Most will agree with the statement that spreadsheets are extremely powerful and versatile tools – it is no coincidence that one of the most-used software programs in the business world is a spreadsheet. But when it comes to planning and managing a company's global shipping and raw material requirements, it has its limitations. Limitations that can have costly implications.
Seeing the complete picture
Today, many industrial companies manage their shipping and inventory situation using a myriad of spreadsheets, often in combination with an all-encompassing ERP system. To get the full picture, managers are forced to undertake the time-consuming and error-prone task of piecing together information from spreadsheets, various systems and e-mails – that by the time completed, is often too late to take proactive measures.
With CargoValue, companies achieve full visibility in one place. Planned and ongoing shipments are linked to destination inventory levels, giving a more accurate representation of how the stock levels across operations are expected to develop. Everyone involved can see the latest updates in real-time, allowing stakeholders to quickly realign plans without spending time on manual updates.
Real-time updates and notifications
There is no easy way of getting updated information on the position of a vessel or its next ETA in a spreadsheet. This means it can take several days before the plant team gets updated information about changes in the shipping schedule, potentially leading to a costly low stock situation or in a worst-case – outage.
In CargoValue, we utilize advanced satellite tracking and algorithms to ensure that decision-makers have the latest information available always. For example, if a shipment’s ETA changes, the new ETA will automatically be reflected in the schedule and the respective inventory figures adjusted immediately, helping users quickly realign plans to avoid a potential low- or high-stock situation.
Moreover, notifications help users identify and address problems before they become critical. This is especially useful in a potential demurrage situation, where scheduled vessels are likely to clash in port. An alert will be generated once the overlapping shipments are planned – usually more than a month in advance – giving the user ample time to adjust the schedules to avoid demurrage.
Collaborate safely across offices
Version control is every worker's nightmare. Though prevalent in every office space, spreadsheets were not meant to be a tool for collaboration. Yet they are frequently sent back and forth as email attachments or stored in shared workspaces for multiple users to work on. A spreadsheet named "final" is most often not the final one, and there is no way to ensure that all parties refer to and take action on the same information.
On top of that, it is almost impossible to restrict read and write access on a user level or track who made what change. This puts proprietary information at risk of falling into the wrong hands or being accidentally manipulated without trace.
Being a cloud-based solution, CargoValue captures updates from all users and only displays the latest information, while keeping an audit trail of every change ever made. User read and write access can be defined down to the terminal and commodity level, allowing for multiple stakeholders to collaborate on the same platform.
Since we started developing CargoValue in 2015, our mission has been to build a platform that outsmarts spreadsheets in every possible way. We want to empower companies to reduce logistics costs from freight, demurrage and storage by replacing manual routines and spreadsheets with actionable data and real-time collaboration.