In 2019 Centersource completed a survey amongst a number of companies that collectively export, transport or import over nine million cubic meters of lumber materials annually. We asked these companies if they were satisfied with the work tools currently available to them. As a result, over 90% have replied with a definitive “No”.
In forestry, in particular, and within global trade in general, a significant amount of work is already digitalised or automated to various degrees. For example, the business processes of tendering raw materials, production and sorting. However, export and logistics fields are still plagued by inefficiencies of manual processes. Our two clients in northern and eastern Europe have told us of past situations, occurring through their old working methods, where the staff on holiday leave still needed to keep track of shipment status and deadlines. Another situation that was brought to our attention was when sending the original shipment, documents were forgotten. This has been discovered by the importer only six weeks afterwards, whilst the cargo was counting up demurrage and detention fees during that time. Using the Timber Exchange platform can eliminate such occurrences.
Until recently, companies have been heavily focused on optimising the early stages of the supply chain, which has left the areas of export and logistics uncovered by digital transformation and automation. This means that the staff working in those areas has been at a disadvantage compared to their colleagues, suffering from reduced productivity, higher demands of customer service and impacting the companies’ profitability. Also, the need to stay alert to the work calls and shipment schedules, even on vacation, can impact their health and performance.
What is a Digital Workplace?
Today, the physical office is not where the work gets done anymore. Instead, it happens across a series of devices and digital spaces. A digital workplace is not the company’s intranet or the enterprise social network; but a combination of platforms, tools and solutions that contain a variety of business tasks and processes.
The onset of emails and excel computing can be called the starting point of the digital workspace. However, what separates a basic digital workplace of the past from the currently available digital potential is the ability to track process completion, generate automated necessary tasks, assign them to designated staff, track process completion, and see the timing effects that one task can have on the rest of the process.
What Are The Impacts of The Change?
One of the key aspects of an efficient digital workplace is the unified communication stream across the online and offline modes that creates a shared view accessible for all employees from a variety of devices. Keeping track of all communications across platforms creates transparency and increases the accountability of actions, tasks and criteria of completion. Which in turn positively affects the efficiency of the business operations.
Who Will The Change Affect?
Logistics and export professionals have been so far put at a disadvantage by the lack of available advanced tools in their digital workplace. With the Timber Exchange platform, they can finally work on par with their colleagues in other areas. With a full set of digital tools, they will be able to provide a better service to their import customers and set out a more efficient collaboration process with their forwarders. The use of digital documents eliminates issues with lost documents. Not only the multi-lingual nature of the platform allows all parties to see the data in their native language, but it also increases transparency by minimizing the potential for communication errors and important details getting lost in translation.
Benefits of Digital Transformation
The optimized benefits enabled by digital tools and automating manual task processes are hard to dispute. Automating simple things such as follow-ups, reminders and tenders via email can save a manager around 1 hour 15 minutes a day only by conservative estimates. Whilst overall, the export stuff can save around 2 hours 50 minutes a day across all processes. All these time savings put together across the staff add up to a significant potential to invest this time in value-adding work or reducing operational costs. Some of the benefits generating value-added service to our clients being reported so far include the following: increased exposure to new markets and importers, increased ability to achieve improved deal terms, improved customer (importer) satisfaction, and reduced risk for manual errors that could lead to unnecessary costs.
Support and Education
At Timber Exchange, we understand the importance of guiding our clients through getting used to new business routines and processes. This is why we offer a personalized onboarding set-up process that considers the specific needs of your company. After the initial introduction, we will help you register your team structure and your first deals on the platform with a live one-on-one session. The platform adoption is structured as a clear step-by-step action plan that will gradually introduce tools one by one, which is essential for a successful implementation process. As your workflow stays the same, with the incremental changes, the increase in efficiency will be all the more evident.
After the onboarding process completes, our Customer Success team will engage with our clients in a continuous endeavour to proactively help them to achieve desired business outcomes. This ongoing support will help them get the maximized benefits out of our platform along with learning new skills. Meanwhile, the Customer Support team will be able to resolve any emerging issues.
In addition to an organized document, higher accuracy, accountability, and transparency, your team will be able to gain new skills, significantly simplifying their day-to-day workflow, and providing better service to your customers.
Take our quiz to see how much time you would be able to save if you change just a few work routines.