The steel group, Ovako, produces special steel for different sectors including the ball bearings industry. Production is mainly in the form of bar steel, and the raw material that is used consists basically of scrap metal from local sources.
Ovako ships around 700,000 tonne of bulky freight each year from its plants in Sweden, Finland and, to a lesser extent, Europe. Shipments are mainly to Scandinavia and Europe, but also to Asia, the USA, South America and the Middle East. With such heavy and large volumes, they have never needed to work with shipping labels. Instead, they have handled all bookings directly with the 20 or so carriers they use, via e-mail or via carriers’ own booking webpages.
Saw the need for structure and follow-up
Ovako recently saw a strategic need to better structure communication with carriers. They saw how development is tending towards different carriers each with their own booking webpage and realised that sitting down to struggle with different portals would not be wise. In order to book transport smoothly, Ovako felt that they needed to appropriate that part of the process and make all their bookings on one and the same booking webpage.
There was also increasing demand for detailed follow-up and to see where shipments were located. With a turnover of MSEK 781 and 2,800 employees, it’s important to be able to better structure information and make it available to everyone in the company who needs it, not only to those who make bookings. Previously, any such information remained restricted to the carrier and the person who had booked transport. Ovako wanted to find a system that was accessible to everyone no matter whether they wanted to track a shipment, see if it had been loaded yet or see what the last booking would cost.
“Our priority has been to get going quickly with the least possible friction to directly achieve the performance we wanted. And that’s what we got.” Ted Lundström, Head of Logistics, Ovako
As Ovako has only recently started to book all its transports with Unifaun, they are currently fine-tuning daily operational use. All bookings are made manually, i.e. without integration with any business system. This was a voluntary choice to do so from the start. Changing the booking process should not be a large and cumbersome IT project, but a simple transition from how they used to make bookings. The next step is to look at the benefits of an integration with the business system.
Personal contact with Unifaun TMS
“Mattias at Unifaun deserves full credit for how well everything has gone.” Ted Lundström
With a TMS account, you are always given a personal contact at Unifaun so that each specific company can maximize its particular use of the system. The setup is always based on a number of standardized basic modules, which are then adapted for specific customer needs.
For Ovako, a private domain name group was set up for example. This means that different offices work on their own accounts. A local office therefore only sees its own bookings, which makes things easier to use and monitor. Some, for e.g. head office, can choose to see everything in order to extract more comprehensive information and statistics.
Another functionality that Ovako much appreciates is “Automatic Price”, which offers estimated prices from all the user’s carriers. The prices are based on Ovako’s agreements with its carriers and it facilitates invoice checking so that Ovako can check if an invoice is in accordance with the agreement. This saves time and increases quality. The use of a Delivery Management system has helped Ovako to discover many other functionalities that are of interest to them. Among others, the analysis tool and an inbound component. But they first want to ensure that the entire organisation can easily use the basic system.