Cargo handler sees savings in outsourcing

Total services outsourcer for the import, export industry Customs Cargo Automators (CCA) claims it will save upwards of $40,000 a year by outsourcing its core business application and IT infrastructure to a local managed services provider (MSP).

The Alexandria (NSW)-based CCA is an information exchange and systems management bureau for shipping and import/export organisations like shipping companies, freight forwarders and customs brokers. It aids the reporting and data tracking process of between 700 and 900 inbound and outbound freight containers daily across Australia.

The CCA's core business application, Nexus, is used to conduct the online exchange of documents with clients and customs regulators. Nexus is a PC-based application, which runs on a Windows environment.

The industry-tailored solution allows all external parties to deal with CCA and each other through one common interface, and works in line with government reporting and freight clearance standards. Parties can also talk to each other through Nexus even if their proprietary networks are not compatible, CCA chief executive Zac Zacharia said.

Nexus was implemented to help the company save roughly 30 per cent on processing costs and cut the number of document transactions from around 10 to two, Zacharia said.

In April CCA outsourced its entire IT infrastructure to tier-two telecommunications provider and MSP Macquarie Corporate Telecommunications' (MCT).

Under CCA's three-year agreement, its Nexus server resides at MCT's data centre. CCA would not disclose details on the value of the deal, saying this was confidential.

CCA decided to outsource its IT framework because it saw IT as a mission-critical part of the business. "As a service provider to the industry, IT is a complex beast to us and an ever-changing set of business solutions," Zacharia said.

"We spent significant resources trying to maintain our infrastructure rather than looking at news ways to service the industry. We needed to keep up with customer demand and offer clients new solutions like our secure online document exchange system, so we chose a full-blown IT solution and not several disparate providers for telco services, servers and IT backup services," he explained.

By outsourcing to MCT, the reporting process on system and network performance was far more accurate and reliable than CCA was capable of doing in-house with four IT staffers, Zacharia said. MCT produces a report of backups at the end of each day and provides virus safeguards like system monitoring.

"Because of the nature of our business, customers would not be forgiving if the system went down, was violated, or did not perform with 99.9 per cent reliability," Zacharia said.

CCA is not only expecting cost savings of more than $40,000 a year by outsourcing its IT infrastructure, but increased productivity among customers. Its clients are now able to access Nexus from "anywhere at any time by logging onto the Nexus server housed by MCT, from either the desktop or remotely by portable means via a credit-card sized CD, and transact with one another in complete confidence while powered by Macquarie," he said.

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