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Multiple Carrier Shipping Software - Options

I wanted to check with the xTuple community and see if anyone has implemented any Multiple Carrier Shipping Software and integrated it with the xTuple app. I’m looking for software that meets the following requirements:

  1. Supports rate shopping all of the major carriers UPS, FedEX, DHL, USPS, etc.
  2. Support e-mailing tracking information to customers
  3. Works with xTuple through ODBC or equivalent

Optional:
4. Can run on Linux and Windows
5. Uses Postgres or MySQL and not MS SQL Server

Any feedback or suggestions a greatly appreciated!

xikar,
You can currently connect UPS WorldShip and FedEx CAFE to xTuple using ODBC. It does, however, require a good deal of technical comprehension of database structure. In the case of FedEx, a FedEx tech rep has to come on site and reprogram CAFE to your specifications.

I have at least two users who have sponsored other enhancements like yourself that are interested in UPS/FedEx integration directly embedded in xTuple (each one is a separate programming initiative). Would you be interested in participating with them? If so, it sounds like we have a consortium here.

John

John Rogelstad
xTuple
119 West York StreetNorfolk, VA 23510

john@xtuple.com ([email:1hkk6bn8]john@xtuple.com[/email:1hkk6bn8])
(757) 461-3022 ext. 106

On Mar 25, 2008, at 11:55 AM, xikar wrote:

[quote:1hkk6bn8]I wanted to check with the xTuple community and see if anyone has implemented any Multiple Carrier Shipping Software and integrated it with the xTuple app. I’m looking for software that meets the following requirements:

  1. Supports rate shopping all of the major carriers UPS, FedEX, DHL, USPS, etc.
  2. Support e-mailing tracking information to customers
  3. Works with xTuple through ODBC or equivalent

Optional:
4. Can run on Linux and Windows
5. Uses Postgres or MySQL and not MS SQL Server

Any feedback or suggestions a greatly appreciated!

[/quote:1hkk6bn8]

Post generated using Mail2Forum at xTuple forums

If you are currently working on implementing UPS and FedEX native integration, now would be the time. I’m not sure if we would be willing to commit to this or not. I’m still working on our PostBooks implementation. Hopefully in the next 2 weeks we will be up and running. Once we are using the system for day to day operations and I get a better understanding of how our process flows, I think we would be in a better place to make a decision.

I don’t know what your current requirements for adding UPS and FedEX integration are, but combining a system like this would no doubt add several levels of complexity.

  1. Support for more carriers; USPS and DHL. I guess these could be added at a later date. A modular setup would be best for adding additional carriers.
  2. Rate shopping at shipping. The prefered service-level shipping methods (like Ground, 3-Day, 2-Day, Next Day AM and Next Day PM) would be entered at S/O entry. When the package is at shipping it would be weighed and the best rate/carrier could be picked.
  3. Support for DIM charges.
  4. Shipping box inventory system to tie into DIM charges. Tell the system which box you are using and it knows the dimensions and takes into account if DIM charges apply and then selects best rate.
  5. E-mail tracking info to customers would have to use the Batch Manager which PostBooks does not have. It is also best to batch the emails for end of day in case you need to cancel a shipment and redo it. The email would also be canceled so the customer doesn’t receive two e-mails.
  6. Allow flexibility for the freight charging. The system would need to know your negotiated rate and allow you to charge the customer that rate, published rate, or whatever you want in between as well as a handling fee, hazmat fee, or fuel charge.
  7. Easy reporting on carriers. Allow you enter your negotiated minimum for one carrier and easily see how close you are to meeting it. This way you can give them priority until you meet that minimum.
  8. Parcel Insurance and Address validation are also part of some of these systems.

xikar,
What you are describing is a substantial development effort that extends pretty far beyond what I was imagining. It would take a great deal of time and expense to engineer that. There are many products that specialize in doing this sort of thing that might be better suited to the task for a whole lot less money. For example check out [url=http://www.trueship.com:1ljys0nr]www.trueship.com[/url:1ljys0nr]. If that makes sense, then maybe the issue should be integrating with a 3rd party freight management system like TrueShip, rather than reinventing the proverbial wheel.

It would probably still be useful for you to be a member of a FedEx/UPS integration consortium, though, to ensure that some of the requisite functionality needed in Sales Order, such as freight rate checking, would be there.

John

On Mar 25, 2008, at 3:24 PM, xikar wrote:

[quote:1ljys0nr]If you are currently working on implementing UPS and FedEX native integration, now would be the time. I’m not sure if we would be willing to commit to this or not. I’m still working on our PostBooks implementation. Hopefully in the next 2 weeks we will be up and running. Once we are using the system for day to day operations and I get a better understanding of how our process flows, I think we would be in a better place to make a decision.

I don’t know what your current requirements for adding UPS and FedEX integration are, but combining a system like this would no doubt add several levels of complexity.

  1. Support for more carriers; USPS and DHL. I guess these could be added at a later date. A modular setup would be best for adding additional carriers.
  2. Rate shopping at shipping. The prefered service-level shipping methods (like Ground, 3-Day, 2-Day, Next Day AM and Next Day PM) would be entered at S/O entry. When the package is at shipping it would be weighed and the best rate/carrier could be picked.
  3. Support for DIM charges.
  4. Shipping box inventory system to tie into DIM charges. Tell the system which box you are using and it knows the dimensions and takes into account if DIM charges apply and then selects best rate.
  5. E-mail tracking info to customers would have to use the Batch Manager which PostBooks does not have. It is also best to batch the emails for end of day in case you need to cancel a shipment and redo it. The email would also be canceled so the customer doesn’t receive two e-mails.
  6. Allow flexibility for the freight charging. The system would need to know your negotiated rate and allow you to charge the customer that rate, published rate, or whatever you want in between as well as a handling fee, hazmat fee, or fuel charge.
  7. Easy reporting on carriers. Allow you enter your negotiated minimum for one carrier and easily see how close you are to meeting it. This way you can give them priority until you meet that minimum.
  8. Parcel Insurance and Address validation are also part of some of these systems.

[/quote:1ljys0nr]

Post generated using Mail2Forum at xTuple forums

John,

I’ll take a look at TrueShip.
I was a little surprised that you suggested adding this as an enhancement because these systems can be complex and would take a large effort to implement. I think we would be reinventing the wheel, even though native integration would be nice to see, I think the effort would be more than we are ready to commit to at the moment.

Like I said above, once we get up and rolling, I’ll be in a better position to see what our additional needs for shipping are.

Thanks for you feedback.

Yeah. The enhancement I envisioned basically amounted to getting a rate, tracking number and sticker from UPS/FedEx when you ship. What you described was a comprehensive freight management system.

On Mar 26, 2008, at 11:07 AM, xikar wrote:

[quote:2mtfu29n]John,

I’ll take a look at TrueShip.
I was a little surprised that you suggested adding this as an enhancement because these systems can be complex and would take a large effort to implement. I think we would be reinventing the wheel, even though native integration would be nice to see, I think the effort would be more than we are ready to commit to at the moment.

Like I said above, once we get up and rolling, I’ll be in a better position to see what our additional needs for shipping are.

Thanks for you feedback.

[/quote:2mtfu29n]

Post generated using Mail2Forum at xTuple forums

Mark,

Both UPS and FedEx support connections to any ODBC compliant system, which of course xTupleERP is. There is a wiki topic on how to set up UPS Worldship integration here: [url=http://wiki.xtuple.org/UpsWorldShip:2lpoxwyy]http://wiki.xtuple.org/UpsWorldShip[/url:2lpoxwyy].

Integration with FedEx’s CAFE system is similar, but you need to call FedEx and get a local technical support rep. to come out and help with that. FedEx actually requires modifying the CAFE system code with some Visual Basic script. The good news, however, is that in my experience they will come out and do that for free if you have enough traffic. Actually, UPS is pretty good at sending out technical support folks too if you have enough business with them to warrant that.

I worked with a company that was less than $3m in revenue and they were able to get that level of on site support from those carriers, but it also may depend on how good their support is in your area.

John

On Jun 1, 2008, at 4:35 AM, Mark wrote:[quote:2lpoxwyy]How about some rudimentary two-way integration of scanning the packing list barcode and populating the fields of your favorite shipping program, like UPS or FedEx and then writing the tracking information and/or shipping charges?

[/quote:2lpoxwyy]

Post generated using Mail2Forum at xTuple forums

Hi,

I’ve just installed the Postbooks edition and I was googling around to see what kind of support xTuple might have for shipping carriers and methods and I happened across this thread from 2008. Has xTuple implemented any subset of the above feature set? If not, does xTuple offer integration with any 3rd party shipping software? I checked trueship’s site but didn’t see xTuple listed on http://www.trueship.com/partners .

The above feature set that Xikar enumerates is absolutely essential to a variety of small and medium sized business who offer drop shipping such as distributors or fulfillment centers.

Of course, it is also a feature set thats pretty much impossible to find without spending an awfully large sum.

In fact, I’ve never run across any ERP package that offers the above-requested linkage between box sizes, dimensional weight and box inventory. Does one even exist? Certainly this should be possible to implement without getting into the relationship between item sizes, multiple items per box and box sizes, and thus invoking the dreaded ‘box packing problem’.

I would add a couple more features to round out the above set.

  1. The ability to support outbound drop-shipping.

1a. The ability to select whether the “ship from” name on the packing slip is my business name, or the name of customer for whom I am drop shipping. 1b. Same for the shipping label.

  1. The ability to support 3rd party billing to a UPS or Fedex account on a per customer basis, whether drop shipped or shipped direct.

  2. Last and perhaps most ambitiously, the ability to automate the shipping carrier billing cycle via XML with carriers that support this, such as UPS.

Either way, xTuple looks like a great product. I look forward to hearing more about it.

Best,

Herbert Zinn
Bean Products Inc.

FEDEX has a wizard in it’s customer site shipping package to actually work through the field mapping to a customer ODBC database.

Start with the video here : http://fedex.com/us/software/integration.html

I have not gone through the wizard and it does not address many of the design criteria listed above but the shipping vendors are trying to help.

Integration with multiple shippers is certainly a big undertaking.

One change that would be fairly easy to do is change the one to one relationship of shipment to tracking number to a one to many relationship.

We are currently struggling with multiple tracking numbers per shipment.

FEDEX barcodes need to be parsed to extract the tracking number and that is fairly easy if there is only one barcode in a string.
Searching and reporting of tracking numbers are also much easier for multi-box shipments if they are done as one to many.

Hi,

I just noticed, while most of the other threads in this forum have less than 100 views, at the time of this reply this particular thread has 2836 views.

I know it was right where google took me when I searched for xtuple and the terms shipping, carrier, ups, fedex, etc.

I suspect this could be indicative, not just of google’s prejudices in ranking search results, but of the actual degree of interest in these features. Certainly it would seem to be the case if there really are that many people finding their way to this thread and not all the others.

Ma23693, we’ve been playing with these concepts and processes since writing a couple apps to help us do things like hook MYOB to UPS via UPS’ excellent ODBC support back in 2004. We also have similar integration going between MYOB and Fedex.

Our “integrator app” is basically just a wrapper around the MYOB database to split an MYOB invoice’s “address field” into Name, Address, City State and Zip using regular expression matching. Due to the fact that we drop ship, we almost never end up shipping to our customer’s own address which could be grabbed from the MYOB “address cards” where it IS neatly split into name address city state and zip fields. Rather we ship to the address of their customer that they provide, which gets entered into the address field on an MYOB invoice, which sadly enough is just a 255 character block of text. We also use one of MYOB “customer card” custom fields to store their UPS account number for third party ship, as well as another custom field to store a flag to indicate whether to leave our business name on the “ship from” field of the UPS label or whether to replace that business name with the customer’s business name. This only affects the business name of the return address as we still want returns to come back to our address. We also populate customer’s email address into the appropriate fields of Worldship’s Quantum View tab and set the quantum view type to email.

All of this data gets prepopulated into UPS worldship using the invoice number as a key.

FWIW, multiple carrier support is absolutely essential to our requirements for any ERP software we would consider.

Best,

Herbert Zinn
Bean Products Inc.

I too am interested in the myriad of Options/Features offered by the Postbooks version of xTUPLE. For our shipping needs, I have been using Shipworks through the holiday rush for Amazon, Ebay and Overstock. It uses XML/XSLT to download-transpose-upload orders (in that order) to and from the various partners. Shipworks is a fully loaded, Shipping Management System with features including, but not limited to, various carriers: UPS, DHL, USPS, Federal Express, etc, dimensional pricing, automatic tracking emails and it runs on a SQL Server which could theoretically be connected directly to xTUPLE, or use the exports for Worldship or create your own XSLT exports for all the orders.

Its not an ideal solution, native integration usually is, but its a great workaround in the meantime.

We are again digging into the topic of Shipping Software solutions, and looking for alternatives for our user base. We have begun the initial research, and have solicited information from a few members of the community. We would welcome any thoughts or feedback on this subject. Some questions to re-prime the discussion:

Are you interested in a packaged solution from xTuple and/or a partner?

Are you using any 3rd party shipping software applications today?

Have you done any integrations with xTuple and 3rd party software or directly with shippers?

Do you have any experience with 3rd party software providers that offer a cross platform (Window, Mac, Linux) solution?

Thank you in advance for any feedback.

How about some rudimentary two-way integration of scanning the packing list barcode and populating the fields of your favorite shipping program, like UPS or FedEx and then writing the tracking information and/or shipping charges?

Is xTuple used widely in the UK? We currently integrate with Linnworks, Magento and similar, but are interested in integrating with European xTuple users.

Simon - http://www.parcelhub.co.uk/