Technology at CFS
Allcargo brings its global expertise to redefine customer service
Customer delight is at the heart of Allcargo's vision, and technology is what empowers its team to deliver that experience to the customers. Adopting the most contemporary technology tools has made operations more efficient and brought greater agility and transparency to the services at Allcargo's Container Freight Stations (CFS).
Pan-Indian footprint through ports and the hinterland provides Allcargo a wide customer outreach. Simplifying their daily needs has been key to our success.
"Trust, reliability and transparency are integral for any logistics services. In the CFS business, these become even more important given the intensity of operations and high value of containers. Technology offers an interface for customer convenience. It totally supports our vision of efficient functions and delighted customers," says Prakash Tulsiani, COO and executive director, Allcargo Logistics.
Technology adoption is no longer a choice. The sheer scale and the pan-India footprint of operations at CFS locations necessitate technology-based innovations for Allcargo to be a preferred logistics partner for customers. Moreover, with hundreds of containers entering and leaving all CFS, risk mitigation and resource deployment are constant challenges. To address these areas, the company recently launched a host of initiatives for our CFS customers who include the country's biggest EXIM players and leading shipping companies.
A bulk of queries at a CFS relate to the arrival status of import containers. The features in the new web portal are designed to take the load off importers who receive containers in large lots, sometimes up to 60 containers at a time. Tracking the status of each container in such cases can be cumbersome. In the new web search option, a customer simply keys in the Import Journal Manifest (IJM) number to get details of every single container in that batch.
The automated import Container Gate In-Mail system is yet another convenience-boosting measure where importers don't have to keep checking constantly for the arrival of their consignment. The system registers the query and automatically sends out a notification email to the customer when the consignment arrives.
Digitisation has helped cut down much of the paperwork associated with shipping. Allcargo's Project DDX is a step in this direction. "Typically, export containers are allowed into the CFS after scrutiny of papers submitted by the customer and punching of this data into the system. With the new DDX, we provide online access to customers to feed in consignment data. Our back-office can then pre-book the cargo for entry into the CFS without any delay," says Pramod Savanur, manager-IT & process at Allcargo Logistics.
With many industry firsts to Allcargo's credit such as taking CFS trading online and introducing RFID technology in operations, Allcargo has also introduced smart systems for internal operations. This makes many of the activities faster and simpler for CFS employees, as well.
For instance, to ascertain the condition of cargo in export-bound containers the standard practice is to take photographs and mail them from a computer to the shipping line. This has been replaced by a faster and easier method. Now, an Allcargo executive takes the pictures with his smartphone and sends them in real time.
The new Allcargo customer mobile app goes a step further, making it even more convenient to track consignment arrivals on the go. Once a customer keys in his container number, the app displays the arrival status and the exact location of the container at the CFS. This is significant given that thousands of containers are stacked in rows and columns across the sprawling facilities at a CFS.
The app similarly reports the status of outbound containers, allowing their importers to track the consignment position right up to the point of delivery. It also provides a list of holidays at the CFS for customers to plan their shipments better. "The mobile application allows our customers to get every service on the go. It has redefined the handling of cargo at the CFS," says Mr Savanur.
Taking the government's push for Digital India and cashless payments forward, Allcargo has introduced an e-payment module for customers where they can pay the CFS charges online. This has not only done away with the handling of cash, but also expedited the cargo handling process at CFS, saving precious time for customers.
Technology-based innovation is a continuous process at Allcargo. "We regularly analyse customer feedback and market data for ideas to serve our clients better," says Arun Adak, general manager — operations, CFS at Allcargo Logistics. "For example, we are in the process of setting up dedicated online platform for select customers to give them exclusive status on the movement of their consignments".
As a leading logistics provider, Allcargo is constantly scaling business operations to adapt to new government regulations and respond to global trends. These initiatives will further help improve TAT during information exchange, and enable smoother functioning at the CFS.
"We see it as the way forward, both as a source of competitive edge and customer delight. With IoT, robotics and Big Data, the nature of logistics and customer service is set for even bigger change, and we aim to be at the forefront of this transformative evolution," adds Mr Tulsiani.
Initiatives at a glance
- Container-based search and item-based container track and trace, in case of one item having multiple containers.
- Mobile app for import container status, export container status, RFID location and holiday list.
- Mobile app for internal operations efficiency.
- Facilitating cashless e-payment options.
- Automated self service kiosk.