We spoke to Steve Lamb at MCP to find out more about the role of a system provider in a global supply chain…
What do you do?
MCP is a Port Community System provider and as such, we facilitate the electronic exchange of information between the relevant stakeholders. Our initial system (FCP80) was designed and implemented back in 1984 and it has evolved into what we have today, namely Destin8. From the very beginning, our aim has been to remove paperwork from the system and we like to think that we have revolutionised the flow of both imports and exports, helped to reduce clearance times from days to minutes and enabled forwarders to interface with HM Customs, other Government Agencies and, of course, other port community stakeholders. Less paperwork results in fewer errors, which in turn leads to dramatic increases in productivity and asset utilisation.
Where do you fit in the supply chain?
As the hub/conduit for the exchange of information, the Destin8 Port Community System sits between the Shipping Lines, Freight Forwarders, Clearance Agents, Hauliers, HMRC and other Government Agencies, ensuring the real-time exchange and visibility of information between all relevant parties.
What kind of information is passed through you?
We process a vast amount of data relating to and including: cargo manifests, container movements, dangerous and polluting goods, maritime statistics and vessel waste to name but a few. We also exchange information in real-time on the movement of containers/cargo during each stage of the import/export process.
How can customers be more aware of your role within the multimodal operation?
That’s a very interesting question and not an easy one to answer. Destin8 is a very efficient and integrated system and tends to work in the background most of the time and because it runs smoothly, people tend to take it for granted. We do however maintain good contacts with our customers by attending business specific exhibitions, hosting Destin8 training seminars throughout the UK and by participating on the panels of several working groups, both industry and government based.
How do you improve your product?
By liaising with and listening to our customers on a daily basis. Destin8 is very much a system that has been developed by the users for the user. Our customer services team are the eyes and ears of the company, feeding back clients comments, operational practices and suggestions for enhancements. Regular internal meetings are held to discuss potential system changes and also to balance the development work required against the benefit to the customer base as a whole. Changes are implemented through our regular, scheduled, system update releases.
What innovations have you brought to the marketplace?
We try to be constantly innovative. One of our most recent modules, Destin8 Drive, has certainly made an impact within the haulage sector. Drive is laid out like an online traffic sheet and provides real-time container-status information, from not-landed/landed, cleared, to out-gated. Based on a traffic light system, the information is clear and concise. Functionality within enables the client to ‘quick view’ consignment information, call for a system generated PIN for container collection and enables the haulier to ‘pre-exec’ the empty container back onto the terminal.
Another significant enhancement to Destin8 saw extensive functionality being provided to facilitate implementation of the IMO SOLAS Verified Gross Mass (VGM) legislation that came into force with effect from July 1 2016. This is a very good example of how our port community system provides value to the supply chain. We enabled legislative compliance between diverse stakeholder types, offering a simplified approach using a combination of existing infrastructure and enhanced functionality, with no additional cost to the end-user!