Shipping firm improves efficiency with electronic document system

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Shipping firm improves efficiency with electronic document system

Antony Savvas

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the second largest container shipping company in the world, is extending the use of a document management system after earlier successes.

From its Ipswich headquarters, MSC UK offers shippers and consignees a range of services supported by branch offices in London, Liverpool and Glasgow, together with operational management at major UK ports.

MSC is planning to extend its use of EASY’s workflow and document management technologies to its export department, thanks to the success of the technology in an import department workflow automation project.

MSC’s import department was facing a mountain of paper files and the business was suffering from inefficiencies in service and productivity. “We faced a real challenge,” said Mike Wilson, MSC UK quality manager.

Wilson said MSC needed to scan and store its paper archive, introduce its staff to a new electronic way of working, and at the same time automate the processes of the import department using a workflow system to improve efficiency and customer service.

Wilson explained, “Things are done a certain way for historical reasons and personal preferences, and, because paper is involved, simply logging and identifying those processes and flows so that we could then map them electronically would have been a huge undertaking. So we designed an outline workflow, which went through several iterations, and after significant testing we had a working solution.”

An interface to MSC’s Link system was produced so that the EASY Workflow system could read the manifest that is produced electronically by Link, and from that data a job file is produced. A combination of electronic and paper client documents are pulled together and all made available electronically, managed by the workflow system.

To make the task more manageable and to reduce disruption to the business, the team focused on two trade routes first and secured user and business confidence in that before applying the system to the remaining 26 trades.

Thanks to success in both the import and finance departments, MSC has already begun the next phase of its document and workflow automation in its export department.

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