Some of A.P. Moller - Maersk’s most innovative products continue to grow following their introduction to the market. At the same time, the organisation is reshaping its technological landscape to improve efficiency and help drive the transformation.
By Clarissa David & Jesper Toft Madsen
Digital innovation remains key to offer customers a seamless, end-to-end experience. Two innovations – Trade Finance and Twill – are making headway with users and making a significant contribution to realising A.P. Moller - Maersk’s growth potential.
Both solutions are a result of a co-creation approach that engages customers in developing effective products and services and ensures that the developed solutions will enhance their experience of doing business with Maersk.
Providing easy access to capital
According to the World Trade Organization, access to capital is the second biggest obstacle to global trade behind infrastructure. Maersk is trying to break down this barrier with Trade Finance, a simple financial solution that brings together the flow of goods and flow of money on a digital interface to help importers and exporters with their working capital needs.
Since the first pilot in 2015, Trade Finance has seen rapid growth, expanding its geographical footprint to six countries across three continents.
“We have grown the business exponentially and have learned a lot more about our customers and their needs. Now we must use our learnings to transform and grow even more,” says Vipul Sardana, Global Head of Trade Finance.
The ambition is to become a significant revenue contributor and enable customers to grow, e.g. by creating financial solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and by incorporating Trade Finance across Maersk’s ocean and non-ocean product offerings.
We have grown the business exponentially and have learned a lot more about our customers and their needs. Now we must use our learnings to transform and grow even more.
Reducing trade barriers
Just like Trade Finance, Maersk’s digital shipping platform, Twill, is gaining traction in the market. The Twill platform enables customers to book, manage and monitor shipments at the click of a button – thereby reducing trade barriers, especially for SMEs
Launched in April 2017 and initially managing shipments between China and the United Kingdom, Twill was live in 27 countries by the end of 2018. It has been experiencing month-to-month volume growth by constantly developing solutions in close collaboration with customers.
“Twill is about enabling SMEs to realise their full growth potential by removing the complexities of international trade. It is about being agile in creating online solutions with customers so they can get full access to the global market,” says Troels Støvring, CEO of Twill.
About 90% of Twill transactions go beyond standard port-to-port ocean freight services and include other services too, such as customs house brokerage and trucking.
“Our ambition is to make the platform a digital one-stop shop where SME customers can take care of all their logistics and supply chain needs,” adds Støvring.
Twill is about enabling SMEs to realise their full growth potential by removing the complexities of international trade. It is about being agile in creating online solutions with customers so they can get full access to the global market.
Turning technology into a growth enabler
Since November 2018, thousands of Maersk customers have been able to go to maersk.com, view real-time information on the availability of routes, equipment and resources, submit a request for shipment — and then receive an instant confirmation that their cargo has been booked.
The instant visibility is an industry first. Previously, that kind of instant access and instant response system seemed nearly impossible in container logistics. Today, 800 bookings on average are already going through the new platform every day.
“Self-service instant booking is part of a suite of transformations to Maersk’s technology landscape that are already benefiting not just customers and employees but also the business results,” says Adam Banks, Chief Information & Technology Officer of Maersk.
To deliver on its above market growth ambitions, Maersk has recognised the need for a streamlined IT operation to support and drive transformation.
While customers are already benefiting from a simpler, more transparent booking process, Maersk’s employees can expect the transformation to result in easier ways of working with fewer and more standardised applications, a more secure and informed use of data, and better collaboration.
Maersk is delivering on the vision in which digital transformation and technological rationalisation become the backbone of delivering a seamless, end-to-end experience for its customers.
Industry collaboration to boost efficiency
Maersk has teamed up with CIOs of four other major carriers to form a non-profit industry association focused on digitalisation and standardisation of IT across the shipping industry. The result of agreed tech protocols will result in increased efficiency for terminals and port authorities, and less red tape for customers.