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Microsoft Biztalk Server for ECS

Microsoft Biztalk Server for ECS

Business Case

Cronos created a complete custom ERP solution for ECS.
ECS is one of the main players on the market of short-sea container transport in Europe.
The central nervous system of this ERP solution is a planning module which keeps track of a fleet of 500 trucks and 4000 containers in an optimal way.
Therefore, different kinds of data exchange are done between road transport, shipping, railway companies and clients.
Due to the high volume of orders each day, speed and flexibility of the planning environment is crucial.

In this proof of concept, the architecture with Microsoft Biztalk Server was chosen to fully automate the communication process between ECS and its main trading partner DDTrans.

As such, ECS communicates transport orders to the external world in a fully automated way. As a direct consequence, ECS is informed on a real-time basis by its trading partners via analogue processes.


Communication ECS - DDTrans

The planning environment of ECS generates transport orders in XML-format. These orders are picked up by Biztalk Server and sent to the trading partner.

By using the messaging queues, Biztalk Server can process high volumes of transport orders, even if the trading partners can’t handle the same volume.

To accomplish this, Biztalk Server uses its message queues, so that if communication fails the order is being put in the retry queue.  After a predefined number of retries, it's moved to the suspended queue and the system administrator is notified by e-mail.


Communication DDTrans - ECS

DDTrans can add information to the order line such as:

  • Confirmation of the truck and driver
  • Identification of trailer and container
  • Start and end of the task in the order line
  • Estimated time of arrival
  • Remarks and reason for delay

The updated transport order will be sent back to the Biztalk Server at ECS. Biztalk Server will validate the incoming transport order and make the necessary updates in the ECS database.


Used technology

  • The File Polling Receive Function of Biztalk Server is used to poll for transport orders generated by the ECS planning application.
  • All transport orders communicated between ECS and the trading partner are being validated against a format.
  • The HTTP Receive Function of Biztalk Server is used to receive transport orders from the trading partner.
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