Having looked at the optimisation of workflows generally (Workflows Part 1) – the elimination of wasted time and resources, reducing costs and increasing productivity – we now take a closer look at SnP management and processes.
Software that has been created to improve productivity, alongside its messaging and chartering modules, CompassAir SnP is the first choice for SnP brokers around the world. It’s designed around ships: messages, purchase enquiries, advices, documents, inspectable positions and ship data, as well as making best use of artificial intelligence. Recently we launched the web version of this software and, when used alongside our mobile app, workflows that realistically could at one time only have taken place in the office are now possible wherever you happen to be.
Over the coming articles we will take a close look at the various parts of the SnP process. In this article we focus on the processing of Purchase Enquiries, and see how CompassAir and CompassPulse contribute to ensure their handling can be carried out much more efficiently. For more detailed information on how this is achieved, please contact us for a short, no-obligation demonstration.
Simplifying workflows is an overriding principle built into the development process of our software – we seek to make it easier for whoever is using any aspect of CompassAir to achieve their objective in the quickest, most direct way.
Take for example an incoming Commercial Advice. If Advice Recorder is activated (in other words, if a broker prefers not to record Advices manually) then the advice is automatically read, recorded and brought to the attention of brokers. Full information on the ship in question is just one click away from either the incoming email or the CompassPulse notification. On the incoming email will have automatically been added the ship’s name in the form of a hyperlink. Clicking on it will instantly reveal all that is known about the ship, including the technical data held in the vessel database, all associated emails, files, contacts etc., market information for similar ships, as well as matching purchase enquiries.
The various stages of Purchase Enquiry (P/E) processing
When processing P/Es, the goal is to respond to them with suitable ships before one’s competitors. Suitable in this case means to be of sufficient interest to a prospective buyer to make them want to take the transaction to the next level of negotiations. To achieve this goal requires a workflow that handles such enquiries in the most efficient way possible.
As can be seen above, many of the currently manual tasks can be automated using CompassAir and CompassPulse. This not only allows resources to be used for more value added activities, but also it speeds up processes, delivering a valuable competitive edge. We will explore this in more detail below.
1 Recording P/Es
The first stage, the “trigger” in workflow terminology, is a P/E being received for example in the form of an email. Ordinarily, it would need to be recorded manually (one click away when using CompassAir, especially useful for direct P/Es given over the telephone). However, if Purchase Enquiry Recorder is being used, part of our CompassPulse suite of products, then recording is automatic and immediate, with the broker being informed of the arrival of this new P/E at the same time.
2 Matching Ships
The next stage, assuming the P/E is of interest, is to identify ships that are for sale that match, or at least provide a reasonable match, against the requirements of the enquiry.
CompassAir does this matching automatically and, depending on a broker’s pre-determined preferences, parameters can be flexed, say for example DWT plus or minus 10%. If CompassPulse is also being used, the broker is instantly sent a list of matching direct ships, in other words there is minimal delay, this happening straight after the P/E arrives in the inbox.
3 Action – propose, delay or reject
Having considered the matching ships, a broker then has to decide whether or not to propose one or more in response to the P/E or possibly add them to a shortlist for consideration later. When using CompassAir, any email in response to a P/E, even if not a proposal, is automatically populated with information for one or more matching ships, the level of detail being chosen by the broker, and is associated with both the ship and the P/E, being viewable on the “Messages” tab for each.
Different Scenarios when dealing with P/Es
We now look at a number of different ways CompassAir can be used, each depending on what the broker is trying to achieve, comparing this necessarily short selection of workflow examples with and without CompassAir.
A. Responding to a P/E by proposing one or more ships
As mentioned above, P/E Recorder from the CompassPulse range will immediately recognise an incoming P/E in the form of an email, recording it as such. Without this product activated, the P/E will need to be recorded manually with a single click, which although it can be done easily, it clearly will not be as quick. This ease of manually recording P/Es is necessary especially when a P/E is direct and given over the telephone.
Without CompassAir, having identified, recorded and then understood the requirements of the P/E, a broker will then need to search his or her records to find suitable ships. Having produced a shortlist of matching ships, these then need to be ranked, and a decision made as to which ones are suitable for proposal. Information about each ship will then need to be copied (either in the form of a summary list or in greater detail) and inserted into the body of an email which is then sent to the potential buyer. Needless to say, all this takes a considerable amount of time and effort.
With CompassAir and CompassPulse, the broker receives a notification almost immediately a P/E arrives in the Inbox. By clicking on this, a list of ships that both match the P/E and are currently for sale will be revealed, already ranked already according how close a match is each one. Then all a broker need do is review each ship (technical specifications, all associated emails, files, contacts etc. are just one click away) and decide which to propose. Again, with one click all the relevant details (whether in the form of a list, abbreviated or more detailed information) are inserted into an email ready to be sent to the prospective buyer.
As can be seen, automation speeds up the whole process and allows focus to shift to those activities that add more value. Another example of this is when a broker sends ship details to an email address from which an active P/E has been received. CompassAir will recognise this to be a response to that P/E and mark the ship as proposed both on the “Ships” tab in the P/E as well as in the vessel database (shown on the P/E tab for the ship).
B. Responding to a P/E with a list of ships
Rather than propose one or more ships in response to a P/E immediately, it may be that more time is needed to investigate in more detail the suitability of particular ships.
To do this without CompassAir once again consumes a significant amount of time. Having selected ships of interest a list then needs to be created and stored. Details for each ship then need to be found and copied into an email.