Hellmann Worldwide Logistics has enhanced customer service, increased productivity, and is set to make significant savings within a year, following its introduction of the Impatex Customs Manager system to handle all its UK Customs processing.
Hellmann made the switch to Impatex following a detailed evaluation of its Customs processing operations, conducted in late 2003. Impatex was appointed as Hellmann's new systems provider in July 2004, and both exports and imports were brought on line from October 2004. An interface has now been written between the Impatex system and Hellmann's own Hellogic system, so that data can be shared to avoid double-keying.
All of Hellmann's nine UK branches connect to two communications servers in the UK, which link to the air- and ocean communities. Uniquely, these communications servers in turn connect to two applications servers at Hellmann's global HQ in Osnabrueck, Germany, which store all data and interface to Hellmann's own global forwarding and logistics systems. These systems are mirrored in the USA and Hong Kong to provide full emergency backup around the clock.
Hellmann reviewed its Customs processing arrangements as part of its core strategy of upgrading all locations to multi-modal capability. Explains UK Operations Director Doug Overett: "All Hellmann branches can now process any entry, for any transport mode, shipped through any port. We can easily stream processing work between branches to even out peak workloads and cater for staff shortages, or provide resilience against any local system outages. This will mean more consistent service for our customers and better use of our resources."
Adds Business Process Manager Allan Clarke, who has overseen the entire project: "Our staff are finding the Impatex system very user-friendly. It runs invisibly under our own forwarding and logistics systems, with which it shares data; this has eradicated double-keying, and minimised the scope for error. The system's inbuilt Customs tariff auto-classification and validation feature is also a great time-saver."
Hellmann was the first Impatex multi-branch customer to adopt BT Syntegra's new IPStream network. This connects direct to CCS-UK like the old and expensive X25 network it replaces, but at a much lower cost that makes it affordable for smaller agents too. The move to IPStream will make a significant contribution towards Hellmann's overall savings from its new Impatex system - expected to reach six figures in the first year.
Hellmann's savings take into account the one-time cost of writing the link to its own systems. The economies will come from reductions in system rental and CCS-UK fees, savings in communications costs and a conservative estimate of increased productivity. After year one, savings will continue indefinitely at around half the initial level.
Impatex MD Peter Day comments: "This was an exciting project for us, involving setting up our system to interface with Hellmann's Germany-based in-house forwarding system. It is also an excellent example of how most agents, irrespective of size, will save significant sums by migrating from ISDN to IPStream."
He concludes: "Now agents can link direct to the CCS-UK switch without the cost of additional connection software, they can have a single, sophisticated, proven multi-modal customs processing system that integrates with any forwarding package, increases productivity and - in many cases - substantially reduces overall costs."
Impatex has supplied Customs processing systems since 1979, and pioneered 'Intelligent' DTI in 1983 with the introduction of FCP80 for the Felixstowe ocean community. Its multi-modal Customs Manager software uniquely interfaces with all the DTI Communities - CCS-UK, CNS, Dover and MCP. The system comprises 9 modules covering DTI, ERTS, NES, NCTS, CFSP, Warehousing, OPR, IPR and Intrastats - all automatically validated against the full HM Customs Tariff which is updated monthly. Customs Manager is in use by hundreds of UK freight forwarding companies - including 15 of the UK's top 20 airfreight forwarders - together with many shippers.