Integrated Portal for One-Stop-Shopping and Cross-Selling
HST Groep is a Dutch service provider in transport and logistics. Since its foundation in 1978, HST Groep has grown into an international, multidisciplinary and multimodal freight forwarder. HST Groep consists of various business units that offer a wide range of transport (by sea, air and road) and storage services. As part of a strategic change, HST Groep wants to offer their customers a one-stop-shop for various logistics and transport services. CAPE Groep has helped with the further development of HST Online, with which HST Groep can connect its own logistics operations to those of customers.
As part of a strategic move, HST Groep wants to offer customers a one-stop-shop for its full scope of transport and logistics services. In addition, they want to benefit internally from cross-selling these services across all of its business units. This strategic choice requires support from ICT. The HST Online application was an obvious candidate to support HST's new strategy. However, HST Online is not web-based and does not use standard browser software. “Although HST Online serves us well, it has the disadvantage that the application software has to be installed and maintained manually on all 150 computers of our customers.” There were other reasons why HST needed a brand-new application. HST was looking for an application that all business units could use. This requires an application with more functionalities than HST Online, which also meets the requirements of the other business units and disciplines of HST. The application has to support and facilitate the sales of HST's two vendors to 500 to 600 customers across all business units and involve different business requirements. Finally, the application must be web-based, given today's overall access to the internet.
A unified CAPE-HST design and development team, primarily business consultants, has risen to the challenge. The project's first phase was the storage module, followed by the international and national road transport module. Eventually, it will replace HST Online. The sea and air freight modules were also developed.
With the new application customers can check stock levels, make adjustments and track their goods in real-time as they move through the different storage phases and processes,” said Pieffers (Manager Operations at HST transmission). An important part of the portal is its business rules function. “This software processes orders according to a set of predefined business rules to handle, for example, price (based on pre-agreed margins), preferred carrier and route,” Pieffers explains. “The application also selects the applicable HST transport management system (each business unit has its back-office system) to handle a particular order. All this makes it possible to automate the process.” Another worth mentioning is the 'intelligent' transport-order function. “Based on vehicle and route, this function can calculate the amount of CO² that a particular order will produce,” Pieffers explains. “Based on past customer orders and delivery patterns, this feature will recommend revised, more efficient, eco-friendly delivery options when needed. In addition to being good for the environment, it will also provide good business and financial value for all parties involved.
Such a self-service Portal is a win-win situation. It benefits both HST and its customers: “If the portal is fully implemented and running according to our expectations and is connected to most customers, I believe that our operational quality and cost savings will improve significantly, and so will our customers,” says Pieffers. “I also believe that HST can double its turnover – by making cross-selling more efficient and effective, for example – but without increasing indirect man-hours. We expect that using the self-service portal a significant improvement in sales support can double sales, improve efficiency, reduce operating, customer support, and customers' operation costs. The use of the Mendix App Platform can reduce design and development efforts, and will reduce maintenance costs due to the design uniformity of the portal and the web-based platform.