Workflows Part 4 – processing SnP Commercial Advices


Having looked at the optimisation of workflows generally (Workflows Part 1), we started to then take a further look at SnP management and processes, in particular the processing of Purchase Enquiries (see Workflows Part 3). We continue now by considering the processing of Commercial Advices (Advices), and see how CompassAir and CompassPulse both 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.

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 what we describe as “ship-centric”, in other words, it is designed around ship data. Messages, purchase enquiries, advices, documents, inspectable positions and so forth are related to relevant ships wherever applicable, with information being recorded in the vessel database. For example, all messages relating to a particular ship are accessible (via a hyperlink) from a dedicated tab in the vessel database. The software also makes best use of artificial intelligence. Recently we launched the web version of this software and, when used alongside our mobile app, access to everything you need is now available wherever you happen to be.


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.

To illustrate this with Advices, if Advice Recorder is activated (in other words, if a broker prefers not to record Advices manually, e.g. without needing to customise them as soon as they are received) then the advice is automatically read from incoming and sent emails, recorded and brought to the attention of brokers. Full information on the ship in question is just one click away. On the email there 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 Commercial Advice processing

When processing Advices, the goal is to accurately match them to P/Es and respond before competitors, creating sufficient interest to a prospective buyer or seller as to make them want to take the transaction to the next level of negotiations. To achieve this goal requires a workflow that handles Advices and P/Es in the most efficient way possible.


As can be seen above, many of the currently manual tasks can be automated by using CompassAir and CompassPulse. This not only releases 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 Advices

The first stage, the “trigger” in workflow terminology, is an Advice being received for example in the form of an email. Ordinarily, it would need to be recorded manually (fast and easy when using CompassAir), which remains the preference for many brokers. However, if Advice Recorder is being used, part of our CompassPulse suite of AI products, then recording is automatic and immediate, with the broker being informed of the arrival of this new Advice at the same time.

2 Matching Purchase Enquiries

The next stage, assuming the Advice is of interest, is to identify P/Es that match, or provide a reasonable match to the requirements of the Advice.

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%. When CompassPulse is being used, the broker is instantly sent a list of matching P/Es (to avoid showing too many P/Es, only direct P/Es can be included in this notification). In other words there is minimal delay, this happening straight after the Advice arrives in the inbox.

3 Action – propose, delay or reject

Having considered the matching P/Es, a broker then has to decide whether or not to propose the ship referred to in the Advice in response to the P/E, or alternatively add one or more matching P/Es to a shortlist for consideration later. When using CompassAir, any email in response to a P/E, even if not in the form of a proposal, can automatically include the description of the matching ship, the level of detail being determined by the preferences of the broker, and the email is then associated with both the ship and the P/E, being viewable on the “Messages” tab for each.


Different Scenarios when dealing with P/Es and Advices

We now look at a number of different ways CompassAir can be used, each depending on what a broker is trying to achieve, comparing this necessarily short selection of workflow examples with and without CompassAir.

A. Responding to a direct P/E immediately after a matching Advice is received

To demonstrate first how CompassAir works in the background, performing time saving functions, we will first look at this common scenario. Brokers will be familiar with the requirements of all current direct P/Es, i.e. those enquiries from their own clients, which will be considered in preference to market P/Es.

Responding is quick and easy: a new message is composed and the ship’s details can be added by first pressing “F4”, adding the name of the ship for sale to the search box and then pressing enter. Additional narrative can then be added to the message as appropriate.

Automatically the following occurs:

1. the ship name and the matching P/E reference are added to the outgoing email both in the form of a hyperlink (for easy access to the ship in the vessel database as well as to the P/E)
2. the email is added to the “Messages” tab of the ship in the vessel database
3. the email is added to the P/E’s “Messages” tab
4. the ship is added to the “Ships” tab of the P/E to show that the ship in question has been proposed

B. Responding to matching P/Es by proposing the ship referred to in the Advice

As mentioned previously, Advice Recorder from the CompassPulse range if activated can immediately recognise an incoming email Advice, recording it as such, and at the same time notify the broker that it has been received. Without this product activated, the Advice will need to be recorded manually (something we have also made very quick and easy to do where manual entry of Advices is preferred).

Without CompassAir, having received and read the Advice, a broker will then need to search his or her records to find suitable P/Es. Having produced a shortlist of matching P/Es, these then need to be ranked, and a decision made as to which ones are suitable for proposal. Information about the ship for sale will then need to be copied 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.


When using CompassAir with Advice Recorder activated, the broker receives a notification almost immediately the Advice arrives in the Inbox. By clicking on this, a list of P/Es that match the Advice will be revealed, already ranked according how close a match is each one. Then all a broker needs to do is review each P/E (technical specifications of the ship for sale, all associated emails, files, contacts etc. for both the ship and each P/E are just one click away) and decide to which P/E(s) to propose the ship for sale. Again, with one click all the ship details are inserted into an email ready to be sent to the prospective buyer. Proposing a ship in response to a P/E could not be more straightforward.

If a broker chooses not to activate Advice Recorder, Advices can still very easily be recorded from the Messages screen and will be associated with the relevant ship (and hence visible via the Ships screen) – for example a direct Advice may come from a telephone call.


As can be seen, automation speeds up the whole process and allows resources to be focussed on those activities that add more value. Another example of this is where a broker forwards an advice to a client that has an active P/E that matches the ship. CompassAir will recognise the matching and record the ship as proposed both for the P/E and for the ship in the vessel database.

C. Investigating matching P/Es before responding

With CompassAir, reviewing matching P/Es could not be simpler, as the software immediately matches (and ranks) the P/Es to the ship mentioned in the Advice (which will have been recorded automatically if Advice Recorder was activated). P/Es are accessible with one click either from the vessel database (from the ship that is for sale) or the Purchase Enquiries screen. Full information about the P/E is visible on multiple tabs, including all associated messages, files and market information. Also displayed will be a list of all the ships that have already been matched to the P/E (see the screenshot below), separating these between shortlisted, proposed and those still to be actioned.


D. Searching for matching P/Es from the Purchase Enquiries screen

As mentioned above, CompassAir automatically matches P/Es to the ships mentioned in the Advice. With a single click, the matching P/Es can then be opened individually or in (short) list form.

On opening the P/E, CompassAir will have already matched the ship to the P/E and listed it under the “Matching Ships” tab, ranking P/Es according to how closely they match the specifications of the ship mentioned in the advice. The ship can then be proposed or shortlisted for consideration at a later stage.

If for some reason a broker wants to search manually for P/Es that match the ship referred to in the incoming Advice, this is easily achieved within CompassAir. Using search in the Purchase Enquiry screen, there is a comprehensive list of fields into which the parameters for the ship can be inserted. A list of P/Es will then be returned, the detail of each being a click away. Without CompassAir, this would involve searching whatever is being used to record P/Es and if only Outlook (or any other standalone mail software) is being used, for example, this would mean first searching all emails and then making sense of the results. With CompassAir, everything is at your fingertips, all data being stored within the same program, ready for action to be taken.

E. Finding Advices received during a given time period

It is often useful to review Advices for a given time period, for example to see all Advices received in the last two days. From the Ships screen a full list of vessels being offered in this timeframe will result from a single click, and from there, matching P/Es will have already been ranked, ready for review as discussed above. Without CompassAir, this would undoubtedly require the time consuming task of trawling through incoming emails, or whatever other means by which Advices are recorded.


The above gives a necessarily brief insight into one aspect, namely the processing of Commercial Advices, of how both CompassAir and CompassPulse, and in particular Advice Recorder (should a broker wish to dispense with recording Advices manually), can save valuable time for a broker, automating repetitive tasks and delivering information ready for decisions to be made

When developing software, our goal is to ensure that, in addition to information being easily and readily to hand, skilled professionals waste no time on those repetitive tasks that can instead be handled by a machine, in a consistently fast and accurate manner.

When automation is introduced actions take place instantaneously, meaning a broker will be given the ability to respond to opportunities without delay. For a more detailed insight into our products for SnP brokers, please contact us for a no obligation online demonstration.

CompassPulse has been developed in conjunction with some of the world’s leading Sale and Purchase brokers, and takes advantage of the extraordinary value Artificial Intelligence (AI) can create for an organisation. For an introduction to what this innovative range of products can do please visit our CompassPulse product page. After that do not hesitate to contact us for a short demonstration.


A few words about CompassAir

Creating solutions for the global maritime sector, CompassAir develops state of the art messaging and business application software designed to maximise ROI. Our software is used across the sector, including by Sale and Purchase brokers (S&P/SnP), Chartering brokers, Owners, Managers and Operators.


Through its shipping and shipbroking clients, ranging from recognised World leaders through to the smallest, most dynamic independent companies, CompassAir has a significant presence in the major maritime centres throughout Europe, the US and Asia.


Our flagship solution is designed to simplify collaboration for teams within and across continents, allowing access to group mailboxes at astounding speed using tools that remove the stress from handling thousands of emails a day. It can be cloud based or on premise. To find out more contact If you are new to shipping, or just want to find out more about this exciting and challenging sector, the CompassAir Shipping Guide might prove to be an interesting read.


Contact us for more information or a short demonstration on how CompassAir can benefit your business, and find out how we can help your teams improve collaboration and increase productivity.