When you’re in the business of logistics, you need to be able to track and manage all your internal processes ef ciently and quickly, and there’s no better way to do that than with a digital solution, as the National Ports Authority discovered.
FROM ANALOGUE TO DIGITAL
Having smoothly-functioning processes is vital in any business, but even more so when part of your business is governing the eight national sea ports of South Africa.
In such positions, there can be a lot of paper-pushing, and the loss of an urgent memo, or not being able to track down the right signature for an expenditure can be detrimental to the secure and responsible governing of one of South Africa’s key areas of logistics.
It is for this reason that the National Ports Authority sent out a request for quotes (RFQ) on automating submissions earlier this year, and Boxfusion answered the call with its locally-designed software solution.
“We looked at what was on the market, and the Boxfusion solution was easier to use and easier to deploy,” says Mmutle Lentle, CIO of Transnet’s National Ports Authority. “It had the controls that we were looking for in terms of workflow, doing escalations etcetera.”
Implementation and rollout of Boxfusion’s e-submissions was simple and painless. Because it is an off-the-shelf solution, Boxfusion worked alongside officials from the National Ports Authority to ensure that the software met their needs and requirements. “We looked at it in its entirety and in comparison to the platforms we already had, it was a compatible solution.”
“The memos, expenditure requests and templates are by-design as we defined the standards up front,” he adds. These e-submission templates were customised to meet the requirements of the National Port’s Authority, particularly in terms of compliance.
While the rollout was quick, the adoption process over the past few months has taken some time. “It’s a change management process. We’ve used a top-down approach, and it’s beginning to work as the buy-in from the top starts to trickle down.”
“I’m getting good reviews from the individuals who use it,” adds Mmutle.
There are plenty of reasons to automate processes within both the public and private sectors. For the National Ports Authority, it’s all about the moving parts.
“We’re creating digitally connected logistics right throughout the chain,” says Mmutle, “it’s about us existing in an ecosystem that is connected to the rest of the ecosystem.”
Through Boxfusion’s e-submissions solutions, the National Ports Authority is beginning to create a culture of digital connectedness throughout the organization as its daily processes are synchronized.
“I foresee that this is going to make a big impact in terms of the way we actually do things,” Mmutle insists, “It’s moving from a completely manual process to a simplified digital process.”
With that simplification comes an increase in efficiency, accountability and traceability. “Systems like this in government can contribute to better governance overall,” Mmutle says. “It brings a new element into how you govern things, it removes human intervention.”
This removal of human intervention is an important aspect of the e-submissions process. By creating, processing and storing crucial memos within the National Ports Authority digitally, it removes any room for error or tampering.
Because the software is secure, and all staff and management who use it have their own log-in details, every change made to a document or memo can be seen and traced, creating greater accountability and integrity within internal processes.
“Because of the directory log-on, we will always know who approved what, and there won’t be any questions around signatures…It will make processes more auditable because it cannot be tampered with once it’s done,” Mmutle affirms.He adds that it also allows management and staff within the ports authority to see exactly how long their processes take, as the software solution enables them to track a document or memo’s trajectory from start to finish.
It also has great potential to increase efficiency within the authority in terms of work flow. Using the software’s active directory allows staff members to forward memos to anyone involved in the process, while enabling officials and management to separately track an individual’s input and history on a document.
By moving from a manual, paper-based process to a digital e-submissions process, the National Ports Authority can continue to efficiently manage the logistics along South Africa’s 2945km of coastline.
“It’s not only about the software, it’s about what I can do with it, and from what I can see, it’s doing exactly what I’ve prescribed for it,” Mmutle concludes.