Iqubal Pannu, Senior Solutions Consultant at AEB (International) Ltd, explains how the company helped a German connector manufacturer transport its goods.
Working quietly behind the scenes, connectors play an important role in our lives. They are vital for the power transmission of electric and hybrid vehicles; they transmit signals through cellular base stations and satellite receivers, and enable our cars to have on-board GPS and navigation systems.
The global company Rosenberger Hochfrequenztechnik GmbH & Co. KG manufactures over 6,000 different types of connectors. Customers include network operators and telecommunications suppliers such as Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, large automotive companies and automotive suppliers, such as Bosch, Blaupunkt, Panasonic or Siemens.
Rosenberger has 19 manufacturing and assembly plants worldwide, but 90% of its European production is manufactured at its Fridolfing headquarters in Germany. Some 40% of all shipments from Fridolfing are sent to Rosenberger sites around the world, while the other 60% are sent directly to end customers.
In 2009, prior to the introduction of mandatory electronic export processing in Germany, Rosenberger was looking for an electronic customs solution, and specifically for integrated software that would also automate logistics. AEB’s global trade and logistics suite ASSIST4 fit the bill and is now used at Rosenberger’s headquarters, its plants in Hungary and Brazil, and even by a customer.
Martin Motz, Rosenberger’s head of Customs and Export Controls, explains: “We used to prepare an average of 50 to 100 consignments a month for export. Today, we average 500 export declarations a month. While we hired more staff and shifted some of the workload to Hungary, the improved quality of our shipping processes is mainly due to the introduction of ASSIST4.”
The Hungarian plant is where the individual parts are assembled and packaged for dispatch to eastern EU countries. The local logistics and IT departments have now migrated from different standalone solutions to one central platform, with all relevant guidelines stored within the software.
The warehouse team is very happy with how the software lets them perform all the various steps at once. Where previously documents had to be created in Microsoft Word and Excel, and labels were printed separately on different systems, staff can now print labels and paperwork, e.g. packing lists and waybills, directly from the packing station and immediately place them on or inside the packages. This accelerated the process of packaging the goods and generating shipping paperwork, from around seven to eight minutes per export declaration to just one to two minutes. Once shipping documentation is complete, ASSIST4 feeds the data and tracking numbers back to the ERP system proAlpha and invoices are printed accordingly. Customer-specific requirements are saved and automatically applied when shipments are processed. If the carrier or parcel service reports a problem, and the delivery is delayed, the shipping office receives e-mail notifications.
Staff can check a consignment’s status at any time using the ASSIST4 ‘Monitoring & Alerting’ (M&A) overview. Rosenberger offices in Brazil and the U.S. can also access the online platform, and the Hungarian office of Rosenberger’s customer Huawei, a Chinese communications company, can track its own shipments to check on orders. Ensuring that only goods listed on import permits are actually shipped is good import management, as the Rosenberger staff in Brazil knows – they benefit from early access to the delivery data and can use ASSIST4 M&A to ensure that everything matches before completing their own paperwork.
Another advantage is the permanent archiving of proof of delivery confirmations. Many parcel services only store such data for three to six months. Rosenberger grants some of its customers a relatively long payment window, so it helps to be able to demonstrate – even after 12 months – that the customer received the goods. The delivery scan archived in ASSIST4 M&A is also considered a valid alternative proof of export, should the confirmation of exit for a particular export shipment not yet be available. “Implementing ASSIST4 M&A paid for itself with this feature alone,” says Martin Motz. “It would be frustrating having to pay tax retrospectively if the confirmation of exit was missing.”
In addition to Customs Management and Transport & Freight Management, Rosenberger also uses the ASSIST4 Risk Management solution for restricted party screening. This automatically checks all addresses against official embargoes and the annexes of certain EU regulations, in real-time. It also screens the complete ERP system data – some 30,000 addresses – every night.
Information technology has helped Rosenberger to streamline, safeguard and improve its processes. Martin Motz is already evaluating which other ASSIST4 functionalities he might use in future.