help save you the time, cost and resources
of developing and maintaining this data
stream on your own system.
Of course, your company will have
unique needs for Web services technology.
To customize a system that will meet your
data needs and complement your existing
e-commerce investment, you can add “plug
& play” Web services modules to create an
pace of trade flows and events occur that can
affect sailing schedules.
With up-to-the-minute fresh data, your
employees won’t have to wait for cargo
movement information or manually update
changes about shipments in their ocean
supply chain. So your people can spend
less time gathering and organizing information—and more time managing it to your
Now you can receive the latest sailing
schedules on demand from a single consolidated source, so you know when your
goods leave and arrive. Instead of waiting
for this data via electronic data interchange
and batch file transfers to be processed, you
can “mash” this information together and
view it simultaneously to complete the necessary documentation to comply with new
global shipping regulations.
For example, consider the recently
enacted Importer Security Filing (ISF)
Rule—better known as “ 10 + 2”—as part of
the SAFE Port Act. To increase supply chain
security, 10 + 2 requires importers and carriers to submit additional data to U.S. Customs at least 24 hours prior to a container
being loaded on a ship destined for the U.S.
With Web services, you can more easily
meet this regulation by receiving this information faster from multiple sources and
combining it at your company for easier
entry in the necessary fields. This means
you can ensure that shipping containers are
moving at optimum speed, while avoiding
costly penalties for non-compliance with 10
+ 2 and preventing customer complaints.
Due to terrorism concerns in global
shipping, many other countries are following the lead of the U.S. in enacting more
stringent regulations like 10 + 2. Web services can help make it faster and easier for
you to access the data you need to comply
with these regulations—and react to other
new regulations and requirements that may
arise around the world.
Leveraging Your E-Commerce
Web services technology enables you to
leverage your existing investment in internal e-commerce systems. For example,
with Web services, you can automate
more aspects of the booking and tracking
process to close up information gaps to
speed up processing and open up workflow. And Web services make it easier to
combine sailing schedule data with other
external data sources to create powerful
online productivity tools.
In addition, by providing a richer user
experience and more effective automated
processes, Web services can give your company the ability to react to changes in shipping schedules with velocity and agility.
This is especially valuable in today’s volatile
global marketplace, where prices and market demand can change overnight.
Web services also create the opportunity
for “white labeling,” which enables you to
designate a carrier or shipper as a portal for
specialized types of information. This can
Meeting Challenges of Adopting
Like any change in business process, there’s
more to adopting Web services for ocean
shipping than how you use this technology
in consumer applications. While gaining
real-time access to shipping data is important, it’s critical that the data has been
“cleansed” so it’s ready to be viewed and
used by shippers and other information
consumers in the supply chain. Otherwise,
your applications may not be able to filter
and process the data to your advantage.
This means your internal systems have
to be prepared to receive (and send out)
data that can be consumable by your company, as well as others in your supply
chain. Web services also requires that data
conform to Web-enabled standards so it can
be universally viewed and used by a variety
If your company is just starting to
embrace Web services, you’re not alone.
Many importers and carriers are still in the
process of incorporating these technologies
into the way they do business. However,
the sooner your company can adopt Web
services, the earlier you can start to improve
the accuracy of your shipping schedules,
increase the productivity of your shipping
personnel, and more easily comply with
global shipping regulations.
A good place to start using Web services
is sharing information across disparate systems in internal company operations. This
gives you the opportunity to develop a
comfort level with the nuances of Web services before distributing or receiving information to or from external sources.
It all adds up to bringing ocean shipping
up to Web speed—something that all consumers have come to expect in virtually
every aspect of their lives, both at home
and at work.
To access this article online, visit The Digital
Edition at www.SupplyChainBrain.com.