Inchcape Shipping Services has started rolling out its plans to create tailored applications to service 2,500 international ports and 68 countries using the OutSystems high-speed development platform.
Inchcape, which has a global network of over 240 offices across 60 countries, and a team of more than 2,900 dedicated professionals, is using OutSystems to create a reliable, easy-to-use digital experience for its employees and customers. This is a critical element of its growth strategy in a highly fragmented market, where improved transparency and trust are real differentiators.
Building on a newly integrated global IT system, the first project was to build the ‘One-DA’ (One Disbursement Account) application to manage and optimise costs and services for vessel port visits. The services are provided by multiple third parties, and prefunded in advance by ship operators to port agents, so real-time transparency of disbursement and fast reconciliation offer a competitive differentiator for Inchcape.
The new system, which works across multiple channels, including mobile, web and email, also integrates customers’ own ERP systems through standard APIs or file transfer, helping to improve the reconciliation process and financial reporting.
By streamlining 90,000 port visits every year, Inchcape, which was founded in 1847, is helping 2,000 customers – who include owners and charterers in the oil, cruise, container and bulk commodity sectors, as well as naval, government and inter-governmental organisations – trade more successfully and make better decisions in every port across the globe.
Andy Ashwell, Global Head of IT, Inchcape Shipping Services, said: “Faster development was initially the biggest selling point and we were able to build apps incredibly quickly. This was essential, given the need to tailor the application for 68 different countries; however, agility is even more important, and, with OutSystems, we’ve been able to work in a much more agile way, iterating and improving applications even more quickly.”
Willem van Enter, Vice President EMEA, OutSystems, said: “Because of the tight deadline, our team worked closely with Inchcape to deliver the new ‘One-DA’ application, while providing knowledge transfer to its developers. Organised in two scrum teams – one focused on integration and the other on development – we were able to have the first iteration of the application up and running in Kuwait in just four months.”
With the new application, Inchcape is fulfilling its strategy of using technology as a disruptor in one of the world’s oldest industries. Despite the challenges associated with COVID-19, the rollout will reach 68 countries and 1,500 users by the end of 2021.
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