Before we dive into what microservices are and how they impact the logistics industry it is important to understand what monolithic applications are and how microservices differ. A monolithic application is an application that is self contained and runs independently from other computing applications. This means the entire application is structured as a single unit and developers must build and deploy updated versions on the server side of the application as a whole. Over the long term using this kind of architecture will lead to complex systems and a proposed risk of confusion and deployment issues for developers.
Microservices compared to monolithic applications take a more modular approach. Microservices are based around individual business capabilities and each microservice works as a standalone. This means you can use one microservice for multiple environments, business processes or touch points, depending on the business requirements. Microservices work on an API basis which means that they are easy to integrate and connect to other microservice applications or 3rd party systems.
As mentioned above there are several advantages to choosing a microservice architecture. First, microservices are organised around individual business capabilities so they can be managed and deployed independently. This in turn means that developers have a clearer oversight of what will be affected if they deploy changes and do not have to worry about reviewing and making changes to the application as a whole. This is not the case with a monolithic application.
Secondly, the simple utilization that comes with using a microservice architecture. Developers do not need to spend time learning how the overall system architecture works; they just need to focus on learning and improving the microservice that they are working on. This leads to an increase in innovation and productivity as well as reducing errors and mistakes.
Thirdly, using microservices increases scalability and decreases downtime. As you are treating each microservice as its own entity, companies are able to scale and monitor each one individually. This means that scalability can be achieved faster as you do not have to scale the application as a whole but just the individual microservice. More effective scaling in turn leads to less downtime.
The logistics, supply chain and shipping industries are not known for their simple and comprehensive operation processes. For example, moving goods from one country to another requires action from many counterparts, companies, individuals, machinery, IOT devices, web and mobile applications. This leads to complex and sometimes cluttered applications. These end to end complicated operational flows may also require numerous integrations into 3rd party software and systems. Choosing a microservice architecture over monolithic architectures in these cases proves to be more effective as you can take each logistical operational process and treat it as an individual component. Companies with complex operational flows which include multiple logistics processes, such as last mile and haulage operations, can use logistics microservices to easily build, manage and deploy changes. As microservices use APIs, internal and external integrations are made a lot easier and simply.
Fleetbase employs this methodology of logistics microservices and uses it to help logistics, supply chain and shipping companies improve their operational processes and systems. An example of one of our logistics microservices is FleetOps. FleetOps is a stand alone application that allows companies to manage their last mile delivery operations in a single highly customizable dashboard. By designing FleetOps as a logistics microservice companies can utilize the advantages of such an architecture for an increased efficiency of their operations management and also use our developer API to build their own logistics operations systems which is custom to their operational flows. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about logistics microservices and to see how Fleetbase can help you manage your logistics operations process and expedite the build out of new systems and applications.