Providing Visibility in Asian Logistics

Oct. 1, 2008
Solution providers are resolving supply chain issues

Although Asian geography may not be familiar to US logistics professionals, supply chain challenges needing resolution are certainly recognizable. The matter of providing shipment visibility is one challenge reflected around the globe.

Offering a wide range of international freight forwarding services for more than three decades, HTL Logistics Ltd. uses technology to provide its clients with complete visibility to enable them to plan business activities. It found its current technology wasn't keeping up with growth plans.

Headquartered in Sri Lanka, the company has its own offices in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China as well as maintaining partnerships across the world. Among its key customers are Levi Strauss & Co., Tektronics Engineering and Saint Gobain Glass. HTL handles 5,000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent units) of ocean cargo and 40 million kilos of air freight annually.

HTL is on a transformation path from being a freight forwarder to a complete 3PL operator with focus on offering such services as warehousing and distribution. Among a wide range of value added services it provides are multi-country consolidation, supply chain and inventory management, break-bulk operations and import/export documentation. In seeking to move forward with expansion plans, HTL found its existing technology was obsolete.

“We initiated a meticulous search to identify the best freight management solution,” says Ahamed Reyaz Farook, president and CEO of HTL. “We found in Kale the highest standards of providing integrated freight management systems.” Kale Consultants is based in India with more than 95 customers across five continents.

Our vision is to be the end-to-end technology partner for organizations in the airline, logistics and travel space,” claims Sumeet Nadkar, head of the Logistics Strategic Business Unit for Kale. “Over the last few years, we have significantly increased our capacity and reach. We now employ more than 1,500 techno-functional professionals across three software development centers and four managed process outsourcing centers in India, with global offices in the US, UK, New Zealand and Argentina.”

The supplier's web-based freight management system offers integrated Customer Relationship Management and operations modules so that it is easy to get accurate information about shipments at just one point. Kale explains its forwarder's solution offers one-time data entry, export and import document management, maintenance of carrier schedules and tariff rates, EDI interfaces with Customs, the ability to integrate with other third-party applications, multi-locations and multi-branch access, among other features.

“We provided HTL with an end-to-end freight forwarding solution covering functions from sales to operations to accounting on a single technology platform,” explains Nadkar. “The new generation solution is web-based and all HTL offices as well as its partners have complete visibility of goods at all times. Moreover the system is built on a philosophy of preventing failures from happening rather than reporting failures through Management Information Systems reports which is what most systems do today.”

In reflecting on the Kale solution, HTK's Farook says, “The easy user interface and industry standard process flow makes it easier for our staff to get acquainted with the application, reducing the need for highly skilled labor and minimizing errors in the process.”

With headquarters in Seoul, LG Electronics has selected GXS to consolidate its global supply chain. The move by the technology provider of consumer electronics, home appliances and mobile communications is to reduce its supply chain complexity and centralize present European, US, South American and Asian-Pacific enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems into one South Korean platform.

As with its ERP activities, LG Electronics had been using a number of B2B providers across the globe, resulting in duplication of processes and what it saw as slow response to the needs of its more than 200 global trading partners in 70 countries. The GXS Trading Grid was the solution it chose.

Global headquarters for GXS are in Gaithersburg, MD. The supplier explains its Trading Grid is a global B2B e-commerce and integration platform supporting creation and adoption of on-demand supply chain management solutions for companies of any size. Customers use it for exchange of goods and services, to gain visibility into global logistics operations and to synchronize product data.

“As we've grown as a company in the last 50 years, so has the complexity of our supply chain,” explains SunYoung (Sarah) Oh, assistant manager, Information Strategy Team of LG Electronics. “Reducing that complexity was as important to our company as ensuring global integration capabilities and increasing real-time visibility into our trading partner network. GXS is the only B2B integration vendor we have found that can easily support all three of these initiatives.”