This is our story of co-creating and deploying intelligent automation solutions to drive cost efficiencies, and improve speed and accuracy for a leading shipping company.

As we know ...

The shipping industry is a heavily regulated sector that demands extensive documentation — and more so for cross-border transportation. From bookings, export and import documentation to scheduling, container movements, regulatory compliance and other financial processes, there are myriad complex operations that should be completed on time for smooth sailing. The right interventions leveraging Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and intelligent automation reduce costs, and improve speed, accuracy and productivity, while being a lever for digital transformation.

A leading shipping company was looking to...

Reduce costs significantly across its operations in three countries, supported by ~4,000 resources and multiple vendors. The company knew that to surge ahead in an industry that is cyclical and has experienced multiple consolidations in recent times, it would need:

  • Smart standardization of operations and reduction in Turnaround Time (TAT)

  • Increased speed, quality, accuracy and productivity, and overall efficiency of its front and back-office operations

The company partnered with WNS on a transformation journey. WNS, with its domain expertise in the shipping and logistics industry, strategized and executed on the ‘right’ interventions through RPA and intelligent automation.

Here’s what we co-created as a solution…

The WNS team collaborated closely with the shipping company to understand its vision and deploy automation with minimal disruptions.

Developing & Deploying BOTs

We identified a booking process in a single country to develop and deploy BOTs in less than 10 weeks, as a starting point. The shipping company saw significant benefits in terms of productivity and TAT. The process was error-free and without delays. More importantly, the BOTs did not intrude into the company’s core applications. This set the stage for designing an RPA Center of Excellence (CoE).

Setting Up an RPA CoE

We chose a third-party RPA platform that was compatible with the shipping company’s core applications, e-mail systems and other frequently used applications. An RPA CoE and operating model were set up keeping in mind the shipping company’s holistic digital transformation journey.

Enterprise-wide assessments across multiple countries and vendors helped in identifying automation opportunities and creating an automation roadmap. The RPA infrastructure for scale was designed and provisioned in the cloud. A support team was set up to monitor and maintain the BOTs in production. The CoE model helped identify areas where intelligent automation could be deployed to unlock maximum benefits. RPA interventions in repetitive tasks enabled resources to improve productivity and focus on strategic work.

The outcomes from the process of co-creation are…

~USD 3 Million annual savings realized through the initial implementation of intelligent automation. Other outcomes include:

  • ~35 percent productivity benefits and higher accuracy of documentation in the areas of export documentation and booking

  • ~75 percent automation of the bill of lading release process through BOTs without human intervention

  • ~50 percent improvement in quality of customer data — through process re-engineering and automation in the setting up of new customer profiles. A combination of BOTs and humans validate requests, reject incomplete and duplicate requests, ensure country-specific requirements are in place, and verify the accuracy of data

  • Improvements in service-level agreement as a result of deploying automation in the vessel actualization process

WNS Malkom — a proprietary solution driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence leads the way ahead in terms of further intelligent automation across the bill of lading process.

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