Integrated Portal supports HST’s strategic plans for One-Stop-Shopping and Cross-Selling
HST Groep is a Dutch service provider in transport and logistics. Since its foundation in 1978, HST Group has grown into an international, multi-discipline and multi-modal freight operator. HST Groep consists of various business units which offer a wide range of transport (via sea, air and road) and storage services. As part of strategic change, HST Group wanted to offer its customers a one-stop-shop for various logistics and transport services. CAPE Groep has helped with the development of HST Online, where HST Group can connect its own logistics operations with those of customers.
What did the organization want to achieve?
As part of a strategic move, HST Group wanted to offer customers a one-stop-shop for its entire scope of transport and logistics services, whilst benefiting internally from cross-selling these services through all its business units. A move like this needs support from ICT. The HST Online application was an obvious candidate to support the new strategy of HST. However, HST Online is not web-based and does not use standard browser software. “Although HST Online serves us well, the disadvantage is that the application software has to be installed and maintained manually on all 150 computers of our customers”. There were also other reasons why HST needed a brand new application. HST was looking for an application that could be used by all business units. This requires an application with more functionalities than HST Online and one that also meets the requirements of the other business units and disciplines of HST. It is crucial that this application can support the two vendors of HST and facilitate sales to 500 - 600 customers, involving all business units and different business requirements. Finally, the application needed to be web-based, given the common access to the internet nowadays.
“Collaboration in a CAPE-HST design and development team”
How did we tackle this?
A united CAPE-HST design and development team, largely consisting of business consultants, took up the challenge. The first phase of the project was the storage module, followed by the international and national road transport module. The last phase was to replace HST Online. The sea and air freight modules were also developed.
What have we delivered?
“With the new application, customers can check inventory levels, make adjustments and trace real-time goods which move through the different storage phases and processes, in addition to placing storage orders in the storage areas”, explains Pieffers - Manager Operations at HST Transmission. An important part of the Portal is its business rules function. Pieffers further reveals, "This software processes orders according to a series of predefined business rules. For example, to calculate the price (based on pre-agreed margins) and the desired carrier and route. The application also selects the right HST transport management system (each business unit has its own back-office system) to handle a particular order. All this makes it possible to automate the process”. Another aspect worthy of mention is the 'intelligent' transport-order function. Pieffers points out, "Based on vehicle and route, this function can calculate the amount of CO² a particular order will produce. And based on previous customer orders and delivery patterns, this feature will also recommend revised, more efficient and eco-friendly delivery options when required. Besides the environmental benefits, this also provides good business and financial value for all parties involved”.
“Improved efficiency reduces HST’s operational costs”
Significant improvement in sales support can double HST’s turnover
What does the future hold?
A service Portal like this creates a win-win situation; it benefits both HST and its customers: "Once the Portal is fully implemented and running to our expectations, and once it is connected to most customers, I believe that the operational quality and cost savings will improve significantly for ourselves and our customers”, says Pieffers. “I also believe that HST can double its turnover – for example by using cross-selling more efficiently and more effectively, but without increasing indirect man-hours”. The expectation is that a significant improvement in sales support can double sales, that improved efficiency will reduce operating costs and that customer support costs and their operational costs will be reduced by using the self-service Portal. On top of that, design and development efforts and costs will be reduced because of the Mendix App Platform and the maintenance costs will decrease due to the design uniformity of the Portal and the web-based platform.