Feb 13, 2020
Over five million sailing schedule changes daily: How can anyone keep track of them and find the best shipping routes and port-to-port transit times? Our Container Sailing Schedules (CSS) tool does just that – through a combination of smart algorithms and human expertise. So who are the people behind CSS, a product that provides full market transparency and enables smart operational and strategic supply chain management decisions?
Five data specialists in Rostock, Germany, and another 14 in Vadodara in the Indian state of Gujarat face numerous challenges in processing data from diverse sources. One of the main challenges is to consolidate the highly fragmented data that come in a variety of formats (e.g. Excel or API) from 54 shipping lines with over 10,000 services.
Carriers have many different ways of providing data. We map this data and adapt it to fit the architecture built by our colleagues in Rostock.Sripriya, Operations Manager
During the data consolidation phase the Indian team plays a key role in data collection, validation and verification. As data consistency is essential for CSS, the next step involves numerous technical, speed and reality checks on the data in addition to data mapping. These checks are either automated functions or carried out manually, and once again, the Indian team is key to achieving data consistency.
Before Germany starts working, we’ve solved the problem here in India.Sripriya
As Sripriya, the Operations Manager in Vadodara, explains, “Carriers have many different ways of providing data. We map this data and adapt it to fit the architecture built by our colleagues in Rostock. We not only have to check the validity of data and sometimes do corrections; we also have to fill the gaps if carriers don’t provide the data we need.”
The work is a mixture of research, proactive manual and automated checks, but as Sripriya emphasizes, their overriding aim is to try and automate as much as possible. “Our human efforts are focused on locating data errors, which requires commonsense to solve and hence cannot be automated. By having focused groups based on the type of errors, we are able to analyze and standardize data presentation to provide a multidimensional view, which enables the customer to compare and comprehend.” explains Sripriya
If there are any discrepancies, my Indian colleagues will sort them out.Malin, Product Owner
If a problem crops up, the time difference of 3½ hours between Vadodara and Rostock is a great help: “Before Germany starts working, we’ve solved the problem here in India,” Sripriya says with a smile. And she is proud of the fact that half her CSS team are women. “We’ve got a great team spirit and we’re all highly motivated to continuously improve our CSS tool so customers can always rely on our data for better-informed decisions.”
Malin, Product Owner at Ocean Insights, is convinced CSS offers a unique benefit other competitors do not: “We cultivate our database by manually checking liner service descriptions, carriers’ service networks, their marketing details, and even carriers’ newsletters. This reliability check enables us to compare the supposed and actual status of carrier facts and figures. If there are any discrepancies, my Indian colleagues will sort them out.”
Some 20 data specialists over 6,000 km apart: the human factor behind the millions of CSS port-to-port schedule results turns highly fragmented data into a sound basis for Ocean Insights customers to take smart decisions. The benefits they enjoy include greater supply chain visibility and transparency in container logistics.
If you wish to equip yourself with greater visibility in your supply chain, get in touch with us – now.