Throughout the year 2023, significant changes in the interplay between IT and logistics have manifested. Recent events have underscored the essential importance of flexible and resilient supply chains to successfully navigate unforeseen crises. In this context, increasing transparency and efficiency in the flow of information between all elements are indispensable.
At this level of digitization, innovative and intelligent systems, as well as real-time communication technologies, come into play. The theme of “Freight Forwarding 4.0” took center stage at the 6th DVZ Conference in Frankfurt am Main this year. Here, the requirements for modern Transport Management Systems and progressive supply chains were intensively discussed and defined by leading logistics experts. Our participation not only allowed us to showcase our solutions at the prestigious conference but also affirmed that we are developing an innovative solution.
In the course of 2023, the functionality of our comprehensive logistics software, Xfreight, was expanded with groundbreaking features and functions. Our focus is on sustainable, forward-looking solutions that positively impact internal business processes, communication, and the entire digital network. The most important new features are explained in more detail below.
1. Our freight forwarding software Xfreight was completely converted into the programming language AL
In 2018, Microsoft initiated a radical shift and ushered in a new era with an innovative programming language called AL (Application Language). The previously used language, C/AL, in which our logistics software Xfreight was developed, was undoubtedly flexible and allowed for adjustments directly in the system core. However, this flexibility came with its own challenges, particularly in terms of the upgradeability of the ERP solution. Thoroughly reviewing the existing code required significant time and was associated with considerable financial costs.
This is where the Microsoft programming language AL comes into play. The fundamental idea is the use of apps. The standard code of Dynamics 365 Business Central is essentially an app, and any code developers write is released through one or more apps in the system. When updating the “core app,” the rest of the code remains untouched. Everything is clearly delineated and cleanly structured.
Transitioning to the AL programming language introduced a considerable challenge for us. Our all-in-one solution, Xfreight, for internationally operating freight forwarders had to be completely “translated” to meet the latest requirements. In 2023, we achieved our goal and presented Xfreight fully implemented in the AL programming language.
The changeover to AL brought with it a further advantage – fast and secure expansion of the standard system to include customer-specific adaptations. In 2023, we optimized numerous processes for our customers and delivered them as apps. Among other things, this means that digital financial accounting is tailored to a customer’s needs and made available in a short space of time.
3. New Role Center
The Role Center in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central represents a customized homepage whose functionalities are optimally tailored to the department and role of the respective user. In 2023, we developed a comprehensive and logically structured role center in Xfreight. Administrators can create individual profiles for each employee according to their areas of responsibility. The assignment of the role is considerably simplified and accelerated by predefined and thematically structured fields. This is a significant advantage for the user, who is not confronted with unnecessary information and, thanks to the personalized interface, gains a better overview of relevant data.
4. Order Management System (OMS) & Artificial Intelligence
In 2023, we dealt intensively with current topics such as artificial intelligence, transparent supply chains, real-time data exchange, advanced automation and the implementation of new technologies. The central question was how we can best integrate these diverse challenges. Our goal was to relieve our customers of manual work processes and at the same time provide them with effective tools that enable them to work more easily and efficiently
Significant progress has been made in this direction. Through the automatic exchange of information between Xfreight and our document management system, the supply chain becomes not only more stable but also more transparent and interconnected. Artificial Intelligence plays a crucial role in reading and extracting data. The status of orders and relevant information in the Order Management System (OMS) are updated automatically and can be viewed transparently by everyone involved.
5. Track & Trace
In the past year, our customers benefited from another groundbreaking innovation in the supply chain: Track & Trace. This system allows authorized users to track shipment status and additionally serves as a platform for efficient data exchange between suppliers and end customers, depending on authorization.
6. CO2 Calculator in Xfreight
In 2023, we not only developed innovative solutions for technological advances, but also paid particular attention to the acute climate crisis and environmentally conscious measures. With the introduction of our newly developed module, CO2 values along different transport routes can now be recorded. This not only provides our customers with increased transparency regarding their ecological footprint but also the opportunity to opt for alternative, more environmentally friendly delivery routes.
We are excited about the diverse progress we achieved in the field of IT logistics in 2023, both in small and large developments. The continuous improvement of Xfreight to a higher level is not only a challenge for us but also brings us much joy. We hope you enjoy our forwarding software just as much and invite you to read the second part of our review of 2023.