Case Studies

Conet-Tech Case Studies

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Descartes Systems Group Inc

Case Overview
When Descartes decided to extend its presence in the business-to-business world, the Canadian company was expecting to cut by 75% the lead time for turn-round of a tender, saves on duplication of effort, minimizes errors, and reduced operating cost. The Ocean Negotiator initiated by Descartes and Inttra, a client of Descartes, with the mission of creating standards and a solution that meet shipper, freight forwarders and carrier needs. The solution should resolve inefficiencies and lack of standardization in the Tender process. This B2B application should be a virtual space where shippers give carriers the opportunity to bid on their shipments. And some shippers could negotiate if they want only with their preferred carriers as part of the contracting process. 

Customer Overview
Descartes a leading provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS) logistics solutions, is delivering results across the globe today for organizations that operate logistics-intensive businesses.

Descartes customers include an estimated 1,600 ground carriers and more than 90 airlines, 30 ocean carriers, 900 freight forwarders and third-party providers of logistics services, and hundreds of manufacturers, retailers, distributors, private fleet owners and regulatory agencies.

Business Challenge
Descartes was looking an opportunity to have a system that will enable shippers and carriers to access business opportunities online; shippers can give to carriers an opportunity to bid and carriers could submit tender responses electronically.
The centralized tender management department was being flooded with paper based documentation, which had to be split down into sub-contractor trades, of which there were up to forty, and then distributed to at least three companies in each trade group for pricing. When the pricing was complete and the bids received back from the sub-contractors, they had to be consolidated back into a single document for submission to the client.
Risks:
• Shippers need to be vigilant that all documentation posted is correct
• Shippers are responsible for ensuring carriers understand how to submit their tender responses into the electronic tender box
• carriers need to be proactive in accessing Ocean Negotiator and understanding how to use the system.


Results
The lead time for turn-round of a tender was cut by 80%. The system also saves on duplication of effort, minimizes errors, is compliant with their QA system, and is estimated to save the company $200,000 annually. Ocean Negotiator simplifies also the process of gathering and analyzing multiple bids for ocean transport contracts. This powerful analytical tool provides a user-friendly way to view the ranking of quotes by trade lane and carrier, instantly seeing the impact of the carrier selection decisions on your costs. Ocean Negotiator standardizes data from multiple carriers to enable customers to seamlessly co-ordinate their global tender process.

Tender benefits include:
- Definition of data and format by shipper’s preferences (one time set-up only)
- Support for multiple unique routing requests and user defined fields (UDF’s)
- Platform to download/upload data to and from Excel
- Automated data ‘cleansing’ and validation
- Ability to attach documents and quoting instructions for carriers
- Support for multiple rounds of tendering
- Ability to view ranking of carrier quotes and compare ocean rate, total rate or surcharges in a uniform format
- Automated nomination process as soon as the last response received
- Ability to store and re-use data for new tenders
- Ability to integrate into Contract Management
- Standardizes data in secure centralized repository
- Minimizes paperwork, manual intervention, costs and time to implement
- Improves global access to rate/service information
- Maintains useable historical data
- Allows for more timely ‘interactive’ countering
- Shortens the tendering cycle and eliminates corrections
- Allows evaluation of responses based on various criteria (transit time, frequency, price and more)
- Provides a secure, geographically independent lodgement service for responses. Tender can be sent to all carriers
- Reduces the need in some cases to advertise tenders in newspapers
- Reduces phone inquiries to agencies, as all tender documentation, updates and award information are available online
- Speeds the sourcing process for both agencies and suppliers, since tender documents do not need to be mailed
- Reduces the cost to suppliers of responding to tenders because there are no printing or delivery costs
- No fees are charged to shippers or carriers for use

The technologies
- Windows Server and Oracle
- VB 6.0 COM, COM+, DCOM, VB.Net, .Net
- Toad, XML Spy, Microsoft Project


 

 

Solution
Conet-Tech helped Descartes and Inttra to deliver a global e-commerce shipping platform. We developed the Ocean Negotiator to be the web based electronic tendering system. Over 2,500 tenders are published annually and more than 1,000 carriers are registered to use the system. The Ocean Negotiator creates substantial benefits by decreasing sourcing time, the cost of tendering for carriers, and by improving the management of tender processes.

Descartes uses industry standard tools like Excel to integrate data into the application enabling the shipper to get started with little effort. Descartes offers one central repository for the data eliminating the opportunity for potentially viewing wrong data versions while making decisions.

All screens use filters, which can minimize the amount of data you view to your specified criteria.

All history is maintained and viewed throughout the process. Both shippers and carriers can set aliases that are meaningful to them for locations, accessorial charges and equipment types.

Shippers now have the ability to not only set preferences for service level but will be able to view responses taking into consideration their established criteria. Carriers can now have a common platform from which they can offer their customers the ability to submit global tenders.

Shippers have access to a common decision support tool that allows consistent evaluation of carrier responses
 





Proces
The Ocean Negotiator enables carriers to access tender information and submit tender responses electronically. Carriers can browse the Ocean Negotiator simply by accessing the website, but must register in order to download tender information and electronically lodge tenders. Carriers can also register to automatically receive emails that notify them of tender opportunities directly related to areas that they have indicated are of interest. The Ocean Negotiator also provides carriers with the opportunity to view tender award information under the ‘Contracts’ section.

The Ocean Negotiator’s electronic tender box uses encryption software to ensure the security of tender responses. The electronic tender box is similar to a traditional tender box: it is only opened after the tender has closed and when an authorised committee is present.



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