CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY A courier service is an organization which offers special deliveries of packages, money, documents or information. Courier services usually boast faster delivery times than any alternative method of transporting documents, and many services in the modern world rely on it. The idea of couriers and a courier service has been around almost as long as civilization, with rulers in antiquity using couriers as a means to make new laws and edicts known throughout their lands. In the modern age of international business, the courier service has become a keystone of enterprise, even as emerging technologies such as the fax machine and Internet have rendered them less useful in some areas. The largest courier service in the world is the United Parcel Service (UPS), which delivers more than 12 million packages globally each day. UPS had its roots as a courier service in the beginning of the 20th century, when it was known as the American Messenger Company. UPS survived the depression and the World Wars, and went on to thrive in the global age. Throughout the years it acquired other courier services, including the Motorcycle Messengers and a number of smaller European companies. Federal Express (FedEx) and Dalsey Hillblom Lynn, now Deutsche post AG (DHL) are other well-known global examples of the courier service, both with their roots in the early 1970s. Though not nearly as large as UPS, each company controls sizable portions of the 1
market. FedEx is particularly well-respected for its overnight courier service, the first of its kind. DHL originally focused exclusively on the route between Honolulu and San Francisco in the United States, but grew to encompass the Pacific Rim and spread to Europe and the Middle East. Smaller courier services abound, particularly in cities. This type of courier service finds its niche in smaller packages and documents which need to be transported from one location in a city to another as quickly as possible. Couriers in these companies often ride bicycles or motorcycles in order to achieve the shortest turnaround times from pickup to delivery. Indeed, the bicycle messenger, whizzing through crowded traffic at unbelievable speeds with a satchel over one shoulder, has become a symbol of the youthful daredevilry of city life. In recent years, with the emergence of more sophisticated communications technologies and harsh price competitiveness, the number of bicycle couriers in most cities has decreased significantly, but the market remains strong for those who continue to work. There is also a type of courier service which utilizes the extra baggage allotment of airline passengers to transport documents quickly and easily, with less hassle, through the Customs office of a country. These courier services offer greatly discounted fares on commercial tickets to foreign locations in exchange for the use of the passenger's baggage space. The passenger is then given all the requisite paperwork, which they simply deliver to the Customs agent at the receiving end. 2
Though technology has replaced many traditional uses of the courier service, there still exists a constant need to transport physical goods and documents over both short and long distances as quickly as possible. 1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS Keeping record of parcels in a courier service company and their delivery information is carried out manually. A lot of files are opened for daily record of parcels received or delivered. This litters the office with much paper documents. Most often records are misplaced and when a client comes to collect his parcel, he\she spend some hours waiting for confirmation of the parcel. Hence delay is bound to occur while delivering parcel to customers. Also, customers must visit the post office before they can purchase stamps or any other item. 1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT The objectives of this project are as follows. · Analyzing global trends in e-commerce and why it is important for economic developments. · Identifying benefits of the adoption of e-post management system by courier Service Company. 3
· Developing an e-post platform that can be used by customers to order for post office items and make payment online. 1.4 SCOPE OF THE PROJECT The scope of this project covers all details of a typical e-post application, with emphasis on the front-end portal but excludes the gateway application implementations and technologies. The gateway end which is a very secure e-payment environment is often times built using SSL protocol, which can be procured from the gateways companies and integrated to the e-commerce site to support online, onsite payment management. However we have chosen to incorporate a demo copy of the gateway end to showcase its activities for the audience to appreciate such integration. 1.5 PROJECT JUSTIFICATION The advantages of e-commerce for business entities can be summarized thus: e-commerce can increase sales and decrease costs. A firm can use e-commerce to reach narrow market segments that are widely scattered geographically. The internet and the web are particularly useful in creating virtual communities that become ideal target markets. A virtual community is a gathering of people who share a common interest, but, instead of this gathering occurring in the physical 4
world; it takes place on the internet. So the e-post management system developed will assist courier Service Companies to: 1. Increase sales opportunities for the seller, thereby increasing purchasing opportunities for the buyer. 2. Provide buyers with a wider range of choices than traditional commerce, because they can consider many different products and services from a wider variety of sellers. 3. The benefits of e-commerce also extend to the general welfare of society. Electronic payments for goods cost less to issue and arrive securely and quickly when transmitted via the Internet. 4. Furthermore, electronic payments can be easier to audit and monitor than payments made by check, which can help protect against fraud and theft. 5. E-Commerce platform can make products and services available in remote areas. 1.6 PROJECT REPORT ORGANIZATION The project is organized as follows;- Chapter one comprises the background of the project with the statement of the problems, objectives of the project, scope of the project, project justification and definition of terms pointed out. Chapter two reviews previous literatures on cargo transportation systems 5
Chapter three discusses methodology and system analysis. It deals with the approach used for the project, tools used, information gathering, data analysis and limitations of the existing system.
Chapter four covers the system analysis and design. It highlights the project modules, system and program flow charts, and the database design.
Chapter five discusses the system implementation and testing. Chapter six covers the summary and conclusion of the project.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS.