Pricing quotation solution for logistics needs of an international publishing company

Challenge

Logistics efficiency is very important in the publishing industry and a key factor in pricing options. Pricing can be both complex and cumbersome when dealing with multi-modal, multi-route pricing matrices. As a publishing distributor they needed to provide a quick and efficient service to their customers, who were not interested in the process, only results.

The client had identified that incorrect data management led to inaccurate pricing quotations which led to either loss of customers, credibility or reduced profit margins.

Driven by the desire to improve internal team efficiencies; have one tool to manage multiple suppliers; increase speed of response to their customers and manage complex algorithms, this customer decided a cloud-based tool was required to support the growth of their business.

This client started to define their stakeholders in this project. They identified their internal processes, areas of bottle-neck, operational needs and desires, customer needs and finally went to find any potential solutions.

Client is an international publishing company with offices in 41 countries worldwide and operates in more than thirty others. They publish a wide range of books, magazines, and digital products for the consumer and education markets.

Solution

Incepteo held a few workshops with the client to gather the process flows and understand the user journey. After mapping the product requirements, it concluded to split the whole project into five phases. This was discussed with the client and mutually agreed.

  1. Convert the defined functionality and process flows into a web application
  2. Incremental release of new feature to develop and enhance the business needs
  3. Build and release system configuration screens to empower the customer to manage and control the solution
  4. Build complex audit trails for configurable master data
  5. Integration to PO management system

An industry specific challenge

Forward planning of logistics movements is a challenge across all industries as the costing side often happens before the physical product has been created. This results in unit dimensions being the only values logistics teams have to work with to obtain quotations.

Using unit dimensions, algorithms were built to ensure maximum utilisation of defined cartons which could then be optimally loaded onto pallets. Incepteo programmatically implemented the best fit of cartons onto various defined pallets to overcome this issue. Additionally the best fit is visually shown in a 3D image in the system which was valued by the customer. This modelling ensured that the quote provided a cost per unit that was 97% accurate of the final shipment.

Outcome

Client started using the system as a pilot for UK region and then implemented it globally across all regions. Providing a customer portal allowed the client to give direct access to their key customers with agreed rates to improve their control and ease of managing this business requirement.

The product evolved with new features such as one-off quotes, simplification of importing supplier rate cards, setting validity for exchange rates, and more.

Highlights

  • Fully Customisable
  • Configurable Master Rate Data and Custom Rules
  • Quotation Generation
  • 3D visual of pallet loads
  • Quotation History
  • Ad hoc Quotation for New Routes/Customers
  • Multi-level Quotation – Unit / Carton / Pallet / Container
  • Cost per Unit Summary
  • Multiple Currencies
  • Export and Share facility
  • Audit Log