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Case studies
Supply Chain Management System - Abstract Technology Outsourcing

J2EE-based Integration for Supply Chain Management

The Client

The client is a big fabric provider in Asia. Since the scale of the client's company is growing day by day and its relationship with external sub-companies becomes closer, the existing systems couldn't satisfy its business needs any more.

What the client wanted

The client desired a much more advanced Supply Chain Management system which could transfer information, data, message, raw material etc from one phase like supply, manufacture or distribution to another in different directions. For every department involved, this system sent out coordination instructions to obtain feedback and master corresponding information in time, accordingly, achieving the management with efficiency, speediness, high-quality and low-cost.

Abstract Technology must integrate several separate systems to provide real-time track on raw material transfer and make the flow of operation more fluent. The departments involved technical department, sales department, distribution department, warehouse department, Compounded, etc.

The system must guarantee the fluency and smoothness for all the activities among these departments and keep better track on all the transfer of products, materials and so on.

Challenges

  • There were several separate existing databases needing integration, the biggest difficulty was the structure of the databases couldn't be changed and there was little connection among these original databases due to the relative independence of each department.
  • The system should meet the needs of database migration because the client would use Oracle as the database instead of SQL Server in the future.
  • The project schedule was tight.
  • Clients requirements were not fixed and need to be optimised during the development process.
  • The business procedure was complex because many external and internal departments were involved.
  • Abstract Technology would provide remote support after the Alpha release.

Approach

Abstract Technology was involved in this project from the analysis phase, and went through design, development, implementation and remote site support. We designed the system based on the Functional Specification provided by client and delivered the design with System Design Specification Document including architecture diagram, class diagram, sequence diagram, data flow diagram, and solution architecture as well as software component design. Abstract Technology developed the system based on the database design provided by client.

In order to make the hierarchy legible and easy for maintenance, we adopted 3 layers B/S structure according to J2EE standard and used open source framework Struts for a standard mechanism of transferring data between the presentation tier and the business logic tier.

As an important part of Apache Jakarta, Struts is popularly used in the Java Web Application development. In this system we used Struts to realize the following functions:

  • Routing: distribution of every page and the related logic processes.
  • Validation: customer end and data end Validation. Some business logics, such as types of data, range of value are realized in Struts. We took full advantage of Validation module in the Struts framework.
  • Presentation: by using the Taglib of Struts, the confliction between UI design and coding was avoided and the web maintenance became more easily.

One issue of the development is to integrate the existing databases into one system. According to our development experience, we recommended the client to adopt Hibernate to solve the problem. Hibernate was a powerful and effective Object/Relational mapping solution, which we used to construct the data layer. We used Hibernate framework to realize the data-groups compounding of separated databases. This transparent data management added high flexibility and expansibility to the logic layer.

Other third party modules we have used:

  • DBCP: provided the support of data connection pooling.
  • Log4j: log module.
  • iText: pdf format support.
  • Jakarta serial open source module, for example: Jakarta commons and so on.
  • Displaytag: table tag library.

Benefits

  • Access to better control of the system.
  • Reduced maintenance and operational costs.
  • Improved communication among different departments expediting the real-time transaction.
  • A flexible and scalable system.
  • Timely and accurate inventory reporting.
  • Convenient database migration.
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