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SOFTWARE ShipBuilding rather than bespoke. This means that operators can take a ready-made and proven application and then tailor it suit their own individual requirements. The advantage of this is that applications run off the latest technology platforms, are regularly updated, rarely go wrong and are significantly cheaper than commissioning an individual system. Added to this, packaged software, having been installed in a numerous, similar environments, has been regularly adapted and enhanced to deliver much more than simple data processing. For example, modern software packages will constantly be asking questions as data is exchanged such as “is this my container?” “where is my container?”, “does the bill of lading and booking information match the rate agreed with my client?” The software will also generate prompts to ensure that terminals, customs authorities and port communication systems receive the required information on time and in the correct format. From a customer perspective, automation enhances their service experience as modern systems can offer complete and up-to-the-minute visibility over actual cargo movements. Good applications will also provide customers with added-value services such as internet bookings,

other, related processes. tracking and schedule This business informaenquiries as well as cretion is vital for any operaating more transparency tor seeking to understand between the operator, where the profit is made agent and customer. within the business and Software can also which areas need more bring some much needed management focus. An visibility and transparintegrated software system ency to daily operations. will link all elements of Take the common probthe business to consolidate lem of calculating the and analyze data and then profitability of a bookpresent it in a readable foring: A well thought out mat. software application will Modern software is retrieve variable costs Lars Fischer, Managing much more than simply per shipment from a cost Director,Softship Data processing pieces of data. database and apply these Processing Its real benefit comes from as estimated costs to the booking. Information on volumes taken identifying and extracting information from the customer at the time of book- from those processes and then using ing are automatically married with this built-in intelligence to assist managedata to provide analysis and profitabil- ment to enhance their customer service ity assessments for each consignment – and improve their business profitability. while the customer is still on the phone. And, as the voyage progresses and actual ABOUT THE AUTHOR Lars Fischer is Managing Director costs become known, real-time updates of Softship Data Processing Ltd, Singacan be delivered. Such transparency can also be pore, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Softachieved across a range of similar activi- ship AG, the leading provider of software ties such as invoicing, demurrage and solutions to the international liner shipdetention calculations, container repair ping sector. and maintenance, equipment leasing and


Mar 2013 Marine Log Magazine