Shipping company Estafeta has experienced rapid growth since opening its doors in Mexico in 1979. But as the company grew, managing the business also become more complex. For example, over the years Estafeta adopted multiple tracking systems to support different aspects of its shipping and logistics services. The problem, however, was that none of those systems were able to communicate with each other. That meant that the company had to spend hours each week manually reconciling the data — a process that simply wasn’t sustainable. Anxious to find a better solution, Estafeta turned to OutSystems for help.
Lots of Technologies, But Not a Seamless Experience
Challenge - Technology has always played a part in how Estafeta modernized its shipping and distribution business. In fact, the company began offering its customers Web-based tracking tools back in 1990. Ten years later, Estafeta introduced the first electronic invoice (DTR) system in Mexico, providing its customers with online electronic billing and payment services. That same year the company also updated many of its technology platforms, including its ERP, CRM, and tracking systems.
As Estafeta added new technologies, integrating them became increasingly difficult. Plus the sales reps and customers using the company’s applications needed a different username and password to access each one.
That, combined with the fact that the apps would sometimes display conflicting information, didn’t create a great user experience. Worst of all, Estafeta’s account reps spent four hours each week manually reconciling data from all the disparate systems to create individual reports for its key customers.
“We grew so large that it was difficult to get a summary of the customer shipments across our different applications. It was only by reinventing ourselves, and consolidating our systems, that we were able to provide the service our customers expect.”
Estafeta knew that the only way it could resolve these issues was to digitally transform its business at every touchpoint.
Weighing the Options: The Case for Low-code
Solution - In 2015, Estafeta took matters into its own hands. It set out to build an application that would allow its customers and employees to schedule pickups, track shipments, and access other information. These actions could be done from any device, quickly and easily, without needing to assign multiple usernames and passwords to each user.
The first step was to decide on a development strategy. As Carlos Cedano Villavicencio, IT strategic project manager, weighed his options, the low-code development platform that OutSystems offered stood out as a clear winner.
“Traditional waterfall development would have required far more time from the beginning,” said Villavicencio, recalling the decision he faced. “Then we’d need to factor in even more time to make modifications and changes at the end. With OutSystems, on the other hand, we could be in agile mode and make changes and fixes on the fly.”
Years of Frustration Eliminated in 11 Weeks
Results - The Estafeta development team produced their new application, MiEstafeta™, with OutSystems in just 11 weeks. The app provides a single portal where Estafeta customers and employees can access everything they need so that users no longer have to keep track of multiple sets of login credentials. Instead, with the new application, they only have to log in once to schedule pickups, track shipments, and enter and retrieve a variety of related customer and delivery information. In addition to being quick and easy, and providing a vastly improved user experience, MiEstafeta works on any device, offering the same look and feel no matter how users access it.
“OutSystems transformed how we develop applications,” says Villavicencio. “MiEstafeta was our first experience using agile development methods and it’s changed the way we think. Had we used a traditional waterfall approach and built the application in Java, it would have taken a larger team and six months to pull off. With OutSystems, we built the application in just 11 weeks — that’s 55 percent faster — and we did with just three developers and one team lead.”
The app has also improved how Estafeta customers view the company, helping to differentiate the business from its competition. “This business transformation demonstrates that we do more than deliver packages,” says Adriana Islas, Estafeta’s CIO. “As a strategic partner, we also provide real-time information to our customers through MiEstafeta, information that improves their logistics. We improved the user experience, providing KPIs, and easy-to-understand information with customizable reports that are really easy to use.”
- Used by 216 Estafeta employees
- 410 Estafeta customers
- 1453 accounts managed by MiEstafeta
- 1M shipments per month
- 4h saved per week
- MiEstafeta replaces three password protected sites, consolidating multiple tracking systems.
- Provides each user with a single username and password
- Enables employees and customers to see correct tracking and logistics information
- Offers customers a deeper view into their shipping activities
- Eliminates the use of Excel spreadsheets and the reduction of errors while obtaining the data
- Validates invoices against information generated by the ERP (SAP)