Descartes UK

Descartes – Unlocking efficiencies in turbulent times

Descartes – Unlocking efficiencies in turbulent times

Andrew Tavener – Head of Marketing, Descartes Systems UK Ltd

Logistics businesses have faced much uncertainty and turbulence over the past few years - Brexit deadlines have come and gone and getting to grips with the migration from HMRC’s CHIEF (Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight) to CDS (Customs Declarations Service) has been a difficult process for some. Combined with increased customer demands, rising costs and the need for seamless just-in-time supply chains, it’s no surprise that organisations have been seeking help from global leading logistics solution provider Descartes. 

With over 10,000 customers in 160+ countries worldwide, Descartes has established a global industry-recognised brand in uniting logistics-intensive businesses in commerce. Customers include an estimated 1,600 ground carriers, more than 90 airlines, 30 ocean carriers, 900 freight forwarders and third-party logistics service providers, as well as hundreds of manufacturers, retailers and distributors – many of whom are now fully prepared for both Brexit and crucially the migration to CDS using its software-as-a-service solutions. 

Addressing Brexit and customs complexities

Given the potential complexities of CDS compared to CHIEF, Descartes has been helping many firms with this transition. One of the first organisations to adopt the new system; Meyer Group Ltd, the UK’s largest quality kitchenware supplier, successfully made the migration with the additional support and expert training from Descartes, which was crucial to ensuring the cultural change that was required to make this an effective process. 

“As a long-standing user of the Descartes e-Customs platform, we were pleased to be able to migrate from CHIEF to CDS with the unbridled support from Descartes,” comments Sean Priest, Operations Director, Meyer Group Ltd. “CDS is more complex than CHIEF and requires a lot more information in the background. This is where Descartes has been instrumental in ensuring a smooth transition. From helping to set up our templates to managing the liaison with HMRC, they were able to seamlessly iron out any teething problems that originated from the new system and with no adverse impact on our business continuity. We’ve also been able to request changes and adaptations to CDS through our collaborative partnership with Descartes, which has been a great benefit.”

Descartes will be exhibiting at Multimodal 2020 in June where one of the priority discussion points will be customs declarations. No matter what form Brexit takes, along with the ongoing migration to CDS, many businesses will be completing customs declarations for the first time which can be a daunting experience for those not familiar with HMRC requirements. Descartes’ software-as-a-service offerings provide a simplified approach whilst ensuring compliance, to support businesses in managing the potential disruption that Brexit may present. 

Descartes has already been working with many organisations regarding Brexit and deploying its e-customs solution, one of which is Customs Consultancy firm Clear Light whom Descartes has been helping to become Brexit ready. Director, Rob Pryce, comments: “Finding a software solution to manage the inevitable implications on customs procedures in the wake of Brexit is key to ensuring both our business and our clients’ businesses continue to run efficiently. Not only do we recommend Descartes solutions to our customers, we have also implemented the e-customs software ourselves to help us further support our clients.”

Integrated approach

Looking forward, Descartes will be showcasing many highlights at the Commercial Vehicle Show in April. SmartCompliance will be high on the agenda as Descartes continues to update and refresh its solutions to offer an unrivalled compliance management service for fleets of all sizes. Traditionally, routing and telematics have been siloed operations, but Descartes offers an integrated digital approach to improve both efficiency and safety. With a new user interface for SmartCompliance, Descartes is making compliance management easier and more intuitive for transport managers with the inclusion of its new driver CPC management module, its new improved driver briefing module, reporting and SmartAlerts to ensure transport managers know when to take action. The integration of this new module with licence checking, vehicle checking and tachograph analysis, provides one platform with simple and easy to read reports, meaning that organisations are able to react in real-time, schedule efficiently and ensure the right plan is being followed – transforming the way data can be used for both compliance and operational processes. 

Importantly, Descartes’ Telematics Hub enables tachograph data to be sent from the leading telematics devices straight to SmartAnalysis whilst the vehicle is in operation thereby saving operators around 20-30 minutes per vehicle per week in downloading tachograph data. The drivers’ hours data, in collaboration with telematics data, and the routing and scheduling software, can be used to identify and select the best available person or vehicle for the job. The integrated model not only allows you to route drivers but also ensures that drivers maintain compliance with drivers’ hours regulations. 

With a number of companies providing compliance management solutions in the UK, it is the combination of the single, integrated SmartCompliance solution combined with ISO27001 accreditation, DVSA validation as an IT supplier for Earned Recognition KPIs and the fleet management solutions such as route optimisation, ePoD and telematics that Descartes provides that sets it apart. 

Recent research highlighted the fact that only 22% of the road transport operators surveyed were not at all concerned about tachograph data security. With GDPR, this is an issue of paramount importance to businesses in the digital age and Descartes provides trust and reassurance to its customers with its accreditation to the international standard for information security management (ISO27001). 

Preparing for change

Whilst there remains a high level of uncertainty in terms of the political and economic climate, it’s never been more important for businesses to unlock crucial efficiencies and put the right technology and processes in place to be able to react rapidly to any market changes. The complexities surrounding the potential fallout from Brexit may be daunting, so businesses should seek expert advice and proven solutions that can streamline as much of their operations as possible. Smart solutions that help fleet operators manage their compliance and driver safety requirements, combined with vehicle tracking and route optimisation software, can transform driver behaviour, productivity and how performance is understood in real time. Coupled with software that can ensure a smooth transition from CHIEF to CDS and handle the customs and security filing requirements for Brexit, businesses will be fully prepared for any market hurdles that come their way. 

With nearly 20% of its total revenue dedicated to research and development spending, Descartes has an ongoing focus on innovation to ensure that it continues to lead the way in global logistics solutions.