“ICE” does not refer to frozen water only, but also to a formula to help increase the operational efficiency of logistics players, according to Amit Maheshwari, chief executive officer of India-based IT solutions provider SoftLink Global.
Maheshwari recently visited the Philippines to introduce SoftLink’s Logi-Sys, a web-based, modular, enterprise-level application that combines all the operations and functions of a logistics service provider into one integrated system. Logi-Sys uses cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP), providing application scalability and reduced hardware costs for enterprises.
In a sit-down interview with PortCalls, Maheshwari said Logi-Sys allows users to integrate, control, and empower the enterprise, or ICE.
Logi-Sys integrates into a single database the end-to-end logistics activities of an enterprise, from operations to accounting. The application encompasses making inquiries and quotations, booking and shipment to billing, as well as incorporates management of air, sea, import, export, LCL, FCL, and factory stuffing, and other processes. Quotations can also be approved before sending out and freight rates restored in the application.
The logistics service provider can choose from different plug-and-play modules depending on his needs, including modules on sales and services, freight forwarding, transport management, warehouse management, purchase order management, visibility, customs broking, financial accounting, and billing.
Maheshwari said the application enhances control of business operations. Logi-Sys uses a standard system that is, however, highly configurable. But once configured, data in the software is highly controlled, and the app will reject wrong entries. Only a senior officer may change the configuration, Maheshwari noted.
Logi-Sys can automate the entire accounting process with all receivables, payables, and bank/cash transactions directly posted in accounts. A built-in track and trace facility also provides users intuitive and predictive tracking, and a bird’s eye view of operations allows all shipments to be tracked.
Moreover, the application has an alert and notification system, business intelligence system, smart reports, key performance indicators, system for approvals, budgets, and electronic data interchange, among others.
With these, coupled with easy access to data, Logi-Sys can empower the enterprise, Maheshwari said.
Checking bills of lading, quotes, and other documents is easier since Logi-Sys is cloud-based. As long as there is Internet connection and a browser, Logi-Sys can be accessed from any device or gadget. Maheshwari said this frees a company’s branches from geography limitations, especially in an archipelagic country like the Philippines.
Currently, SoftLink has servers in India, Singapore, the U.S., and Europe.
The software can also be configured to automatically send daily, weekly, or monthly reports, which most large shippers usually requests, Maheshwari said. This saves time and effort for the user, since there is no need to cut and paste reports on Excel.
Sending quotes and invoices, which some customers might feel is unnecessary and get defensive about, can even be sent mandatorily to the shipper. This can reduce the recovery cycle of some of Logi-Sys users since clients are reminded of their due dates. Credit limits can also be capped, and the application enters soft-stop mode when the credit limit is nearing.
Maheshwari said using even only 80% to 85% of Logy-Sys can increase efficiency of an enterprise by a minimum of 200%.
He acknowledged that “in terms of value, it’s hard to quantify” the impact of the software and will depend on how the software is utilized.
SoftLink has been in the business since 1998, and aside from Logi-Sys, it provides various applications specifically for the logistics and trade services.
Maheshwari pointed out that though he is an electronic engineer, he started as a customs broker and went into freight forwarding, where he created software for his company. He then set up SoftLink which now has operations in Asia, the U.S., and Europe.
Some of SoftLink’s clients include the India units of DHL Logistics, DB Schenker, FedEx, TNT, and Maersk, and logistics service providers such as UTC, Airocean Cargo, Cargomen, Matrix Logistics, Agility, DSV Air and Sea, and Nippon Express India.
The Philippines’ first user of Logi-Sys is international and domestic freight forwarder CTSI Logistics, which bought the application last year. Maheshwari has also met with some local freight forwarders to introduce his product, scheduled for a formal launch in the country by the middle of this year. – Roumina Pablo