DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ONLINE REAL-TIME PARCEL TRACKING AND MONITORING SYSTEM (A CASE STUDY OF NIGERIAN POSTAL SERVICE [NIPOST] )
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As children playing hide and seek, there seemed to be so many places where we could hide and never be found. With the world be-coming ever smaller through technology, hiding is increasingly difficult. Cameras peer down on us at red lights, in our workplace, in stores and even at home. Now, those cameras are being augmented by new technologies that track our cars, cell phones and possibly any product we buy. This location-tracking technology also is being used to streamline supply chains for corporations, seeking to move products to the market faster, and to monitor assets and prevent inventory loss. In view of the phenomenal growth in transportation industry and the trend of information technology in delivery first class service to the customer with minimal cost. This project aim to develop online and real-time transit parcel monitoring system to the NIPOST clients. Existing system is the way the system is being operated, that is the manual way of monitoring client parcel or freight. Since the existing system is done manually, it is imperative that we consider critically its mode of operation and analyse them. In monitoring the movement of freight and the ship or any carrier that carried it, the use of paper form was introduced which include the bill of laden form. The bill of laden form is the most important of all the forms required. The shipper sends the bill of laden in advance of the ship to the importer. The importer takes the bill of laden to the NPA (Nigerian Port Authority) central office for details about the ship and her located berth. The importer or its agent completes the bill of laden, cross checked and compared with the ship’s manifest. After certifying the correctness of consignee documents, a blank form called the delivery order is then issued out to the importer. The consignee or its agent complete the delivery order for and returns it to the shipping company, and then the delivery order is sent to the marketing department of the Nigeria Port Authority. After, the marketing department then raises all necessary bills according to the port regulation and their payment term, customer proceeds to the bank for payment; the documents are subsequently transferred to the transit shed or delivery point, the consignee then proceed to the appropriate shed or delivery point. After loading, cargo pass is issued to the consignee or his agent who then proceed to Nigeria Port Authority gate for security checks and final exit. In the old system of NIPOST company service, once a parcel or freight has been sent by the client, there is no way the client will know the position of that parcel until it get to the destination and acknowledgment message is sent from the receiver of the parcel that it has been delivered. This method poses a lot of problem to both the NIPOST clients and the company herself. Even the company wishes to feed the client back but since there is no means of doing such, both are incapacitated and everything is at the risk of the owner of parcel.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Location-tracking technology also is being used to streamline supply chains for corporations, seeking to move products to the market faster, and to monitor assets and prevent inventory loss. NIPOST’s online tracking is the fastest way to find out where your shipment is. No need to call customer service when we can offer you real-time details of your shipment’s progress as it speeds through the NIPOST Network on the way to its destination. Soon, companies also will be able to track your location. Imagine walking through your local supermarkets, and as you pass through the aisle, an electronic coupon for your favourite cereal is beamed to your phone.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Today’s rate at which clients do call the tracking agents and also the rate at which clients visit the NIPOST office to confirm the status of the parcel they sent through the NIPOST service channel is too high . At times, the NIPOST agent may not be able to say precisely whether the parcel has been delivered or not due to inadequate means of communication to the company while on journey and secondly, it is more prone to error due to data lost. The data entry and validation aspect of the old system are done manually, the system use the data entered as the basis for the tutorials schedule while all documents given to the clients are generated from the data collected and result of processed data for use. This process is often associated with high-levels of manual processing, limited tracking visibility and poor customer service (at least perceived). An efficient chain-of-custody proof-of-delivery (POD) solution becomes more and more important to day-to-day operations.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
In view of the phenomenal growth in transportation industry and the trend of information technology in delivery first class service to the customer with minimal cost. This project aim to develop online and real-time transit parcel monitoring system to the NIPOST clients. Following objectives:
1. To provide fastest and most reliable service to the client at all time, all days through mobile technology
2. To prove self-monitoring environment for the client’s parcel or freight on transit.
3. To ensure proper processing and dissemination of key shipping information for quick vessel turnaround.
4. To provide self-management and the unbending security in monitoring client’s parcels on transit
5. To ensure efficient management of port operations, optimal allocation and use of resources.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
In implementing the objectives of this study, the advantages of an E-tracking system over the existing system, i.e. the manual way of registering and monitoring the movement of freight or any parcel. Users will be able to tracking / access resource digitally without carrying books, journals, magazines etc which could result in rapid wear and tear of the paper documents. Besides, it will afford users the opportunity to see the current status and position of their goods or parcel. The proposed system will provide security to help track the movement of each ship and parcel carrier on transit. The system will also eliminate some of the routine manual work prevalent in the manual system of tracking.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this research work will be limited to the provision of tracking information provided by the NIPOST for tracking of client’s freight and parcels on transit as provided by the NIPOST agents.
1.6 LIMITATION OF STUDY
1. Some problems were encountered during the course of writing this project. These problems include, difficulties incurred while gathering all necessary information.
2. Financial problem was also one of the major problems encountered. For every material needed require money e.g. browsing so as to source for information.
3. Erratic power supply both in school and at home also hindered this project work in various ways.
4. The non-availability of a mail server also hindered the response management system as it was only simulated in this project work.
5. Also, the time allotted for the completion of the project wasn’t sufficient as it requires time to learn the programming tool used for the project.
6. In spite of all these constraints, the designing and writing of a well-documented project was achieved.