Technology that transformsby Case Studies on 2011-08-31
Technology that transforms
The movement of air cargo in the Indian scenario gets affected on account of multiple factors that contribute to higher lead time in the movement of cargo, increased paper work, delays and other inefficiencies. The stakeholders of the cargo community in India - freight forwarders, Custom House Agents (CHAs), consignors, consignee airports, seaports, airlines, transporters, and customs amongst others- have to grapple with many challenges to perform their core job of transporting the cargo, timely, safely and within budget.
Almost all the key stakeholders were facing their own set of operational hurdles that practically converged into one single issue of smooth and timely exchange of information across the players and their diverse technology platforms with different capabilities:
Consignors: Lack of shipment visibility across the supply chain prompted the consignors to stock larger inventory to minimize stoppages in assembly line production. For lack of end-to-end automation, even world class Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems on part of consignors could not be of much rescue due to lack of similarly capable interactive systems on the part of other stakeholders (Forwarders, CHA, Transporter, Banks and Consignee) in the supply chain.
Freight forwarders: Forwarders’ role on coordinating shipment’s entire movement involved interaction with several stakeholders, but via manual/semi-automated media, entering the same data in at least 6-7 different systems during the transit of goods which ultimately results in delays, increased costs, errors.
Airlines: Given that most of the forwarders did not have the capability to electronically create and transmit the shipment data, the clients (a leading Indian private airline and a leading middle-eastern airline) too used to receive enquiry & booking requests manually which added to its costs, reduced profitability, impaired planning and delayed transportation. Also, there was no audit trail for future reference. In case of loss of papers, airlines’ failure to reproduce critical documents resulted in penalties. Inappropriate charges on waybills cause erroneous Air Way Bill (AWB) information which in turn leads to revenue leakage and redundant data entry. Above all, several clients missed market opportunities due to inability to reach the highly fragmented freight forwarding industry in India.
CHAs: Clients like Transline Air Cargo Services Pvt Ltd had to manually handle a lot of documentation (related to operations, finances and forwarding) in addition to communicating through phone/ e-mails including those related to job status. Also, several CHAs’ systems were not able to maintain customer contracts/ quotations.
To address these challenges, Kale Logistics in association with Air Cargo Agents
Association of India (ACAAI) and other stakeholders from the air cargo industry developed Universal Platform for Logistics & Freight Transport (UPLIFT) – first-of-its-kind communitywide automation platform for the Indian air cargo industry. The product addressed most of the challenges faced by the industry stakeholders by mutually integrating a variety of entities: freight forwarders, CHAs, consignors, consignee airports, seaports, airlines, transporters, and customs, etc.
Consignors: UPLIFT provided clients with complete shipment visibility and also ensured seamless interface to directly exchange data between consignors’ systems and UPLIFT, thus ensuring end-to-end automation across the supply chain.
Freight forwarders: Challenges that originated due to forwarder’s (Links Forwarders’ and United Shipping Services Pvt Ltd) complex coordination with multiple stakeholders were resolved by providing a single window for interactions with all involved entities. Forwarders no longer needed to re-enter the data that had been entered by shipper at his end (this data is entered atleast 6-7 times during cargo transfer by various supply chain entities in the absence of integrated systems ) as this data now got automatically updated into the UPLIFT system and was made available to all the constituents in the cargo supply chain.
Airlines: UPLIFT enabled electronic receipt of waybill data like Master AWB/House AWB for airlines. Post UPLIFT implementation, airlines (a leading Indian private airline and a leading middle-eastern airline) received alerts from custodian / agent regarding Freight Status Update (FSU) messages and GALAXY (enterprise wide cargo handling system for cargo ground handlers) messages. Such electronic communication prevented revenue leakage and redundant data entry. Further, UPLIFT, staying updated always, helped airlines remain compliant with global initiatives such as e-freight, without which airlines would have to bear the costs in storage / maintenance of physical documents.
CHAs: UPLIFT resolved the complications of CHAs too (Sanco Trans Limited & Links
Forwarders): they can now electronically execute multimodal air-ocean transactions, resulting into significant cost saving with UPLIFT’s multi-branch feature that can be accessed from anywhere and anytime.
Outcome and Impact
Kale Logistics’s innovation in the form of UPLIFT has practically overhauled the entire supply chain of its clients across the industry segments.
Specifically, UPLIFT benefited the clients by:
• Successfully eliminated manual operations, paperwork, redundant data entry and brought end-to-end shipment visibility across the supply chain
• Addressed key concerns of Indian custodians like MIAL by directly interacting with its present system (GALAXY), by reducing data entry effort and time, thus improving user productivity by 70 percent
• Benefiting smooth transportation of around 28 percent of India’s air cargo shipments, since currently 40 freight forwarders and 38 CHAs get benefited from the UPLIFT Air Cargo process (representing). The system is connected to India’s largest airport terminal operator MIAL-Mumbai International Airport for custodian operations and is exchanging EDI messages with 7 large airlines and with Indian Customs.
• Indian forwarders moving from manual operations to online filing through UPLIFT can look forward to at least 2/3 savings from its current costs per shipment which can be around 8-10 Euros for filing a single shipment as per EU regulations.
• Even the Airlines experience significant time & efforts saving due to electronic filing of AWBs coming from UPLIFT directly to their system, which they otherwise have to capture manually. This also avoids errors in data entry.
“Industry response has been positive as the industry is able to understand that UPLIFT will benefit all stakeholders in the supply chain –Shippers, Forwarders/CHA, Airlines, Customs and Custodians among others” -Vineet Malhotra-Sr. Vice President, Kale Logistics Solutions
“A smoother flow of information along with documentation and compliances to regulatory statutes would go a long way in improving the efficiency and delivery standards for the Indian logistics industry as a whole.” - Anil Vazirani, Chairman- ACAAI EDI Committee
“In order to capitalize on expected growth of Indian Logistics industry pegged at around 9%, we believe the constraints created by inadequate physical & virtual infrastructure need to be addressed. That’s where we looked at Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) as the technology to streamline the flow of goods & information across the supply chain.” -J.Krishnan, PRESIDENT-ACAAI
“This is a long overdue requirement and we welcome the work UPLIFT is doing for the industry by setting up such an operating platform which links all the stakeholders, for greater efficiency and improved service quality.” -Christoph Remund, CEO, DHL Lemuir Logistics Pvt. Ltd
“India's air logistics segment has matured significantly and it is high time that a Cargo Community System is in-place for all stakeholders. I am optimistic that UPLIFT will fulfill this role.” -Keki Patel- Cargo Manager- India & Nepal, Emirates Sky Cargo.
“As an ACAAI member we have worked together with ACAAI EDI committee in formulating this system. With UPLIFT we look forward to a single window view for all our stakeholder interactions here in India and across our international networks.”-Keshav Tanna-Director Air Freight, Links Cargo, Agencies Pvt Ltd.
The case study has been done by Kale Logistics Solutions Pvt Ltd