In previous units, we have described the technological capabilities that Bill Wiley wants for servicing his customers in our package delivery system analysis and design. One of the problems that Bill has is that his company is very small, so he cannot afford to develop any special-purpose equipment or even sophisticated software.
Given this limitation, Bill’s request for advanced technological capabilities is coming at an opportune time. Equipment manufacturers are developing equipment with advanced telecommunications capabilities. And freelance software developers are producing software applications—many of which provide the capabilities that Bill needs.
The one caveat is that since this will be a live production system, it needs to be reliable, stable, error-free, dependable, and maintainable
Let us review some of the required capabilities of the new system, which has been described in previous units:
- Customers can request package pickup online via the Internet.
- Customers can check the status of packages online via the Internet.
- Customers can print mailing labels at their offices.
- Drivers can view their schedules via a portable digital device while on their routes.
- Drivers can update the status of packages while on their routes.
- Drivers can allow customers to “sign” for packages that are delivered.
- The system “knows” where the driver is on his route and can send updates in real time.
- Drivers can accept payments and record them on the system.
Bill Wiley (management)
- Bill can record package pickups from the warehouse.
- Bill can schedule delivery/pickup runs.
- Bill can do accounting, billing, etc.
- Bill can access the company network from his home.
Given these requirements, do the following:
- Make a list of the equipment that Bill should purchase to support his new system. Include all equipment that will be needed for the home office, the drivers, and at Bill’s residence. Identify and describe actual equipment that can be purchased today. Estimate the cost of the equipment.
- Describe any special software that may be needed. The software engineer is developing the application software (package scheduling and processing, accounting, etc.), but no special software is required for connecting the devices or communications between them.
- Develop a network diagram showing how all the equipment will be connected. Identify Internet connections, VPNs, and telephony links as appropriate.