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From the industry: Supporting the velocity of a global supply chain

If your company makes a product from parts purchased from suppliers and those products are sold to customers, then you have a supply chain. Some supply chains are simple, while others are more complex. Companies of all shapes and sizes, regional or global, face similar challenges with their supply chains and that includes the fact that transport costs are continuing to rise across all modes and services levels.

Luther Brown, CEO of nVision Global

Manufacturers and distributors spend billions on transporting goods across global regions, utilising different modes of transport and providing multiple levels of service. In addition, numerous transport providers are used, invoices are billed in multiple currencies and supply chain data may be contained in disparate systems.

A recent industry study on real-time visibility found 97% of supply chain executives saw it as crucial to their businesses. Unfortunately, many of the companies surveyed were limiting their logistics visibility by relying on manual processes for information exchange among supply chain participants. That included for global rate cards (pricing), freight invoices, shipment tendering and shipment status updates.

Software-as-a-service (Saas), whereby a third-party provider hosts applications and makes them available to customers over the internet, has been gaining in popularity across a range of industries over the past few years. However, carmakers are still reluctant to take what they perceive as a chance on data security. At the same time, the days of laborious manual processes and vast on-premise data centres are numbered, and there are now a number of competing specialists in the global supply chain technology field offering services to the automotive industry.

Integrated services
One of them is nVision Global, which has evolved from a regional US freight payment company set up in 1993 to become one of the fastestgrowing global freight audit, payment and logistics management service providers in the industry. It now has operations on four continents and has recently expanded its global footprint with a new centre in Cluj Napoca in Romania. The company specialises in global supply chain technology, both SaaS and managed services for transport, procurement, freight invoice audits, and loss and damage cargo claims.

Luther Brown, chief executive at nVision Global, discusses the range of solutions the firm offers in more detail.

“At nVision Global we offer a full line of integrated, supply chain technology and managed services and solutions designed to support the velocity required for today’s global supply chain,” he says. “Through our network of strategically placed full service locations, nVision Global partners with multi-national corporations seeking a single source solution to address the demands of their global supply chains.”

Brown says the company can provide configurable solutions based on individual customers and their desires for managed services, software services or a combination of both.

“We continue to build our network of tens of thousands of global multimodal transportation providers and customers managing millions of rate tables that are utilised in billions of dollars of worldwide transportation spend annually,” says Brown. “nVision Global’s unique suite of tools provides these capabilities in a streamlined workflow that allows supply chain and logistics managers to have the control and visibility they need to optimise costs.”

Systems with iMpact
nVision Global’s transport and logistics management solution – iMpact TMS – allows users and companies to integrate their enterprise resource planning (ERP) with nVision Global. In turn those users can automatically create shipment orders, rate the orders against negotiated pricing tariffs and perform controlled spot bids on shipments if necessary. The system provides stakeholders with the ability to make shopping queries based on service requirements to determine the least-cost transport provider for a given lane or individual shipment activity.

They can also retrieve management approval for the individual shipment (if necessary based on cost), tender the shipment to the chosen transport provider and ultimately have integrated visibility on the shipments movements from freight pickup to delivery.

According to the company, the software even offers vendor integration allowing them to determine when a product is ready to be shipped. iMpact TMS acts as a vital cog in the closed loop logistics procurement process and features unique contract management features that enable the stakeholders to choose the most cost-efficient provider for the shipment activity based on individual shipment service requirements.

Furthermore, to improve the monitoring of shipment tracking and current status visibility, the firm leverages iVisibility, a real-time monitoring portal. This product provides users visibility on all activity for inbound and outbound transport activity, bills of ladings, purchase orders and tendered shipments, as well as status messages and alerts for potential delivery failures. This allows users to make informed operational decisions based on real-time updates.

The company’s iProcurement solution aims to raise standards in freight management by analysing the lagging points of clients’ existing management model and then offering a remedy plan. Along with project management, the tool also provides services for a quick quote, 24-hour-service management, and for advanced and multiple bidding rounds.

iClaim
As part of this offering, Brown says the company has provision for taking care of cargo loss or damages during transport through its iClaim service, an online claim module that allows the customer to streamline their company’s freight claim management. It is both a pre-claim and formal claims recording process. It allows individual locations to begin a loss and damage claim that is immediately visible to the regional or corporate control for the company’s loss and damage claims process. This tool has helped many shippers and receivers to eliminate claims that were being denied as a result of being filed too late.

Operating in such a fast-paced market, innovation and constant development are crucial to success. As such, the company’s initiative to modernise the traditional invoice audit and payment process has found takers.

Luther Brown points to how it helped one of its clients to improve cost efficiencies through automating most of its fleet work. The client was facing complications because of its traditional inventory management, which resulted in higher cost and outdated fleet management services. Looking at the company’s existing structure, nVision identified and took out loopholes in the network and assisted the client in automating most of its services.

“Our automated services improved the cost-efficiency of the client by 19%,” says Brown. “With routing compliance, we are further working to improve it by another 10%.”

Brown says that implementing an automated procurement, freight audit and payment process allows flexibility and improved responsiveness while creating a true closed-loop spend management process that delivers more than just reduced freight spend.

Tools in the right hands
Staff are vital to the success of any firm and Brown highlights the importance of empowering them to make the best use of the company’s response management tools. That includes taking quick and effective action when faced with changes and volatility in demand, supply, capacity or product. According to Brown this ultimately drives improved customer and operational performance, supply chain efficiencies and reduced transport expenses.

Under Brown’s leadership nVision Global has placed itself as a market leader in delivering freight services and logistics management. Looking ahead, Brown says the company remains committed to working with what he calls “supply chain visionaries” to develop solutions that exceed the expectations of the its customers and build longstanding partnerships.

“We encourage our customers and their supply chain providers to share where they want to be, what they want to accomplish, and how we can best work together to get there,” says Brown. “The end result of our joint collaboration efforts continues to be powerful solutions that provide enhanced detailed visibility and strong execution tools designed to address complex situations.”