European Parcel Distributor Development Work
- Custom Software Development
- Less than $10,000
- June 2013 - July 2014
- Willing to Refer
"They are extremely tolerant and flexible. They do not complain."
- Logistics & Supply Chain
- London, United Kingdom
- 201-500 Employees
- Phone Interview
Infoshore Software developed a solution to pull parcel data from retail partners that sell on platforms like eBay and Amazon. The solution allows customers and companies to track packages.
The company revisited about 30 or 40 customers that loved to use the services but couldn't integrate. The work is expected to increase sales by 20 percent for the next 12 months. Infoshore Software has been flexible throughout the development and to client requests.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Please describe your company.
It's a group of European companies. We are a parcel distributor offering cost-effective solutions for retailers across the world. We have operations in seven European countries. We are just setting up in China and the United States.
What is your role and responsibilities, please?
I head our U.K. operations.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What was the business challenge that you were trying to address?
Our issue has always been getting smaller retailers that sell on platforms like eBay and Amazon Marketplace, and some of the software providers like Magento to share data properly. The challenge is getting the parcel data what we need out of their systems and into our system. We need the parcel data, because we handle retailers' parcels that have been prepacked and pre-addressed. We need a barcode on the outside, which is linked to a data upload.
We’ve always had problems with smaller retailers, saying that they can’t do the data upload and can’t get the information out of our system or Amazon. Then, we can't get the tracking information back in so that we can provide it to the end consumer.
Please describe the scope of their work.
We asked Infoshore to provide a solution, which meant that they would pull the parcel data from those platforms. Initially the three solutions that we asked for were eBay, Amazon, and Channel Advisor to pull the parcel information, convert it, and translate it into the right format for uploading into our system. Once we’ve processed the parcels and have the tracking information, the solution actually uploads the tracking information with the supply details back into the platform that it came from. It's a conduit between the retailers and these platforms, which most of our smaller customers use.
We are hosting it now on a new cloud server. We also wanted it separate from our system. We didn't want it integrated with our current IT [information technology] team because we have some internal pressures within the IT team with respect to the development of other projects. I outsourced this because I knew it could be done without involving any of our current IT team in the process. There's a plan that the IT team will take this on and will maintain it going forward. But, I wanted to outsource the development work because I knew that if I left it, it would never get done, and all the time scales would be a lot longer.
Did Infoshore Software design the system?
The reason I was so impressed is that the spec was a verbal spec of what we wanted. There were no detailed specifications, which I'm used to, having worked in bigger companies and provided them, to make sure you get them. They were very flexible. They ended up changing a lot of things because we hadn’t really thought through the process. They never complained once. We had multiple conference calls.
There were periods of time when, because we had pressure internally, we went three months without contacting them. They wanted to interact, but we couldn’t because of one thing or another, either illness or other internal projects. I have to say that we weren’t the best client in the world, and going forward we would work in a completely different way. They didn’t complain at all throughout the whole process.
What was your process for selecting Infoshore Software for the project?
We found Infoshore through Elance and looked at their reviews. I talked to a couple of references to check their other clients.
Is the work still ongoing?
The original project was started in June of 2013, and we just moved it to the host company and are tying up the last few details and debugging it. It's 99 percent finished. I’ve paid out on the project because I know that they will support it. It's ongoing work that they will continue to support. The project would have taken three months if we had the continued focus.
Can you provide a ballpark dollar figure for the size of the work that they’ve done for you?
The cost was under $10,000. The future work will probably be more than $10,000 because we plan to continue to add to it. They finished building two platforms, and they’ve done all the grunt work. Adding the next supplier system will be a lot easier. We'll probably add another 10 or 15 different platforms whether they are marketplaces or software providers like Magento.
I think, because they have mobile application specialists, we are looking to develop mobile applications for a number of projects within the group. I’m fairly sure we'll be using them for that project as well, rather than developing it in-house, where we don’t have the skills. If you find someone that's good, why would you not continue to use them?
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
Do you have any statistics or metrics to track improvement from the project?
Our big issue has always been converting customers because of the tracking systems integration. Now, there is nothing that can stop us from integrating a customer to our network. We can ensure that they can integrate to us. We are expecting to go back to about 30 or 40 customers that have said they love our services and would love to use us, but they couldn’t integrate. We are now revisiting all of those with a benefit that converts customers. I would anticipate that we will increase sales between 20 to 25 percent during the next 12 months.
Is there anything unique about Infoshore that really makes them stand out, compared to other companies?
They are extremely tolerant and flexible. They do not complain. We didn't have a single complaint, even after a number of situations when we told them to develop something then later wanted it changed. A week later, we told them we wanted to go back to the way it was. I’ve worked with a lot of developers, and in those kinds of scenarios, they would have completely lost it at that point.
Looking back on the work so far, is there any area that you think they could improve upon or that you might do differently?
We certainly would provide far better specifications to ensure that they knew exactly what we required. It's not fair to them to provide such an open spec, which was what happened.
Service & Deliverables
"I don’t know how well the code is written and how robust it is. I won't know until we start using it. I’m sure they will be able to take any bugs out."
On time / deadlines
"Absolutely no problems. In theory, it didn’t meet the deadline, but that was only because of us, not because of Infoshore. I cannot penalize them because they would have met the deadlines if we had been there for them during the testing phase."
Value / within estimates
"Because of the delays and the other issues, there were some things in the original specifications that I didn’t think we had discussed, but they had actually completed. I offered them an increase on the budget, and they wouldn’t accept it."
Willing to Refer5.0
"Without a doubt. I’m very happy with the company.