(PRWEB) July 13, 2006
When it comes to the use of advanced Information Technology in the transport and logistics industry, companies usually fall into one of two categories: the big players who have it and smaller companies who would like to but cannot afford it. Caretakers the logistics specialists, who are part of the TH Brown logistics group of Grimsby, have taken a lead to show that there is a third way which delivers the best possible technology to meet their and their customers’ needs with no need for investment in expensive licences and infrastructure.
Caretakers – http://firstname.lastname@example.org - have chosen the route of Software as a Service (SaaS) by joining the CarrierNetOnline (CNO) service provided by UK logistics solutions providers Deltion - http://www.deltion.co.uk.
TH Brown has been established for more than 70 years and gained considerable experience in handling heavy, unwieldy and often fragile bathroom and kitchen equipment, including providing collections services. They decided to bring this experience to the market as a specialised logistics service and created the Caretakers division.
Mike Denison, Operations Director of TH Brown, told us, “We wish to grow the Caretakers business based on our reputation for quality and service. However to achieve this we needed an innovative approach to service and solutions which was reasonably priced.”
“Taking a licence for a software solution to run on our own computer infrastructure was just not economical. The ones in the market are very expensive and in spite of that do not meet our needs without even more expense on adapting the software to meet our needs.”
Caretakers therefore decided that using a functionality-rich, web-based solution was the answer: this avoided the need for expensive licence fees and hardware costs and would not need additional IT support in-house.
The Web Solution – Software as a Service
Caretakers needed an integrated service, one which would enable them to integrate all their existing systems, including sales order processing, accounts, warehouse management, and customer service. They wanted to be able to access all of this on the same page, and give access to latest information for track and trace to their customers and consignees. CarrierNetOnline provides this ability and Caretakers pays for what they use as a pay-per-transaction based service.
“This service enables us to compete with information technology equal to – and in most cases better than – our biggest competitors,” Mike Denison said. “By choosing the Software as a Service option from Deltion we have benefited from many man years of development which would have costs us millions. And we did not need to make any investment.”
The logistics industry
The CEO of Deltion, Piyush Shah, believes that most logistics companies are still lacking the leading edge software needed in today’s market. “First class supply chain and logistics solutions are no longer a “nice-to-have” or even a competitive advantage,” he said. “Customers expect logistics companies’ IT to enable lower costs and higher efficiencies – just as is happening in all other aspects of their business.”
“They also expect to have access on a 24x7 anyone, anywhere, anytime basis to information allowing them to track and trace their consignment. The high standards have been set on the internet by companies like Amazon. If as a private individual placing an order worth a few pounds I can at any time log in from anywhere and access the latest status of my order, I expect no less for a pallet load of expensive industrial goods,” Mr. Shah said.
He says that the leaders in IT are generally the very big companies who have spent millions to buy or to develop their own solutions. But many then do not invest to keep the systems up-to-date and you see many complex logistics and transport management systems in companies which do not link to legacy systems and do not meet the need of changing customer needs.
This approach of buy a licence or in-house development is not within the reach of medium and smaller size companies because of need for major investment requirements in solutions and infrastructure. But without leading edge logistics solutions, these companies cannot meet customer and consumer expectations so opportunity to grow and win business is often based on the commodity concept of low priced transport.
Software as a Service from CarrierNetOnline ensures that those companies who are only now using the Web to provide their IT needs do not make the same expensive – and sometimes fatal – errors which major suppliers have made in the past.
Commercial Advantages of software as a service
Caretakers Mike Denison says that by choosing the CNO solution, they benefit because the cost is on a pay-as-you-use basis and directly proportionate to the amount of business they are doing. This service was very quickly up and running without capital expenditure in licence fees and additional servers and there are no hidden costs.”
“There is now complete operational visibility between our head office in Grimsby and the transport operation in Doncaster” Mr. Denison said. “The administrative burden has been eased substantially and we have real-time information about orders, vehicles, drivers, performance, plus exception management reporting.”
He added that Caretakers are now benefiting from improved resource utilisation because of efficiencies brought about by the new system. “We now have one system for customers, suppliers, and sub-contractors and we put every PoD online, using scanning to confirm the PoD and customers can then view on-line.”
Deltion’s Piyush Shah believes that Software as a Service will become the standard for logistics and transport solutions. “The customer can use those parts of the software he needs as his business grows. There is no need to buy everything in one ‘big-bang’ implementation,” Mr. Shah said. “Because the user only pays for what he needs he can introduce additional modules and features to meet his business needs.”
Among the additional features available to users is the addition of multi-depot operations; sub-contractor management; and SMS to drivers. The CarrierNetOnline software service includes a routing & scheduling component to make planning and resource use more efficient.
“The web is the key to the future of customer service, logistics and SCM and is also critical in providing all supply chain partners with collaboration and end-to-end visibility,” Mr Shah added. “We are already the leaders in providing Software as a Service to the logistics and transport industry and will continue to extend this service to meet the needs of our customers and their customers. Using the web is the only way to meet business and home consumer demands and expectations.”