What does it take to bring the logistics of a leading European coffee importer to a new level? Having the right information at the right time allows Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG) to capitalise on today’s challenges in the logistic industry and streamline their supply chain activities.
According to NKG, part of their challenge was in dealing with a complex blend of service providers, visibility gaps in coffee inland locations and manual, paper-based flow of trade documents. When the cloud-based, blockchain-enabled TradeLens platform came around, they knew it was the solution they’d been waiting for.
We had limited data visibility for years and were waiting for something like TradeLens to come along.
NKG's relationships run long and strong with their partners up and down the coffee chain — from carriers and growers to their truckers and customs brokers. But these strong ties didn't prevent delays that frequently forced the importer to replan their logistics. As an indication of the inherent uncertainty of their supply chain, the importer added 14 days to transit times as a buffer. Blanked sailings at remote ports were often to blame and led to delays at transhipment ports.
Political instability, strikes and landslides in rural locations where their coffee is sourced also caused delays.
Adding to the impact of these delays, updates and confirmations from inland service providers were hard to come by and arrived by email, if at all. With so many suppliers and service providers often in remote locations, it was nearly impossible to know the ‘where’ and ‘when’ of containers at all times.
Carrier websites provided the best available information but scraping them took time and didn't ordinarily provide details of inland events like delivery of empty containers, stuffing, sealing or terminal arrival. The importer’s traditional reliance on paper bills of lading (BL), which had to be couriered internationally, posed the risk of document loss and delay of cargo release. The system was slow, but it worked. That is until Covid-19 closed offices, disrupting processes and making paper BLs hugely impractical.
NKG was able to quickly onboard new ecosystem partners, including carriers, truckers, terminals and exporters, to the TradeLens platform. Accurate events now come directly from the source. Collectively, they publish 8 event types in real time: gate out empty, empty arrival at production site, container stuffed, packed transport equipment sealed, loaded on truck, discharged from truck, gate in full and discharged from truck.
TradeLens Shipment Manager gives the importer one place to check the status of containers in real time.
Permissioned partners like exporters and truckers can also access event data.
Document publishing also facilitated a smooth transition during the pandemic. TradeLens enabled ecosystem partners to switch from original BLs to digital seaway bills, shared safely and instantaneously over the platform.
Through TradeLens, Neumann Kaffee Gruppe has gained visibility into inland activities for their Brazilian operations for the first time in their long history in the region. It's estimated that 24,000 events are being published at this location over the year. Such events pertain to 3,000 containers that were processed through the platform and consolidated into one view on TradeLens.
End-to-end visibility is improving communication for every ecosystem partner as they receive event data that helps them to coordinate efforts, mitigate risks and quickly replan after delays.
As a result of easy implementation of the platform and onboarding of ecosystem partners, our client moved 15% of their total import business to the TradeLens platform within a year.
Supply chain visibility at origin for inland transportation is often a secret. If there is a problem with
a truck in Brazil or any other unforeseen circumstances, it will have an immediate impact on my
supply chain. This is where TradeLens helps us to remove the blind spots and makes a difference.
What's nextNeumann Kaffee Gruppe will continue with TradeLens roll out and adoption globally and are very interested in leveraging the
digital opening caused by Covid-19 to champion the use of eBLs for their shipments.