Ocean Carrier Adopts Streamline ERP for MEXICO-US Operations
A Streamline Case Study
World Direct Shipping
600 Tampa Bay Way, Ste 5
Palmetto, Florida 34221
Phone: US - 1 941-729-5828
International - 1 844-712-1400
Fax 1 941-729-5741
Company profileWorld Direct Shipping (WDS) operates its own container ship, which offers direct, weekly sea transport between Coatzacoalcos, Mexico and Port Manatee, Florida for refrigerated, dry and oversized cargo. Featuring door-to-door service, WDS connects the key central and southern markets of Mexico, including Mexico City, to West Florida and the Eastern United States. WDS’s container and refrigerated container services with short transit times (2 ½ days) and frequency (weekly) is ideal for perishable cargo and for customers that need reliable transit with less handling than conventional over-the-road trucks provide. WDS also provides freight forwarding services in Mexico.
WDS operates offices in the Tampa Bay area and in Mexico.
WDS started weekly shipping operations between Mexico and the United States in the fall of 2014. It
was looking for an enterprise resource planning platform for logistics information that was flexible and adaptable to its needs.
“We didn’t want the system to run us,” said Carlos Diaz, WDS’s commercial manager. “We wanted to run the system. We want to keep service personalized for the customer, and provide flexibility to accommodate what they need. We had the capability for our employees to engage with customers. A system was needed to relieve them of mundane tasks and provide checks and balances.
“Ultimately our business is between people. The system is simply a tool to help people run the business.
“We needed somebody who was willing to work with us to conform their system to our style of work. The use of two languages was a key factor. In our office in Mexico, some of our people do not speak English. So instant translation was going to be helpful.”
“Ultimately, our business is between people. The system is simply a tool to help people run the business.”
World Direct Shipping
Streamline ERP provided a perfect, off-the-shelf starting point for WDS.
The Streamline solutions/ tools that were offered and/or adapted for WDS included:
Manifest Generation, Booking and Invoicing – Complete expense tracking for every shipment, including income, balance due, profit and loss per shipment, and costs.
Alerts and Notifications for customers (e-arrival and e-departure notices via email).
Mobile Access/Customer Portals – Access via iPad, iPhone and Android. Customers/Brokers/Forwarders/NVOCCs can see their shipment status and orders as they progress through the supply chain.
Instant Translation (Spanish to English/English to Spanish) applied to all forms (Streamline provides support for eight languages).
Schedule Management – To manage multiple schedules across multiple vessels, enabling each client’s shipment(s) to be tracked and documented for every trip. Arrival and departure notices to WDS’s clients.
Document Management – Built in for each shipment on every trip, supporting each mode of transportation (from ship to train to truck), from shipment to delivery (bill of ladings, manifests, packing slips and more). Vessel manifest generation (at shipment level, client manifest generation).
Integration with U.S. Customs and ACE (Automated Commercial Environment). Currently ACE-certified software vendor for export controls; soon to support ACE system for imports and migrating AESDirect to ACE.
In addition to ocean vessel management, WDS leverages Streamline to manage US/Mexico freight forwarding operations for the entire chain of shipments, from consolidation to break bulk.
Tracking of shipments of multi-mobile shipments via air, land and sea.
Analytics – Dashboards and reports:
Automatic TEU calculations
Pricing and financial management built-in through use of SMB Quickbooks integration.
Integration with Outlook for greater ERP support.
Visibility and Transparency: Streamline gives shippers a 360-degree view of their clients so they can provide up-to-date information on shipments from manifests down to each purchase order.
Tracking Assets and Costs: “As a shipping line, we have more assets we have to track than NBOCCs and FFs. We use our assets not only as a tracking tool, but as a revenue generator. We must ensure our vessel and each voyage is making money. We must attach every booking as a revenue generator. Each container has a cost and must generate money. Now we are working on the equipment tracking program and vendor payments so we can associate costs with each container. We have a couple of things we want to add, but really there are very few modifications between Streamline and WDS. So we are changing the mindset of the system, reconfiguring it to what we need.”
Instant Translation: “Language was a factor. In our office in Mexico, some of our people do not speak English. So the instant translation is helpful.”
Customer Dashboard: “At this stage, we are working on the customer interface, or what the customer sees. We think it’s very important. We want to make sure it’s orderly and aesthetically pleasing. And whether it’s the bill of lading, booking or arrival/destination, if you change one area, it populates the others with that change. And that benefits our customers by making sure data is accurately archived across the entire system.”
Sharing Information with Customers: “We don’t yet send manifests to customers, though we plan on incorporating that in our system. The more we can reduce the number of emails back and forth, the better.”
Aiding WDS’s Growth: “We think Streamline will facilitate our growth. We started using the commercial side of things (Salesforce.) a few weeks ago. It’s good for providing customer service and maintaining customers. We don’t have to focus on the back room so much. We can focus on sales.”
Adding Shipping Capacity: “The first ship is always the most difficult. We are looking to expand to another ship in the route. And looking at another route from Mexico to the US or Central America to the US.”
Maintaining Customer Focus: “We are very customer focused. Our business model is designed from a customer viewpoint. Streamline complies with that and has the ability to adapt.”
The Streamline ERP platform continues to evolve through its subscription model, with updates, enhancements and integration with other systems for document management, global tracking and other practical uses.