Ask The Expert: C Mani, New Age Software
Question: What are the benefits of specialised ERP packages for the logistics sector?
Expert: C Mani, vice president, IT, New Age Software & Solutions.
A vertical ERP suite like eFreight, rather than a proven generic product
Since eFreightSuite has been tailored specifically for the freight forwarding industry, it has achieved a level of sophistication and focus that the big IT firms (Oracle, SAP, etc.) have not been able to achieve. As a result, the functionality and usability of this system is something that cannot be matched by a more generic product. Furthermore, because of the constant strive to improve and enhance the software (both from internal initiatives as well as customer recommendations), you will find that it is constantly becoming a more robust tool.
Time typically needed for ERP implementation
The typical implementation takes about 15 days before it can be put into production, but this time frame depends on many factors, such as the scope of the users (number of users, locations, countries) that want to use the product. That being said, our implementation team does its best to make sure that the ERP implementation is completed as efficiently as possible. The implementation process includes training, business analysis and data migration before going live, as well as on-site support by a team member for a period of time after going live, after which the users will be able to talk to the 24/7 customer support centre to address their needs. The team is very skilled and experienced, having logged more than 500,000 man hours at freight forwarders in more than 30 countries.
Overall cost in the customisation for a medium freight forwarder
eFreightSuite is constantly being enhanced to cater to recommendations from users in the many different companies where it is being used. The customisations due to user feedback have become fewer and far-between, solely due to the fact that most of those requests have already been put into production, and the user just needs to be made aware of them. That being said, we want to make the product the best possible one the client can use, and encourage all requests to be sent to us.
Hosted in-house or cloud-based
It is situational. The majority of our customers use cloud-based eFreightSuite because the quality of hosting provided by NewAge is above what they can do locally. Also, the freight forwarders we have dealt with in the past tend to focus on their core business and leave the hosting to NewAge, which provides a single window service. From a cost perspective, most freight forwarding companies find that cloud-based is the most viable solution for them. From our customers, only the large MNCs who already have in-house hosting expertise are hosting eFreightSuite.
Reliability on security and speed of a cloud solution
You can certainly depend on the cloud solution provided by NewAge. Speed and uninterrupted service are a matter of providing sufficient resources to the given number of users, and we strive to ensure that these resource requirements are met. Since eFreightSuite is the lifeline for freight forwarders using it, it has to be dependable in all respects, including speed, redundancy, security and affordability. Many of our customers are competitors in the market, but we make sure that their data is safe and secure with us. NewAge follows stringent policies and world class methodologies to ensure the most secure environment for our customers.
Level of software support that can be realistically expect from a local company
New Age tries to provide users with the best level of support possible. Some areas are defined in the contract, such as the amount of support staff allocated and their technical/domain skill set, but we also have a call centre that is available 24/7. Aside from this, we have a vast amount of training material available online, that will help answer questions. There is also an online chat system for users to communicate with the support team, as well as a ticketing system for submitting and tracking requests or issues. New Age is constantly working on improving the product and the level of support given, with the goal of: (1) reducing the need for support, and (2) speeding up the response times in solving issues. We do this by using the log of support calls for training and also for analysing the cause of the support issues, so as to permanently address those issues, and learn from them so as to avoid similar issues in the future.