Den Hartogh Logistics has been making use of Business-to-Business (B2B) connections since 1995. What started as a cooperation with a few major customers such as Dow Chemical and Huntsman has now spread out to a large number
of our clients and suppliers. Den Hartogh Logistics is regularly asked to supply information through a B2B solution, and increasingly often Den Hartogh Logistics takes the initiative to set up a B2B connection, in the interest of all parties.
What B2B integration is all about is, in simple terms, exchanging information directly between computer systems of parties doing business with each other. The idea to have computer systems exchange information directly with each other, without the intervention of people, dates back to the 1960s. At the time it was called EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). With the advent of the internet the threshold for using EDI has become much lower. Expensive permanent data links have been replaced with standard internet connections, and modern software platforms make it easier to make information from computer systems available to parties outside the own company. The internet has
made communication more dynamic and interactive. This also has consequences for the electronic communication between businesses, with the emphasis shifting from exchange of information to integration of business processes:
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) becomes Business-to-Business (B2B) integration.
B2B integration offers some clear advantages
over traditional "paper" processes:
Efficiency improvement - B2B integration
replaces and simplifies routine manual tasks. The recent implementation of a B2B link with Cobelfret/CLdN Ferries saves us about 5 hours per week in manual updating of arrival and departure reports in our Transfusion transport management system. Similar savings are achieved by our suppliers, of course.
Commercial added value - B2B integration
provides a significant added value to customers. Processes proceed with less chance of errors and at a lower cost. Our strength in B2B integration can play an important role in a potential customer's decision to choose Den Hartogh Logistics.
Process improvement - B2B integration offers
a large number of possibilities to improve existing processes. The chance of (manual) errors is substantially smaller, and information can be processed 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. For instance, rail references for delivering
and picking up tanks at railway terminals are updated directly in our system. The immediate advantage of this is that these references no longer have to be retrieved from an external website for every individual case. Moreover, they can be included in instructions to drivers and charter operators directly from Transfusion.
Every week Den Hartogh Logistics processes about 5,500 B2B messages, through which by the end of 2011 some 40% of the customer orders and 20% of the arrival and departure reports for rail and ferry had been updated automatically
in Transfusion. The target for 2012 is to increase the share of B2B in these two processes to 50%. With new B2B links with Clariant, Momentive, Yara and Cobelfret/CLdN established in the first few months of the year, were are on the right track. Later this year the first electronic invoices will be processed in Transfusion using new B2B solutions.
The concrete projects currently being worked on are just the tip of the iceberg. With Transfusion and CDWFusion we have the systems in house that make it possible to realise innovative B2B solutions to make our life easier and to allow Den Hartogh Logistics to continue distinguishing itself from the competition. Now it is up to our creativity to make optimum use of this.