Surviving Hurricane Harvey

This blog is part of a series of posts on the Top 5 Fears that Keep Logistics Executives up at Night

Part 1 – Promises Kept, Assets Protected – Ocean Track & Trace Averts Hurricane Harvey Crisis

Trillions of dollars worth of goods traverse the world overseas annually.  And most days, we really don’t give it a second thought. From the standardization of containerized shipping to massive tanker vessels, transformative innovations that are merely decades old, have opened tremendous economic opportunities worldwide.  Consumers have greater access to a wider array of products, while businesses have more options available to them for sourcing as well as delivering materials, components and products.

This standardization empowered the logistics industry to further diversify its service offerings, where companies can choose to own their own transportation equipment (1PL), hire a dedicated transportation provider (2PL), or to outsource their entire logistics operation to one or more logistics providers (3PL/4PL/5PL).

So why hasn’t there been more innovation when it comes to the operations and communications of the logistics industry?

This series will examine The Top 5 Fears that keep logistics executives and their customers up at night.

And along the way, we will explore real world examples of manufacturers, wholesale traders, and logistics providers, who are making tremendous strides in transformation they way global trade is managed.

Let’s explore Fear #5 together right now.

Imagine being responsible for some portion of those trillions of dollars worth of goods fading out of view, over the horizon.

What dangers lie over that horizon?

Fortunately, most days offer calm seas!

But that’s not always the case.  In fact, many of the world’s largest ports lie in high risk zones for natural disasters.

And the most fearsome enemy of logistics on the high seas is of course, a high powered hurricane.

Imagine having millions of dollars worth of goods and equipment out of view, in the path of potential disaster…

If you think that’s unsettling for logistics providers, just imagine the concern and fear of the customers that own those goods on board?!?

Companies in Houston, TX faced this dooms day scenario head on this year as Hurricane Harvey barreled into town…and stuck around for 5 days!

But while most companies generally lack visibility into the actual location and progress of their ocean shipments, one Houston, TX Importer was thoroughly prepared.

Houston Cement Company, an importer of bulk Cement material, recently implemented the Neurored Global Trade App, a secure, the leading cloud based Supply Chain and Transportation Management on the Force.com Appexchange.

“The Global Track and Trace feature of Neurored stood out to us right from the start.  Optimizing our shipping lanes, loading and unloading schedules helps us operate efficiently and deliver exactly when our customers need us to.”

“Usually when a hurricane like Harvey comes bearing down on us, we get tons of phone calls and emails from our customers, our sales team and even management, all wanting the most up to date shipment statuses we can possibly offer.  With Neurored’s Ocean Track & Trace, we can now eliminate most of those communications, by providing self serve track & trace on demand.”

Averting the disaster and ensuring timely communication status with partners and customers is key, but that’s not the end of disaster avoidance.

“Neurored’s Shipment CPQ (Configure Price Quote) engine allows my team to anticipate additional Laycan fees we will incur, and adjust our forecasts and discharge schedules proactively, minimizing impact to our customers, as well as to our bottom line”.

Visibility is the key to optimizing any business’s operations, internally.  

But providing visibility externally to partners and customers provides an entirely new level of positive impact.  Stay tuned for our next blog post, where we will define Fear #4, and what you can do to prevent it from impact you!

The Logistics of Auctions

Earlier on this year, Neurored and ABSI successfully partnered together to jointly implement a dedicated transport management solution for the world’s largest heavy equipment auctioneer, Ritchie Bros.

This blog will explore the implementation project and how partners can benefit by adding Neurored to their portfolio.

The Logistics of Heavy Equipment Auctions

The implementation was focused on one of Ritchie Bros. 37 auction sites around the world.

Each of these hosts thousands of trucks and heavy equipment that are auctioned on a series of big events spread over the year.

With buyers participating in presence and online, successful bidders may require shipping one or more of these anywhere in the globe. And, to make the auction possible, all of them were sourced and transported to one of their global sites.

So, how exactly do you manage this?

That of course, is where Neurored and ABSI come into play.

Kicking-off the project with a one week workshop, all requirements were thoroughly documented to define the “product backlog”.

These mainly entailed enabling to upload Excel spreadsheets for inbound and outbound shipment requests (think of it as a lightweight integration), which in turned helped to create orders with an associated cargo within Neurored.

Thanks to Neurored’s modular architecture and the ease of change of the Force.com environment, some general adjustments were also defined to map the application to RBA’s exact business processes and needs.

From ideation to global shipping in just 9 weeks

In a period of just 9 weeks, the RBA logistics team was able to greatly enhance its productivity and service levels.

Starting from the Excel import, each team member was automatically assigned quote requests to execute. They were then able to quickly select the best freight rates for the defined transport needs or even send mass requests to its carriers where no rates existed in their database, such as drayages at destination.

Once the quote was configured, they were able to generate and send a personalised document to the customer. Upon confirmation, the team was able to quickly generate a shipment alongside all required documentation and share the tracking information with the final customer.

Finally, an invoice was quickly configured and sent with financial data integrated to their ERP of choice.

Benefits of collaborating with ABSI and Neurored

If your company is based in the Netherlands or Belgium you can benefit by collaborating with one of Salesforce most established partners (ABSI) to simplify complex logistics operations and increase visibility with a dedicated solution tailored to your needs and processes.

Find out more about ABSI

Read their take on our project