Case study

DevOps: Bringing logistics into the future and your orders to your doorstep

There is a good chance you’ve never heard of Damco (now part of A. P. Møller – Maersk group of companies) before. It is also likely that you’ve never heard of supply chain management.
since 2010
Technologies used:
Azure Application Insights
Azure SQL Database
Data Lake
Event Hub

But there is a high chance that Damco, through its Supply Chain Management system, delivered to your door the last package you ordered, be it sports shoes or another product.

Damco is a highly specialized company. It has over 100 years of history of figuring out how to deliver goods, shipping them across air, ocean, and land. It is a large business with operations in more than 40 countries. The company’s customers are not individuals. Damco serves other businesses in markets such as fashion, retail, chemical, FMCG, and technology.

Delivering packages seems simple, but it’s not an easy thing to pull off. People’s expectations are changing. Free scoping call

When you order something, you want to be able to track it and know exactly where the package is and where it will be delivered.

Damco’s decided that in order to be ready for the future, it needs to provide precisely such capabilities through digital services. The solution is called Supply Chain Management, and it is the core service the company offers to its customers: people like us, ordering and receiving packages.

The goals of the new approach were to
  • Enable new business value streams
  • Provide fast and competitive digital services for customers
  • Place customer service first in company operations!

Providing digital services to customers required Damco to become its first customer and a full transformation of how the company builds services and delivers value.

Preparing for change

Every journey requires the first step. Damco’s was the decision to build new services on top of the Microsoft Azure cloud. Why?

  • It allowed the company to move fast, without planning and purchasing additional data centers and equipment. Scaling the solution to push its limits is not core business for Damco, but it is for Microsoft.
  • It allowed the company to pick the right services for the job and pay per use instead of deciding upfront on the entire technology stack. Going digital means being flexible.
  • It provided the right tools for fast and flexible service delivery. Forget long-running projects, with ever-postponed deadlines. It is a world of quick iterations and deployments.

To deliver digital services reliably, Damco first changed the way it provides projects internally. The key phrase is DevOps adoption.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is an approach, rather than a framework or a specific tool. It is rooted in collaboration across teams to deliver both product and value. Research shows that it is the right approach to deliver on top of cloud services in a fast, reliable, and predictable way.

The data demonstrates it clearly. Companies that adopt a DevOps approach benefit from it in many areas, with results such as:

Why us?

Damco and Predica have a shared history going back several years. Our partnership keeps growing stronger with time. Damco’s focus on being close to the customer and delivering excellence resonates with our values. With our expertise, we helped the company with the adoption of DevOps process and platform development.

Redefining collaboration

For fast adoption and easy integration across the entire delivery teams, Damco used Azure DevOps as a tool of choice. Its benefits include:

  • Business requirements unified with work definition in the backlog
  • The whole development and deployment workflow connected to the backlog in one source
  • A single tool for integration and deployment across all environments
  • Security integrated with Office 365 and secure collaboration internally and with external partners.

Now all software development projects at Damco are managed through Azure DevOps. The organization adopted the Scrum methodology to deliver new functionalities in 3-week sprints. All service deployments are automated, reducing the manual work required. Automation limits the possibility of errors and speeds up recovery from failures.

Delivering results

Damco and Predica’ joint development team working on one of the system capabilities achieved the following productivity metrics:

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It is not about the development process on its own. The goal of the transformation is to deliver new services, using Microsoft Azure cloud as a foundation to build them.

In its digital Supply Management Chain system, Damco utilized the Microsoft Azure stack to its fullest. The new platform was designed from the ground up to live in the cloud and be based on Platform-as-a-Service offerings, with services like Event Hubs, Azure SQL Database, Data Lake, and Application Insight, to name a few.

For optimal cost vs provided value, it also benefits from a serverless approach to solutions. Using Azure Functions and Logic Apps, you don’t have to cover the cost when the system doesn’t generate business value.

Building the next-generation logistics platform

The future is unknown, even for a well-established company like Damco. The core design principle for the platform we designed together is the ability to add new capabilities and services in the future, without the need to re-design it all.

The result? A modern solution, built to live in the cloud with a modular approach.

What are the business outcomes? The statistics from one of the system modules speak for themselves:

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Maintaining the pace

Building a service and deploying it is one step, but keeping it up and running reliably is an on-going task. Adoption of the DevOps culture helps – the same teams that build the service also resolve issues. The product teams have a responsibility for the operations of the production environment.

It is another area where Damco and Predica partnered with each other. Our managed service team supports Damco in platform operations through a process unified with the entire solution development cycle.

Results from the last three months of 2019 for the entire digital platform say it all:

Heading for a successful future

DevOps has transformed the way Damco operates and is one of the critical elements of its digital transformation.

Microsoft Azure Cloud allowed it to build a new, fast, and reliable service for its customers. It provides benefits right now and is the foundation for future growth.

Azure DevOps provided Damco with a single environment to connect business stakeholders, developers, and operations teams. Instead of silos, there is a process and a unified workflow.

Each step in this journey can be measured, tracked, and improved over time.

Just as your package is on the way to your home and you can track it, Damco is on its way to the future and can track its progress on this journey.


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