Design And Implementation Of An Online Real-Time Mail Tracking System (A Case Study Of NIPOST)

Computer Science Project Material with Source Code Included

Computer Science Project Material with Source Code Included


Abstract


Sometimes on entering an office within Nigerian Postal Service to pick up a letter, you might be told that the letter is yet to arrive or the letter has been processed at the supposed office but yet to be dispatched. This is an example of occurrences we wish we can control through a means of tracking our mails right from the dispatch office.

This project focuses on solving this problem by developing an application that provides real-time mail monitoring and tracking in NIPOST. Real-time mail tracking system application is a web-based application intended to be accessible online. This allows the application to be available to both mobile phone and PC users who can access this application via the internet. The system was developed using open source web technologies notably HTML, PHP, Javascript and MySQL.

The system produced in this research work has functions that will enable both the receiver and sender of various mails to track their mails, monitor their mails and interact with at both ends with ease from the comfort of their homes, offices, market using a web enable device.

The developed application was tested using the WAMP application suite and the test results show that the application works as expected.


Table Of Contents


Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title Page
  • Declaration
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Abstract
  • List of Figures

Chapter One

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of study
  • 1.2 Problem statement
  • 1.3 Objective
  • 1.4 Significance
  • 1.5 Scope of study
  • 1.6 Limitations of Study

Chapter Two

Literature Review

  • 2.0 Introduction
  • 2.1 Parcel Tracking
  • 2.2 History of Parcel Tracking
  • 2.3 Mail System
  • 2.4 History of Mail System
  • 2.5 Rise of Electronic Mail
  • 2.5.1 Advantages of Electronic Mail Tracking
  • 2.5.2 Disadvantages of Electronic Mail Tracking
  • 2.6 Internet Backbone
  • 2.7 Programming Languages and the Internet
  • 2.8 Related Works

Chapter Three

Materials And Research Methodology

  • 3.0 Introduction
  • 3.1 Materials
  • 3.1.1 Hardware Materials
  • 3.1.2 Software Materials
  • 3.2 Rise of Electronic Mail
  • 3.2.1 Requirement Gathering and Analysis
  • 3.2.2 Software Process Model
  • 3.2.3 System Analysis
  • 3.2.4 Use Case
  • 3.2.5 Flow Diagram

Chapter Four

System Implementation

  • 4.0 introduction
  • 4.1 Input forms
  • 4.2 Database
  • 4.3 Output form

Chapter Five

Conclusion And Recommendation

  • 5.1 Conclusion
  • 5.2 Recommendations
  • 5.3 Contribution to knowledge
  • References
  • Appendix

Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

As children playing hide and seek, there seemed to be so many places where we could hide and never be found. With the world be-coming ever smaller through technology, hiding is increasingly difficult. Cameras peer down on us at red lights, in our workplace, in stores and even at home. Now, those cameras are being augmented by new technologies that track our cars, cell phones and possibly any product we buy.

This location-tracking technology also is being used to streamline supply chains for corporations, seeking to move products to the market faster, and to monitor assets and prevent inventory loss. In view of the phenomenal growth in transportation industry and the trend of information technology in delivery first class service to the customer with minimal cost.

This project aim to develop online and real-time transit parcel monitoring system to the NIPOST clients. Existing system is the way the system is being operated, that is the manual way of monitoring client parcel or freight. Since the existing system is done manually, it is imperative that we consider critically its mode of operation and analyse them. In monitoring the movement of freight and the ship or any carrier that carried it, the use of paper form was introduced which include the bill of laden form.

The bill of laden form is the most important of all the forms required. The shipper sends the bill of laden in advance of the ship to the importer. The importer takes the bill of laden to the NPA (Nigerian Port Authority) central office for details about the ship and her located berth. The importer or its agent completes the bill of laden, cross checked and compared with the ship’s manifest. After certifying the correctness of consignee documents, a blank form called the delivery order is then issued out to the importer.

The consignee or its agent complete the delivery order for and returns it to the shipping company, and then the delivery order is sent to the marketing department of the Nigeria Port Authority. After, the marketing department then raises all necessary bills according to the port regulation and their payment term, customer proceeds to the bank for payment; the documents are subsequently transferred to the transit shed or delivery point, the consignee then proceed to the appropriate shed or delivery point. After loading, cargo pass is issued to the consignee or his agent who then proceed to Nigeria Port Authority gate for security checks and final exit.

In the old system of NIPOST company service, once a parcel or freight has been sent by the client, there is no way the client will know the position of that parcel until it get to the destination and acknowledgment message is sent from the receiver of the parcel that it has been delivered. This method poses a lot of problem to both the NIPOST clients and the company herself. Even the company wishes to feed the client back but since there is no means of doing such, both are incapacitated and everything is at the risk of the owner of parcel.


1.1 Background Of Study

Location-tracking technology also is being used to streamline supply chains for corporations, seeking to move products to the market faster, and to monitor assets and prevent inventory loss. NIPOST’s online tracking is the fastest way to find out where your shipment is. No need to call customer service when we can offer you real-time details of your shipment’s progress as it speeds through the NIPOST Network on the way to its destination. Soon, companies also will be able to track your location. Imagine walking through your local supermarkets, and as you pass through the aisle, an electronic coupon for your favourite cereal is beamed to your phone.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Today’s rate at which clients do call the tracking agents and also the rate at which clients visit the NIPOST office to confirm the status of the parcel they sent through the NIPOST service channel is too high . At times, the NIPOST agent may not be able to say precisely whether the parcel has been delivered or not due to inadequate means of communication to the company while on journey and secondly, it is more prone to error due to data lost.

The data entry and validation aspect of the old system are done manually, the system use the data entered as the basis for the tutorials schedule while all documents given to the clients are generated from the data collected and result of processed data for use. This process is often associated with high-levels of manual processing, limited tracking visibility and poor customer service (at least perceived). An efficient chain-of-custody proof-of-delivery (POD) solution becomes more and more important to day-to-day operations.


1.3 Objective Of The Study

In view of the phenomenal growth in transportation industry and the trend of information technology in delivery first class service to the customer with minimal cost. This project aim to develop online and real-time transit parcel monitoring system to the NIPOST clients.

Its specific objective can be narrowed down to the following:

  1. To design the application.
  2. To develop the application.
  3. To test and debug the developed application.

1.4 Significance Of The Study

In implementing the objectives of this study, the advantages of an E-tracking system over the existing system, i.e. the manual way of registering and monitoring the movement of freight or any parcel. Users will be able to tracking / access resource digitally without carrying books, journals, magazines etcwhich could result in rapid wear and tear of the paper documents.

Besides, it will afford users the opportunity to see the current status and position of their goods or parcel. The proposed system will provide security to help track the movement of each ship and parcel carrier on transit. The system will also eliminate some of the routine manual work prevalent in the manual system of tracking.


1.5 Scope Of The Study

The scope of this research work will be limited to the provision of tracking information provided by the NIPOST for tracking of client’s freight and parcels on transit as provided by the NIPOST agents.


1.6 Limitation Of Study

Some problems were encountered during the course of writing this project. These problems include, difficulties incurred while gathering all necessary information.

  1. Financial problem was also one of the major problems encountered. For every material needed require money e.g. browsing so as to source for information.
  2. Erratic power supply both in organizations and at home also hindered this project work in various ways.
  3. The non-availability of a mail server also hindered the response management system as it was only simulated in this project work.
  4. Also, the time allotted for the completion of the project wasn’t sufficient as it requires time to learn the programming tool used for the project.

In spite of all these constraints, the designing and writing of a well-documented project was achieved.


1.7 Glossary Of Terms

  1. Tracking: Tracking is the process of automatically locating a point or series of points from frame to frame in a sequence.
  2. Cargo: Goods carried on a ship or aircraft.
  3. Information: This is a collection of facts or data.
  4. Parcel: Goods etc. wrapped up in a package for posting or carrying.
  5. E-Tracking: Tracking is the process of automatically locating a point or series of points from frame to frame in a sequence Online.
  6. Transit: Going, conveying, or being conveyed, esp. over a distance.
  7. POD: Proof of delivery.
  8. NIPOST: NIPOST.
  9. TDX: Tracking Dog Excellent.
  10. P.S.F.C: Parcel sent from client.
  11. P.U.S: Parcel update status.
  12. P.C: Parcel cleard to be dispartced.
  13. P.R.S: Parcel report status.
  14. T.R.F.C: Track request from client.
  15. P.E.R.F.NIPOST: Parcel entry registration from NIPOST.
  16. P.U.F.DISP: Parcel update from dispatcher.

Chapter Five


Conclusion And Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

The internet has revolutionized the field of tracking, thus this project leverages on the capabilities of the internet to provide a unique mail follow up ability to the client (students, staff and visitors) that has an internet enabled device: be it a mobile phone or a personal computer.

This project work started by considering the existing manual method of clients (students, staff and visitors) walking from office to office within the Nigerian Postal Service following up their mails. The system also reviewed the availability of a personalized electronic mailing system within Nigerian Postal Service. After a critical review of the existing manual approach, the project was able to implement an automated approach: this will enable sending of electronic mail and real time tracking of both electronic and hard mails.

The system went further to make the application a distributed application which makes it possible for the application to run on networked environment and on the web. Some of the features of the real time mail tracking system are:

  1. Web based interface – which also make the applications run-able from remote system.
  2. Mail Creation ability by staff – Office staff uses the same application to generate mails which are forwarded to other offices.
  3. Client Access – Students, staff and visitors can check the status of their mail online/remotely.

5.2 Recommendations

Considering all that has been discussed and analysed, I would like to emphasize that the adoption of this new system will not be regretted as it would rather be of immense help to the organization which will consequently boost operations and promote the corporate image of the organization.

Therefore, I recommend further research to cover clients that don’t have access to internet; this will enable them to still know the state of their mails via SMS or customized emails.


5.3 Contribution To Knowledge

As earlier explained the primary aim of this research project is to relook the concept of mail delivery and tracking around NIPOST, taking an extensive look at existing systems with similar approach as this. So far most similar systems focused on just hard mail tracking and could not implement most solutions this project was able to provide.
Significantly, additional contributions provided by this research work which will serve as the foundation for further studies by other researchers include

  1. Ability to create and track Electronic mails.
  2. Real time interaction between client and organizations.

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