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Inchcape halves port call cost estimation time with OutSystems

High-speed development platform delivers new digital process and portal in just 13 weeks

Inchcape Shipping Services is using OutSystems, a modern application platform for building applications fast, right and for the future, to deliver new digital processes and a portal that has helped it cut in half the time required to prepare port call estimates for ships delivering cargo from around the globe. This means an improved customer experience, increased data accuracy, and a better user experience for its hub staff and local port agents.

Inchcape, which has a global network of over 240 offices across 60 countries, and a team of more than 2,400 dedicated professionals, uses the OutSystems platform to create a reliable, easy-to-use digital experience for customers. This is a critical element of its growth strategy in a highly fragmented market, where improved transparency and trust are real differentiators.

The company uses legacy data from the vast number of port calls it has administered historically to accurately predict the cost of port visits for its customers – these cost predictions are known as “BaseLine Templates” (BLTs). As the historical costing information came from its legacy system, which it was retiring, Inchcape needed a new way to manage BLTs.

As part of the process, Inchcape took the opportunity to improve the services it offers customers, and set itself an ambitious timeline to launch its new BLT system for its two biggest customers – both global shipping companies – in just six months. These two customers account for over 1,000 port calls every month, which meant it needed to develop efficient processes to ensure that planning, costing and execution of each visit went as smoothly and accurately as possible.

Having recently implemented its One DA system using OutSystems, Inchcape estimated that the platform would help build the new BLT system around three times faster than traditional coding.

OutSystems and Hexaware Technologies, Inchcape’s system integrator, allocated a four-developer scrum team to the project. During the ten-week development project, skills transfer equipped the Hexaware team to take full ownership of the new system for future maintenance and enhancement – following the free OutSystems web developer training course and certification of its developers. At the same time, an OutSystems UX/UI expert created an OutSystems UI template – known as a “Live Style Guide” – to ensure that the user experience for the BLT and other systems was consistent, including branding and the look and feel.

The development phase lasted ten weeks, structured as five two-week sprints and ran ahead of schedule, which allowed the team to implement additional features, including dashboards, UX enhancements, and other user productivity improvements.

David Wonfor, Vice President Global Head of Operations Services, Inchcape Shipping Services, said: “In just 13 weeks, we’ve built a system that means we have everything in one place. This improves data quality, but also means we can provide faster and more accurate cost estimates for our most important clients, with the new process halving the time taken to build and verify BLTs. And, we’ve also got complete visibility of progress, with dashboards and alerts if SLAs are at risk.”

Willem van Enter, VP of EMEA, OutSystems, said: “This project highlights the speed at which the OutSystems platform can deliver tangible results for customers – and the crucial role it plays in Inchcape’s digital strategy. With the tight deadline, our team worked closely with Inchcape’s systems integrator to deliver the new processes and portal, while providing knowledge transfer to its developers allowing for seamless future maintenance and fast enhancements to the system.”