Utilising IT to Deliver a Better Service For Our Customers
As one of the UK’s leading freight forwarders, John Good Shipping is always looking for innovative ways to deliver a more transparent service for our customers. In our latest blog, Nickie Preston, Solution Architect, highlights how the power of EDIprovides real-time information of cargo to ensure vital information is at hand at any given time.
Electronic Data Exchange
Worldwide, shipping and customs process have been standardised in the last few decades to facilitate exchange of data between many systems and countries.
Internationally-agreed codes are used for carriers, modes, statuses and transactions allowing fast and accurate exchange of information, even where languages differ.
The airfreight industry’s codes are so well known, we use them without thinking: airports such as LHR andJFK, and airline flight prefixes such as BA for British Airways and AF for Air France are now familiar to the public, all over the world.
At John Good Shipping, we have embarked on an extensive programme to implement EDI (electronic data interchange) with our customers, partners and service providers to cement our position as one of the UK’s leading shipping agents and freight forwarders.
We were already using industry-standard procedures and codes so it was a logical development to improve our data sharing.
Progress to date
We prioritised the conversion of data where the volume or complexity suggests efficiencies, or the speed of information exchange is paramount.
We have electronic messages from the major shipping lines updating the container positions, usually within one hour of execution, confirming moves such as shipment on a vessel (main or feeder), departure from the wharf by road/rail. This allows us to automatically trigger confirmation messages and send documents to customers and partners or to take action if something does not happen as expected.
HMRC messages update our system, allowing auto-generation of customs clearance status and documents to customers if required.
Our warehousing partners receive pre-advices of what orders or goods to expect in vehicles, and who will be delivering them.
Road Haulage partners receive transport instructions, including appointment refs. and address-specific instructions.
Where we are the UK agent for a shipping line, we send container, shipment and billing information direct to the line (Principal).
As a forward thinking shipping agent, we understand that IT is at the heart of delivering a better service to our customers , such as auto-generating mails to our customers when shipments are updated and milestones reached.
Internally, we are alerted if milestones are not reached when expected so we may address issues immediately to prevent problems later on, meaning you can rely on us as your trusted freight forwarder.
Results so far
Faster reaction time – we don’t have to wait for information from many partners, they don’t have to wait for us.
Reduced printing – we manage shipments using the system rather than a hard-copy file, saving resources and time.
Reduced copy typing – we removed the most boring part of many roles, and made the data quality better.
Improved reporting – consistent data made reports better, and more meaningful where we used more fields relevant to our customers.
Happier customers – they quickly know where their orders and shipments are, what needs to happen, what is planned
Data exchange doesn’t have to be complicated
Your own systems will probably have data export and import capabilities, we can help you explore what options you have if this is required.
We can also upload spreadsheets of orders into our system so customers may track shipments by their or their clients’ references such as Order Numbers, Product Codes, SKU, ASN etc.
This allows our customs increased control and greater visibility of purchase orders.
It is possible to authorise orders before shipment to ensure quantities and timing are as agreed.
Delays and issues are immediately visible, allowing remedial action to be taken, such as ordering extra stock or reallocation of the expected stock.
We can send data back to you in a format that will update your own system or we can mail an Excel report each day showing your orders in transit with the latest shipment information.
We know that in today’s world, IT and EDI solutions are a critical part of your business and delivering information at every step of the shipping process is vital when choosing a reliable freight forwarder.