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Delivering the Total Package for FedEx Freight
Growth by acquisition was an effective strategy for FedEx Freight in the late 1990s – first with American Freightways, then with Viking Freight.
Although their ownership was now the same, the companies’ systems were not yet integrated. Creating a unified solution required a systems integration team with expertise in both older and modern technologies. QAT fit the bill perfectly.
An Overnight Success
QAT had previously helped FedEx Freight create and implement a system for scheduling and tracking all processing jobs. The client-server applications proved to be a faster, less-expensive alternative to the courier’s mainframe-centric development. So when FedEx Freight needed staff augmentation to meet its tight systems integration deadline, QAT was a natural choice.
QAT ‘overnighted’ four senior developers to expedite the integration project. But another need soon emerged: a freight bill corrections application that would allow users and customer service representatives everywhere to change aspects of a shipping bill. Already taxed to capacity, the FedEx IT staff turned to their new partner for a solution.
QAT successfully condensed the design and code cycle to just three months over the busy winter holiday season, delivering and installing the application on time. But their biggest task was yet to come.
HQ’s Challenging Combination
FedEx consists of six distinct member companies. Because each one originally had its own tracking system, enterprise, business, and individual users interfaced with six disparate systems to track their packages.
Through a project dubbed Shipment Fusion, FedEx aimed to unite its entire family of companies under one seamless business system. This monumental undertaking was essential for maintaining the high quality of service expected from the FedEx name.
The challenge was substantial. All the companies’ different technologies and tracking systems had to be accessible by all client/server and legacy technologies, including C/C++, Java, AllFusion® Gen, Packages, Visual Basic, and Web. Each also had to provide real-time updates to the new, central J2EE and existing individual legacy tracking systems.
Massive rewrites or entire system replacements were simply too expensive to be viable options. So FedEx Freight again turned to QAT, whose expertise in bridging older legacy systems to the latest technologies proved invaluable.
QAT utilized two distinct skill sets to deliver a powerful, two-prong solution. Leveraging Freight’s existing Allfusion Gen legacy tracking system, QAT designed and provided coding support for a Web services wrapper – a first in FedEx – to enable updates from any system to integrate with the new central J2EE system and Freight’s legacy tracking system. QAT also designed and provided coding support for a state-of-the-art pure Java solution that provided the J2EE system with updates of Freight’s day-to-day operational activities.
FedEx Freight’s Web services integration wrap was so effective that other companies within FedEx are using it to integrate their legacy systems to the new central J2EE tracking system.
The entire Shipment Fusion project team at FedEx Fright, which included the Java/Web service/AllFusion Gen integration effort from QAT, won the Federal Express IT Hall of Fame Award.
Meanwhile, a relationship emerged that transcends the margins of a work order. Just as FedEx Freight prides itself on exceptional service, reliability, and on-time performance, the courier has found a systems integration partner with the same qualities.
Today, QAT serves as a trusted advisor on numerous development and operational IT projects. FedEx Freight often calls QAT first for answers and unbiased views to architecture and operational IT problems.