Kerry Logistics (UK) Ltd
Rob Hilton, Business Change Manager at international logistics company Kerry Logistics, providers of integrated logistics, international freight forwarding and supply chain solutions, explains the reasons behind his company’s return to ASM.
“The relationship between Kerry Logistics and ASM goes back to when we used ASM’s GeMS software for the customs needs of our airfreight business. However, in 2005 we migrated to another customs platform, on the face of it a change that seemed logical. We had transferred to a different freight management system that offered customs software as part of the package, so we went with their customs platform … as it turned out much to the disappointment of our airfreight users.
Recently, we changed our freight management system again, meaning there was no benefit in using customs software linked to an old freight management system. The natural choice was to return to ASM … their software and support made the decision easy to make.
We’re increasingly asked by our customers, for detailed duty and VAT information, which was difficult to provide from the old customs software, because the process was complex and took too long. When customers ask for duty and VAT information, we don’t look professional if we need a few days to find the information. For example, if a customer wants the information broken down by commodity code reference spent over the past 12 months, the only way to do that with the old software was perform a full data dump and tie one of our team up for a week or so to extract the information.
When we reviewed the ASM solution, the flexibility and usability of the reporting suite within Sequoia made that task simple. It gives us everything we need, quickly, easily and now it’s a two minute job to find the information and send it to the customer.
Support from ASM is unmatched, you contact their Help Desk with a question and they always provide an answer. With the previous supplier we suffered from a lack of support mostly because their support service was pretty much a ‘9-to-5’ operation. With ASM, their Help Desk runs 24x7x365 and you’re always dealing with people that know the business rather than just the software. ASM’s people have worked within the industry for a long time and they know what they’re talking about.
When I mentioned to our airfreight offices that we were potentially moving back to ASM and told them we were arranging workshops, the overwhelming reaction was ‘just do it’. ASM are that well respected in the freight forwarding community.
In terms of usability Sequoia is absolutely intuitive, it’s so easy to use and its layout is exactly as you would expect. Our team required a minimum of training, the system is so logical. Obviously, our team are all experienced customs clerks, however they understood Sequoia pretty much straight away and rapidly came ‘up to speed’. I’m confident that you could put an experienced person in front of Sequoia without any training and they would quickly master its operation. It’s that good.
Once we made the decision to go with ASM, I arranged for a meeting with our airfreight team, some of whom were already convinced because they had talked to colleagues in the industry and knew what Sequoia could offer. Following a session at ASM with the airfreight team and a web based session with the seafreight team everyone was on-board. Completing customs entry as quickly as possible is crucial, particularly for airfreight and Sequoia is set to become an integral part of the service we offer our customers.
Sequoia provides a definite productivity edge, the reporting side gives direct benefits to both our customers and our business, and that’s important.
Based on real-time data we can now go to customers, discuss what they’re shipping and help them save duty or VAT. That helps us compete which makes Sequoia as much a business retention and business generation tool as a productivity advantage.
We began the switch to Sequoia with our Heathrow airfreight office on 24th March 2015, and followed that with a progressive rollout to all our UK airfreight offices with the target to transfer all our UK airfreight operations to Sequoia by mid-April 2015. A second project will transfer our seafreight operations to Sequoia, and that’s scheduled for completion by mid-June 2015.
In this industry you need people that know the business not just software providers, with ASM you always deal with people that have worked within the industry for a long time, and know what they’re talking about. Right from our initial discussions with ASM through to project planning we dealt with people able to help, we didn’t have to tell them what we wanted, they constantly came up with ideas and suggested options.