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Supply Chain Visibility Platform Gets a Microservices Refresh

Ship with shipping containers

A Chicago-based logistics information company launched their advanced visibility platform in 2014, becoming the logistics industry’s only 100% digital supply chain visibility provider.

Facing exponential growth, the company needed a way to consolidate multiple services onto their logistics platform. The platform aggregates data provided by third-party services that incorporates GPS data from IoT devices to track the various modes of transportation required in a single end-to-end shipment, including air, ocean and ground. The client’s platform allows end business user customers to gain insight into the status of their multi-modal shipments.

To streamline the platform using microservices, our client required experienced and skilled software engineers with knowledge of cloud native technologies.

Based on a proven track record with SPR, our client turned to us to continue partnering and supporting their products. After working with SPR’s experts through the UX process and design of their tool, our client knew SPR has highly talented resources that could help them redevelop their industry-leading platform in accordance with development best practices.

Company Growth Yields Platform Complexities

Having grown tremendously, our client expanded the platform to include more modes of transportation and data sources to support their more than 500 chain supplier clients. With our client’s rapid success, the platform had to grow quickly and the effort to maintain the platform also increased.

To help the platform aggregate shipment details across more modes of transportation, they strategically acquired industry competitors and other data source providers. With acquisition activity driving some of their growth, our client needed software engineers with a high level of talent to transition the system away from a single massive and complex unit to a more modern microservices-based platform.

From Monolith to Microservices

To streamline the platform, our client developed a microservices architecture wherein every data source, representing one of the many modals the platform supports, was represented by an individual microservice. The architecture for the new platform created microservices for air, ocean, rail and other travel stages. As a shipment makes its way through the transportation process, microservices switch on for each modal and switch off when the shipment has progressed to the next one.

With the new architecture in hand, they turned to SPR to help build the platform. Our team of talented engineers, product owners and scrum master, worked with client teams to develop aspects of the microservices architecture. The SPR team followed best practices, preserving code quality by testing everything they implemented. Each microservice has its own CI/CD (continuous integration and continuous delivery/deployment) pipeline and code repository. All new features and fixes are tested manually, put through automated regression testing, and are subject to code review and two levels of approval before they’re released, ensuring high quality code within every microservice.

Fully Independent and Scaled On Demand

The modernized platform makes updating, deploying new features and integrating new data sources less cumbersome. Each mode of transportation is now fully independent and can be easily scaled on demand. As they continue to grow, SPR collaborates with their teams to add additional components, modes and features to increase the platform capabilities to satisfy our client’s business and customer needs.

Technologies Used: Microservices (implemented with Java 11 and Spring Boot), Kubernetes, Docker, Google Cloud Platform, Apache Kafka, Kibana, Grafana, Jenkins, Elastic Search