dual powers of !Tgateway and !Tsuite, the CPX solution benefited from disengaging the receipt of outside data from its processing, allowing the !Tgateway middle layer to process and verify the data. All-in-all, the project was a great success and a useful small-footprint solution that met the client’s needs.