Test Automation for Logistics

Published on
September 29, 2022
Ryan Thornton
VP of Marketing

Business systems for logistics are under incredible pressure, so it is only fitting that an incredible test automation tool takes care of all the testing needs.

Business systems are the beating heart of any modern logistics company, pumping out almost unimaginable deliveries across air, sea, and land. An interconnected array of systems and applications must work in absolute harmony. This heart needs to be kept in tip-top condition, as they are absolutely business critical: without them you do not have a business. And with everybody and their dog now receiving almost hourly deliveries and the pressure on supply chains, the stakes have never been higher. Testing is, of course, a known way to avert a metaphorical cardiac arrest, but how and why is a little less documented. That’s where this blog comes in. 

Where to start with test automation for logistics

Multifaceted, interconnected software solutions used by the logistics industry require a test automation strategy that that understands this complexity but also allows teams to manage it. Front-end testing will require one to understand what needs to be tested from a user's perspective. Detailing all the options that need to be tested is a good start: what delivery options are available; how are returns handled: is next day delivery an option? The next step is to understand how these user activities relate to back-end systems. Are they seamlessly functioning with any ERP software? This is, of course, oversimplifying the strategy, but it should illustrate the point that testing all this is no mean feat, and one will have to adopt a tool or tools to accomplish this.

Build fast

The complexity of testing stable, non-mutable logistics software solutions is made ever more challenging by the fact that they are, in fact, not stable or non-mutable. Development teams are under constant pressure to release faster and faster to fulfill the wants of their customers and stay one step ahead of the competition and, if not stay ahead, just simply keep up. As we have said in the opening gambit of this post, without these systems operating as intended, you do not have a business. We all know testing, the traditional poor relation in the Software Delivery Life Cycle, has been a bottleneck to releasing faster. How do we overcome this?

One way is to invest heavily in traditional test automation tools, but these come with a heavy burden. Thankfully, a new breed of AI-augmented test automation tools are here to help. If you want to release faster, you need to test faster, which, in turn, requires you to author tests faster. Virtuoso allows you to write tests in natural language before a new feature has been coded. This means you can have fully executable UI tests ready to go the second the application is committed. You can also leverage the power of natural language once the application is created, meaning tests are simultaneously authored and executed, and your test script never goes off script. Meaningful testing of interconnected logistics software solutions is now possible in-sprint.

Maintenance - unburden your team 

We see how authoring tests to deliver new features can be achieved by AI-augmented test automation tools. You can equally create a full regression pack at never-before-seen velocity. The regression pack is of paramount importance with so many related systems and business-critical processes. The next traditional burden is maintaining all these tests. QAs and testers in the logistics industry have found it difficult to focus on finding bugs and improving quality because of the time maintenance of their regression pack demands. With a sprawling estate of tests written by successive test engineers, it is difficult to keep up. Newer tools are able to unburden testers from this maintenance nightmare and allow them to focus on finding bugs and increasing quality. 

Virtuoso has self-healing capabilities - which is a fancy phrase, but what does it mean? Virtuoso’s bots dive into the DOM level of applications to build a comprehensive model of elements based on all available selectors, IDs, and attributes. A Machine Learning algorithm then identifies any unexpected changes to the element on each test run, meaning an end to flaky tests as they intelligently self-heal. Just as important, though often overlooked, is that Virtuoso is a SaaS product, so the code is protected. You do not have successive test engineers putting their own spin on a framework and left in a situation where you run tests that you have no idea what they do. 

Front and backend test automation

Ensuring all systems are working together is of the utmost importance. It has been said a few times already, but it is very much worth belaboring the point. To be able to test and deliver solutions at the velocity needed for the logistics industry, you need test automation. But simply knowing that your shiny UI looks and behaves as expected in isolation is not going to butter any parsnips. You will require a tool that works on multiple front- and back-end systems in a single test with the ability to make API calls and ensure all parts of your systems are talking to each other as expected. 

Why not get in touch and see how Virtuoso can give you full end-to-end test coverage of all your systems at speed with zero maintenance?


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