Simplifying all the moving parts and challenges of the supply chain, be it local, national or international, while also developing its own new technology, has paid off for ScotlandIS member CCL Logistics & Technology.
Shipping or flying goods around the world is inherently complicated. Add in the fact that today’s customers want to know the carbon emissions from their orders or deliveries and the complexity climbs still higher.
Callum Bastock, the CEO of CCL Logistics & Technology points out that on top of all the moving parts in a logistics supply chain, we are now in a new reality as far as customer expectations are concerned.
“Amazon has changed everyone’s sense of things. Businesses, as well as consumers, expect to be able to track their orders in real-time. They want to know exactly where their goods are and when they can expect delivery.
“We’ve invested in developing our own technology over more than two decades to provide the kind of real-time visibility that can make all the difference to businesses,” he comments.
CCL began as a one-stop logistics company in Troon back in 1999. The company now has five branches throughout the UK. Bastock explains that from the outset, the company made the decision that it would outsource the actual movement of goods to whichever logistics supplier or group of suppliers best met a particular customer’s requirements. CCL would focus on adding value for the customer by taking responsibility for our customers’ logistics.
“There is a tremendous value for the customer in not having to put together and then deal individually with all the elements in a complex logistics supply chain network,” he explains. “When we started, our aim was to simplify matters for all our customers, whether they were simply shipping a parcel to the next town or importing goods from around the world.
“The idea, then as now, was to provide customers with a single point of contact and a single invoice no matter how deep the underlying complexity might be,” he says.
Today, Bastock explains that the business deals with over 500 different logistics providers. Its customer service team puts together the best logistics solution for each customer, based on the customer’s unique requirements and preferences.
“If the customer has a preferred supplier for some aspects of their logistics, we will work with that supplier and craft a complete solution drawing from our full range of logistics providers,” he notes.
Bastock says that the company has four pillars that support its added value services to customers. The first two are its supply chain & logistics services and technology solutions with the crown jewel being its Transport Management system – myCCL.
“In the early days of the company, we realised that we would need a powerful technological solution to oversee and handle all the complexities involved in logistics. There was nothing on the market that could cope with the range of services we were providing so we built our own desktop solution,” Bastock says.
Over time this service became fully web-based and developed into a complete, cloud-based logistics platform. “Our technology enables us to provide a comprehensive view to each customer as to what is happening to their inbound and outbound orders. They can track every package or order in real-time and see exactly when it will arrive at their customer’s site.
“In the case of goods and raw materials coming into their factory from anywhere in the world, they can see exactly when the goods will be delivered to their factory,” he notes.
He points out that CCL’s Transport Management System, myCCL, provides end-to-end supply chain visibility.
“You can track your shipping container exactly as you would an Amazon parcel. Clients find that the ability to harmonise their logistics data on a single platform is absolutely critical for them,” he says.
“We have a great team of customer specialists. With our deep experience of logistics and what is involved in shipping goods and materials all around the world, our customer service team is perfectly placed to advise clients on the most effective solution to any logistics requirement,” he comments.
Bastock points out the considerations that determine logistics solutions tend to come down to a choice between the fastest, the cheapest or the most sustainable solution to any problem. These are not questions that many companies are in a position to answer for themselves with any certainty, given the sheer number of logistics providers around the world.
Then, of course, there is the fact that the world of logistics is far from a perfect system. Shipping delays, strikes, natural disasters and wars all impact the flow of goods around the world. Clients need to have recourse to a dedicated team of specialists who can manage and solve any difficulties or delays that may occur. “A lot of what we do is exception management for our clients,” Bastock points out.
“This ability to take the complexity out of logistics, along with having the cloud-based IT infrastructure to provide the client with complete visibility as to what is happening, constitute the first two pillars of our service.
“The third and fourth pillars are about harmonising all your logistics data and movements onto a single platform, and helping you to get complete visibility on the Scope 3 emissions consequences for your supply chain,” he explains.
Harmonising data on a single platform means that CCL and the customer are well-placed to make better decisions about cost, service and sustainability. “The customer is getting data insights that can be incredibly valuable to their organisation,” Bastock says.
“When a company has a coherent view of all its data points, it is in a great position to see where it can make efficiency gains and cost savings.”
Today, more and more companies are committing to get to net zero. It is not enough for an organisation to know what its direct emissions are. The pressure is on to measure Scope 3 data which means knowing what emissions are being incurred by your supply chain.
Every order made or delivery sent out has a carbon footprint associated with it. Knowing what level of emissions are being incurred can be next to impossible unless you have tremendous visibility of the data involved. This level of visibility of an organisation’s entire logistics chain is exactly what CCL provides.
CCL’s CEO Callum Bastock points out that this can be absolutely crucial in enabling clients to make truly informed decisions. “Say a customer wants to look at moving from sea freighting goods from China, to using a Polish supplier who will road freight the goods. What will the impact be on the organisation’s CO2 emissions total? We can answer that kind of question with a high degree of accuracy because we have all the data in our system,” he notes.
As part of its Transport Management System, CCL has launched Greener Routes which helps to measure, manage and minimise upstream and downstream emissions.
It does this by showing users the CO2e for all their shipments by carrier, country, customer or mode of transport. CCL has been ISO 14001 certified for years. ISO 14000 is a family of standards related to environmental management.
The point is to help organizations minimise how their operations negatively affect the environment. Compliance also ensures that you are meeting all the applicable laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements.
Having control of the data helps with all kinds of issues in addition to those relating to sustainability. Bastock points out that CCL can answer a customer query such as: ‘what costs have I incurred delivering to my top ten customers over the last six months?’
‘What has the delivery performance been of my top ten carriers, and what have the CO2 emissions been?’
“When an organisation has access to this kind of information it is in a position to have an educated conversation with its business customers and its suppliers. This might lead, for example, to decisions such as changing the frequency of particular orders or altering the method of transport,” he comments.
So where is logistics going? Bastock sees the movement towards greener transport modes as inevitable. “With logistics, outwith the final mile, I think the switch away from diesel will probably be towards hydrogen rather than electric.
“I can’t see that digging up the planet to mine more and more lithium to drive electric batteries will be a long term solution. Plus the cost of changing an entire delivery fleet over to electric is very high. Modifying to run on green hydrogen looks like a more cost efficient solution, but we shall see.”
He argues that it is now obvious that the pandemic has accelerated the move to online ordering, to the detriment of High Street retail. “Home delivery is here to stay and volumes can only grow from here. We have to acknowledge that B2B logistics are going to continue to be complex, which is why you need the value added logistics that a firm like ours provides,” he says.
Traditionally when retail and B2B companies invest in their operations, they focus on improving the efficiencies of their order management and manufacturing systems. They invest in customer relationship management tools and their websites. What tends not to get so much attention is the back end, the warehousing and dispatch side.
This is where the cloud-based technology suite that CCL provides can really help organisations to find value and efficiencies in the logistics side of the business.
“The likes of Amazon and those online retailers who have followed Amazon’s example, have conditioned us to think differently about how we receive goods.
“There is a battleground out there to become more efficient in managing goods inward and goods outward, and the pressure is just going to become more intense in this area,” he comments.
During the bottlenecks in global supply chains caused by the pandemic, the cost of shipping a container from China rose from its usual price of around US$2000 to US$20,000.
That huge spike upwards has now largely settled down, but Bastock points out UK and European road freight costs have remained high and are likely to go higher if the Ukraine-Russia conflict keeps driving fuel prices upwards.
“There are always opportunities and challenges in logistics. We create optimum solutions every day for our customers across the entire logistics chain,” he concludes.
Source: The Herald