Custom Systems The Backbone of the Business

The Client

Interactive Freight Systems (IFS) made its name in the early 1990’s in the provision of a generic multi-carrier freight despatch system, SmartFreight®, which has resulted in the company becoming the undisputed market leaders in Australasia both through a strong focused growth strategy & competitor acquisitions.

IFS were pioneers in the field of true multi-level electronic data transfer within the Australian transport industry.

We have always taken the view that the transport & communications industry is built upon close inter-related partnerships between customers, freight carriers, freight consultants and software providers and try whenever possible to forge strong alliances with both clients & associated companies alike.

Business Demands

For IFS the various software applications are the backbone of their business. Not only is it necessary for the applications to be able to respond to changing business conditions it is most critical given the need to move vast volumes of data at peak times with the utmost reliability.

Business Objectives

Through the re-development of SmartFreight suite of applications as .Net applications IFS aimed to create a robust and flexible platform upon which to support a growing install base and provide a platform upon which to deliver additional services and functions.

Solution Description

A series of custom written applications to support the Freight Industry including;

IFS SmartFreight

Windows Forms based application, to produce required shipping documentation and thermal labels for domestic and international freight. Tracks shipments and manages freight costs.

IFS SmartFreight Express

Web Application version of the Windows Forms product

IFS Conprint

Bulk consignment note printing software, used by a variety of freight carriers

IFS FreightTrax

Hand held scanning software used by drivers and depot staff to track parcels through various stages of delivery

  • Software architecture is a mixture of VB and C#
  • Capable of using either a Access Database, or Microsoft SQL Server
  • Utilises .Net remoting to perform client/server architecture on Local area networks
  • Web services are used to communicate across the internet within the IFS network.
  • Consignment data from all applications is sent to a centralised series of web servers which reformat the data in the specific requirements of carriers, freight consultants and other third parties
  • Data communication with third parties is performed by SOAP, Web services, SMTP and FTP
  • Custom Data Synchronisation routines to maintain working data across IFS web servers, in both real-time and delayed.
  • Many web servers on a variety of ISP networks and in multiple locations to provide redundancy and compensate for large traffic requirements
  • Software installed in over 2000 sites
  • Customised Automatic updates
  • Approximately 25,000 emails and 2,200 files sent on a working day

Solution Benefits

  • Flexible programming architecture, including a plug-in model, to allow for customer specific customisations.
  • Includes a series of web based management screens, which run the business and operation of deployed software. Including billing, reporting, and KPI performance monitoring.
  • Allows for the deployment of the application into international markets due to ease of local tailoring and the multilingual and multicultural facilities. Currently deployed or in progress in a variety of countries including; Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada.

The result of the development of the SmartFreight family of products based around Microsoft products and recognised standards has allowed IFS to grow the business in Australia and expand into new regions including New Zealand, Ireland, United Kingdom, South Africa, Canada.