iBusiness, 2012, 4, 279-286
http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ib.2012.43035 Published Online September 2012 (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/ib) 279
Research on the Mobile Electronic Delivery Platform for
Iron and Steel Sales Logistics Based on 3G Netbook
Wei-Feng Zhu1, Jian-Hua Gu1, Li Ye1, Zhi-Xin Shi1, Shu-Rong Mei2, Qiao Chen2, Jian-Jun Hu2
1Institute of Systems Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China; 2Logistics Management Com-
pany, Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corporation, Wuhan, China.
Email: hustzhuwf@tom.com
Received May 20th, 2012; revised June 20th, 2012; accepted July 20th, 2012
According to the situation of sales logistics transportation management in an iron and steel enterprise and the possible
logistics risks, the architecture of mobile electron ic delivery platform for iron and steel sales logistics based on 3G net-
book is proposed. The delivery process based on 3G netbook is analyzed. The three-tier C/S-based platform framework
is also proposed, including database server, application server and clients. The function design of the platform is given.
Finally, the key technologies of the platform are discussed.
Keywords: 3G Netbook; Iron and Steel Enterprise; Sales Logistics; Mobile Electronic Delivery Platform
1. Introduction
Goods delivery, as an important link in a sail logistics, is
referred to carry goods to the destination and be endorsed
by the consignee according to a transportation contract
[1]. In the present transportation logistics of a Chinese
iron and steel enterprise, delivery information (e.g.,
goods type, quantity, quality) are mostly recorded in a
written documentation form called quality delivery bill.
The disadvantages of this form are that the information
about each link is isolated and the transportation process
is short of effectively real-time monitoring, which will
result in higher logistics risk. Although th e advantages of
GPS monitoring system had been taken by most Chinese
large-scale iron and steel enterprises to achieve real-time
carriers (such as vehicles and vessels) positioning, track-
ing and scheduling, there is still lacking of intelligent
management and control in transit. Delivery information
is usually delayed, not detailed, and difficultly inquired.
Thus, the communication between an iron and steel en-
terprise and its customers will be backward and not un-
As the continuous development of electronic computer
and Internet, its application is increasing popular since
the 20th century. In the field of economy and trade, it
appears various kinds of commercial trading activities
realized by electronic means. A mass of electronic tools
(such as cell phones, PDA, etc.) and network (such as the
current GMS, GPRS, CDMA 1X and developing 3G
wireless wan technologies, etc.) have been used system-
atically, which makes the commodity exchange higher
efficiency and lower cost. It is the inevitable trend that
delivery means will be electronic and mobile. The in-
quiring system based on PDA has been widely used in
present express industry [1]. The integrated application
of PDA, GPRS, GPS and GIS which is popularized in
public security industry is an ideal solution for mobile
police [2]. The application system using intelligent PDA
phone as the terminal is playing a major role in flood
contact as well [3]. Electronic delivery system and me-
thod for integrating global financial services has been
studied in United States [4]. In order to reduce the logis-
tics risk of unforeseen events during the distribution
process, some scholars believe that improvement oppor-
tunities still lie in the area of real-time distribution man-
agement [5]. On the basis of technologies and informa-
tion systems allowing for seamless mobile and wireless
connectivity between delivery vehicles and distribution
facilities, a system architecture for urban distribution and
real-time event-driven vehicle management has been
proposed, and the on-board truck computer is discussed
to be used as a carrier [6].
Mobile electronic delivery is referred to running elec-
tronic delivery procedures on mobile computer such as
3G netbook. The real-time information about each trans-
portation link can be co llected and sent to the con trolling
center. The electronic data loading specific information
instead of traditional paper document is applied to trans-
mit information, so as to realize the easy, fast and effec-
tive monitoring of th e transpor tation and delivery process
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. IB
Research on the Mobile Electronic Delivery Platform for Iron and
Steel Sales Logistics Based on 3G Netbook
[7]. Electronic payment [8] has been widely used in com-
munication, bank [9] and express industries now. In the
sales logistics of iron and steel enterprises, the primitive
method of recording delivery information can be altered
by using mobile electronic delivery. The management of
delivery information will be improved. Compared to
PDA, netbook has the advantages as big operation inter-
face, cheap, easy to use (similar to the general notebook
computer operation) etc. Because of the advantage of 3G
wireless networks, it has been gradually used in various
fields (especially communications, logistics industry,
In this paper, the framework of mobile electronic de-
livery platform for iron and steel sales logistics based on
3G netbook is studied. The paper is organized in the fol-
lowing way. Delivery process design is given in Section
2. Software architecture is proposed in Section 3. Func-
tion design is analyzed in Section 4. Key technology in
realization is discussed in Section 5. Conclusions are
given in Section 6.
2. Iron and Steel Sales Logistics Delivery
Process Based on 3G Netbook
Mobile electronic delivery platform is designed to realize
the real-time acquisition of delivery information, which
can help to achieve effective management of the whole
process of logistics delivery. The logistics systematic
level and logistics management level can be improved.
The main thought of this platform is organized as follows:
Mobile electronic delivery platform is built with 3G
wireless networks. The real-time delivery information
will be mastered by installing the platform on vehicles
and vessels, which can help to make management more
convenient. The carriers can be supervised, too.
On the basis of the different modes of transportation,
the delivery ways of iron and steel logistics mainly in-
clude highway delivery and waterway delivery. The as-
signment sheet loaded is used as delivery receipt in high-
way delivery, which is generated with goods leaving
warehouse. It is issued by the warehouse manager to
highwa y carriers, and endorsed by the sing le correspond -
ing consignee at destination. The assignment sheet on
board which is issued by dock outgoing group is used in
waterway delivery. They are sent group to waterway car-
riers when vessels leave the port. To be different with the
highway delivery, the assignment sheet on board is con-
sisted of one or more assignment sheets loaded and cor-
responded to more than one consignee. The carrier mis-
sion can not be finished until the assignment sheet on
board is endorsed by the consignees one by one. There-
fore, the design of mobile electronic delivery platform
should be combin ed with the different delivery ways.
According to the above design concept, the whole
transport process can be divided into several node types:
carriage node, transit node (emergency prevention) and
delivery node based on a large-scale iron and steel enter-
prise. The mobile electronic delivery platform is de-
signed to do the real-time management of these logistics
nodes. A whole transport process is consisted of one
outbound carriage, one receiving delivery and zero or
more times of transit delivery and transit carriage. The
transit delivery information must be filled in when out-
bound carriage cannot be finished by one time. The fuses
may be vehicles’ own fault, traffic accidents, or natural
causes (e.g., weather, damaged roads). One transit car-
riage must be corresponded to one transit delivery. They
must be in pairs. The delivery process is only finished
after the assignment sheet has gone through receiving
delivery. That is to say, carriage information should be
filled in by the user of the mobile electronic delivery
platform based on 3G netbook before beginning out-
bound carriage (off-port carriage). Then tran sfer deliv ery
information must be submitted to record transfer details
and interim reasons if any abnormality. In the end, the
receiving delivery information confirmed by consignee is
submitted to complete the transportation process.
The operation schematic of mobile electronic delivery
platform based on 3G netbook for iron and steel sales
logistics is shown in Figure 1. The netbook is taken
along with the carries (including vehicles and vessels).
The delivery information can be submitted at any time
everywhere and transmitted to application serv er in time.
Then the data will be processed at application server and
sent back in order to reduce the user’s workload of input-
ting them manually. The design of mobile delivery plat-
form is completed with the technology of assignment
sheet tracked [10]. The status of carriage and delivery is
updated and sent to the monitoring center by the carrier
timely. Therefore, the who le delivery process can be fol-
3. Software Architecture
C/S (Client/Server) architecture and B/S (Browser/Server)
architecture are the mainstreams of development models.
Compared with B/S architecture, C/S architecture system
can allocate tasks more reasonably by deploying client
programs to many computers. The pressure of the server
can be reduced effectively. The utilization of the client
computers is increased. Friendly man-machine interface
is provided. The cost of the whole system is reduced.
And enterprise internal resources are reliably protected.
For this reason, C/S software architectural model is adop-
ted to design mobile electronic delivery platform in this
The design of this platform is on account of the intra-
net and public network in order to protect the enterprise
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. IB
Research on the Mobile Electronic Delivery Platform for Iron and
Steel Sales Logistics Based on 3G Netbook
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. IB
automob ile transportation
motorist fill i n delivery information through 3G netbook
Gps monitoring system
car number, position, speed, direction,
assignment completion status
delivery of products from storage / ERP
Transportation to ports
Electronic delivery cl ient / 3G netbook
Electronic assignment sheet loade
Electronic ta g: electronic
assignment sheet loaded
Long-distance one-stop transportation
Electronic delivery cl ient / 3G netbook
Electronic assignment sheet loaded
Electronic assignment sheet loaded
Paper assignment sheet l oaded
Paper assi gnment sheet loaded
motorist fill in de livery in forma tion through 3G netbook
Delivery information
Delivery information
Ship drivers
Electronic delivery client / 3G netbookdelivery of products from ports / ERP
Electronic assignment
sheet on board
Ship transportation
Ship drivers fill in d elivery
informat ion through 3G netbook
Paper assignment sheet on board
Deliv ery info r mation
ship number, position, speed, direction, assignment completion status
Figure 1. The operation schematic mobile delivery platform based on 3G netbook for iron and steel sales logistics.
security. ERP database is used to provide the upstream
data sources. The data is sent to electronic delivery data-
base server gone through data exchange server. The
three-tier C/S-based framework consisted of the client
layer, the application layer and the data layer is adopted
for the platform. The transmission and sharing of data is
realized via the mutual interaction among them.
The architecture of logistics electronic delivery plat-
form based on netbook/3G technology and GPRS com-
munication technology is shown in Figure 2. The deliv-
ery information can be submitted at any time anywhere
by the netbook installed on carriage vehicles and vessels.
This real-time information will be sent to the application
server by 3G networks. The administrators can also in-
quiry the information on the platform to achieve the tar-
get to trace the whole sales logistics process. Visual
C++6.0 development environment is used to develop the
client and application server procedures of the platform.
Oracle 10 g is used to implement the database manage-
ment system. The 3G netbook is used as a carrier to run
the client procedure. The communication of the client
and application server is based on TCP/IP protocol which
can make data transmission security and reliability. Data
analysis and data transmission are completed at applica-
tion server. Data storage and data transmission are achi-
eved by the interaction of both the database server and
the application server.
The real-time data flow diagram is shown in Figure 3.
A request can be sent to the application server according
to users’ needs. The server returns the information re-
quired by retrieving data from the database. The transfer
state of the assignment sheet is updated in the client by
users. Then the real-time data will be sent to the server.
The corresponding records indatabase will be refreshed
Research on the Mobile Electronic Delivery Platform for Iron and
Steel Sales Logistics Based on 3G Netbook
Figure 2. Platform chart.
at the same time. The whole process of the transpo rtation
and delivery is being monitored by operation of the client.
Thus, the problems of the logistics process can be found
4. System Function
According to the previous data flow analysis, the entire
platform is divided into three parts: the server, the client
for vehicles and the client for vessels. The function of the
server is consisted of the following parts:
1) Receiving client connections
Accept the connection request from clients. Process
the business requisitions submitted, and store them into
database. Return the results of the user’s requirements.
Achieve functions of business logic layer.
2) Recording client requisitions
Record the business requ isition s su bmitted by d ifferent
clients. Display them in server interface and store them
in log files in order to facilitate information maintenance.
3) Receiving and processing electronic delivery in-
Receive requests from the client, and return the current
information of the assignment sheet according to the da-
tabase records. Then the user can facilitate to d o the next
step. Objection photos can be appended as instruction.
4) Modifying electronic delivery information
Support the modification of the delivery information
which has been submitted. Update the corresponding
database records.
5) Querying electronic delivery information
Get delivery information, details and objection photos
of each logistics node by entering the assignment sheet
loaded, or ship assignment shet on board, or tag No, or e
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. IB
Research on the Mobile Electronic Delivery Platform for Iron and
Steel Sales Logistics Based on 3G Netbook 283
Figure 3. Real-time data flow diagram.
order No. Achieve the target to control the whole proc-
ess. Return data to the client for display.
6) Fast delivery
Automatically calculate the transport stage of the as-
signment sheet selected, which can help the user to sub-
mit delivery information in a quickly and easily way
when the delivery info rmation has been completely filled
in. Store the submitted information into the database.
The client procedures are divided into the client for
vehicles and the client for vessels. The structure is shown
in Figure 4.
The structure of the client platform module is showed
in Figure 4. According to the actual demand and the
practical application background, the functions of each
client including user management, electronic delivery in-
formation inputting, information querying and changing
is proposed.
1) Electronic delivery information input
Transfer type (outbound carrier, transit delivery, tran-
sit carrier and receiving delivery) of the assignment sheet
will be pointed out when it is selected. Execute the sub-
mitting operation after the transfer state (no objection or
disagree) has been verified correctly and the information
has been filled in completely. The additio n photos can be
appended if there are objections to the transport node.
2) Electronic delivery information change
The information which had been submitted can be
3) Electronic delivery information query
Get delivery information, details and objection photos
of each logistics node by entering the assignment sheet
loaded, or ship assignment sheet on board, or tag No, or
order No, which can help to trace the quality of the
whole pr oc es s.
4) User management
User rights management, user information revising and
user passwords maintenance are included.
5) Keyboard operation and fast delivery
All operations can be done by the keyboard. The tran-
sport stage of the assignment sheet can be calculated
automatically. The delivery information can be quickly
and easily submitted by the button of one-click delivery
when the assignment sheet loaded is selected.
5. Key Realization Technology
The following key technologies have been used to realize
the functions of the mobile electronic delivery platform.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. IB
Research on the Mobile Electronic Delivery Platform for Iron and
Steel Sales Logistics Based on 3G Netbook
Figure 4. Structure of client platform module.
1) 3G netw ork communicati o n tech n olo gy
TCP/IP network communication based on C/S has
been put to use in this platform. The client connects to
the server forwardly. Multi-thread communication and
three-tier C/S-based platform framework (the appearance
layer, business logic layer, database layer) are used in the
application server to synchronize data exchange.
2) Photo access technology
The photo reading and writing techniques based on
MFC development framework and Oracle database are
applied for the platform comprehensively. ActiveX Data
Object is adopted. Its functions such as AppendChunk()
and GetChunk() are being used to access large object
data of BLOB type.
3) Photo transmission technology
The multi-threaded file transmission b ased on the soc-
ket is used to transfer pho tos. The special-purpose thread
which had a separate port is being used to realize the
transmission of large files and other instructions synch-
4) Fully keyboard operation technology
The keyboard overloaded technology based on MFC
development framework is made extensive use in this
platform. The submission of transport information can be
completed with keyboard absolutely. For example, the
cursor can be captured automatically, and the focus of
the controls can be determined intelligently. Therefore,
delivery information can be submitted quickly and easily.
The real effect of this mobile electronic delivery plat-
form is shown in Figures 5 and 6.
The main interface of client is shown in Figure 5. The
tab pages of delivery information inputting, delivery in-
formation querying and password changing is shown in
the left part in order of priority. The first tab page is de-
fault to display after successful logon. As shown in Fig-
ure 5, the list of the assignment sheets based on travel
No. and its receiving customer list are given in the left.
The corresponding receiving customer can be selected
automatically when the assignment sheet has been clic-
ked. Or its customers will be listed if this assignment
sheet has more than one receiving customers. The corre-
sponding basic information will be displayed in the right
interface following. Then the deliv ery information can be
submitted easily.
The main interface of application server is shown in
Figure 6. The events window and the output window are
included. The occurred time and content of all operations
in the application server are displayed in the events win-
dow. The output window is composed of the tab page
that recording the status of the client login and the tab
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. IB
Research on the Mobile Electronic Delivery Platform for Iron and
Steel Sales Logistics Based on 3G Netbook 285
Figure 5. The main interface of the client.
Figure 6. The main interface of the application server.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. IB
Research on the Mobile Electronic Delivery Platform for Iron and
Steel Sales Logistics Based on 3G Netbook
page which is used to record the client connection. The
details as user account, IP address, port and logon time
about all current users logged to the application server is
displayed in the first tab page. All events of the client
connection such as login successful, password error, ex-
iting, etc are recorded in the next tab page.
6. Summary
The delivery information can be submitted at any time
everywhere on the mobile electronic delivery platform
based on 3G netbook for iron and steel sales logistics.
Then the whole process of transportation and delivery
can be monitored. More comprehensive information of
quality opposition can be provided to distinct response-
bility for compensation. The logistics risk can be reduced.
The logistics management can be improved. The speed of
reflecting and processing quality objection should be ac-
celerated. Customer satisfaction will be improved and the
image of iron and steel enterprises will be enha nced. And
it can help carriers improve their transportation quality.
The economic efficiency of enterprises will be improved
as well.
It is an innovation of e-commerce in logistics field to
develop the mobile electronic delivery platform for iron
and steel sales logistics based on 3G technology with
WAP protocol. It plays an important role of enhancing its
management and reducing its logistics costs of the iron
and steel enterprises.
7. Acknowledgements
The project was done with the Logistics Management
Company of Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corp oration.
This research was also supported by National Natural
Science Foundation of Ch ina (Grant No. 60804038) , and
key scientific and technical research project of Ministry
of Education of China (Grant No. 109104). This support
is acknowledged gratefully.
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