The New Catapult QMS®️ 5.0 – Drivers of the New Release

Some of you may already know that in July 2018, Catapult is launching a brand-new version of our Quote Management System (QMS) – the Catapult QMS 5.0. This is our flagship product. As one of the main architects of this release, my excitement is growing as we count down to the official launch. We’ve given a few of our customers sneak previews and even enrolled two clients in an early beta testing program. Thus far, the positive feedback has exceeded our expectations. While I would like to tell you about the release, I don’t want to ruin the surprise. So, instead, I will share how Catapult crafted our new vision of the future. Below are the core concepts we adopted that allowed us to revamp and reimagine QMS 5.0:

Expert-Oriented User Experience

Many quote management systems are designed by industry outsiders. These opportunists lack the “insider” understanding of the day-to-day inside NVOCCs and forwarders. While working at an NVOCC, I used to sling rates to customers on a daily basis. Over the years, I’ve tried many contract and rate management products. I can tell you that most products have sidelined user experience and expert knowledge in exchange for a lower price point. When I started designing QMS 5.0 in 2017, I knew that the focal point had to be the end-user experience. In preparation for this project, I spoke to our existing users, interviewed companies who decided not to use Catapult, and poured over our backlog of feature requests from customers. Lastly, I applied my personal knowledge of preparing freight quotations to ensure everything we developed would delight actual users.

Focus on the Quoting Process

Having used Catapult QMS in my previous job, I knew Catapult’s ability to manage rates and contracts was second to none. While Catapult has always offered quote management capabilities, they were always overshadowed by contract and rate management. Armed with clear and resounding feedback from the market, we set out to solve the quote management problem by focusing on an extremely easy-to-use interface that speeds up responses to end-customers with the highest degree of accuracy. To meet this goal, we considered real world use cases. We designed the entire user experience based on a number of standard (and non-standard) flow of the quoting process. This meant that the new system had to be smarter, adaptable to the variety of processes at different forwarders, and — most importantly — be available on the go.

The Digitized Logistics World

Today’s marketplace is full of buzzwords. These include the cloud, blockchain, big data, the internet of things and artificial intelligence. If we look past the hype and focus on our needs of today, there is one primary goal for our trade; we must advance digital business practices in the transportation and supply chain industry. For too long, we’ve been looked at as a backwards change-resistant industry. The finance, retail, and healthcare industries used transportation as a case study of what happens when there is a lack of innovation and abundance of complacency. In the last few months, many of the largest players in the freight space have shown willingness to accept the digital revolution. I am happy to announce we will be a player and contributor to the paradigm shift. Our industry has the potential to leapfrog the others, because we’ve seen their mistakes. QMS 5.0 is designed around an increasingly younger and more digitized workforce. This group of users expects an intuitive interface that requires minimal training (think Instagram), the ability to analyze options (think Kayak), collaboration capabilities (think Google Docs), and a seamless experience regardless of platform (think Wired.com). The software should not stand in your way, but aid in your daily routine. Catapult QMS 5.0 is, by far, the most exciting project I’ve worked on in my professional life. The object of this blog is to give you a high-level understanding of why this new release is so meaningful to Catapult and myself. I will be writing more about the release soon, so please check back. Perhaps this blog may make more sense after you have seen the release. Oh, and feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email.  

About the Author

Chris Dillard (cdillard@gocatapult.com) heads up the Product Design function at Catapult, an Accelya Company. He has eight years working in the transportation industry including a stint managing client rates and carrier contracts at TSC Container Freight prior to creating and maintaining a self-designed freight quotation system. Chris is an avid student of technology, process engineering and user experiences.

FMC Compliance

Are you compliant with the FMC with your publications, NRAs, and NSAs?

A short search online will tell you that companies like yours are paying penalties to the Federal Maritime Commission for non-compliance of FMC regulations, these fines regularly range widely, and one simple case can affect hundreds of shipments, multiplying the cost. Simply publishing your Tariff Rates, Governing Rules, NRA’s and NSA’s in a FMC-compliant system may not be enough to make you compliant.

That is why at Catapult we not only built a cloud based platform that allows you to manage, publish and store your Tariff Rates, Governing Rules, NRA’s and NSA’s in one place and in super-fast time making it easy to keep up to date, but also extensively checks your filings pre-publication for many common non-compliance risks, such as commodity descriptions, duplications, similar filings and more.

This gives you greater peace of mind and helps to ensure you don’t put your reputation and hard-earned cash at risk.

Our experts have relevant industry experience and know inside and out what it takes to be compliant, they have designed our tariff tools and services to provide the most simple and effective way to manage your tariff data, giving you ease of use as well as confidence.

How often are your filings being queried or rejected pre-publishing? Rarely? Or even never? This may mean that you don’t have sufficient validation in place to capture those hard to spot, but potentially very costly, errors.

Carlos Rodriguez, U.S domestic and international transport counsel and D.C attorney, is a long time trusted advisor of Catapult. Carlos provides guidance on dealing with FMC issues to many companies, and stated to us recently “While NRAs are an exemption provided by the FMC to tariff publication of rates, many smaller, mid-sized, and even some of the larger multinationals still opt to publish rates for many reasons. For example, the smaller and mid-sized NVOCCs cannot assert sufficient control over non-affiliated overseas agents in the implementation of the NRA procedures required by the FMC in the U.S. import trade lanes. Therefore, many opt to publish port to port or point rates which they can control from the U.S. Some of the larger NVOCCs still publish rates from a centralized location to ensure that centralized pricing maintains desired rate levels.” There are, therefore, still many regulatory as well as commercial factors in play which need attention to minimize risk as well as to meet commercial demands.

Catapult also takes care of the storage of all documents related to your NRA’s, keeping everything in one place, ensuring you meet regulatory requirements for record keeping.

We can accommodate the way you want to work, Catapult offer you two service options. Have resources? Great, our platform allows you to fully self-manage your data and has built-in compliance. Don’t have the resources? No problem! We have the people to manage this for you, so you don’t have to worry about a thing!

We ensure best practices in compliance and have assembled a team of highly-qualified individuals ready to handle regulatory compliance issues, customized for your company’s needs. From tariff publication, to service contracts, to training, our mission is to help your company achieve awareness of and compliance with ocean shipping laws and Federal Maritime Commission regulations. Our services are designed to increase understanding of these regulations down to the employee level, to minimize exposure to fines and penalties, and to maximize commercial objectives.

Find out if we can save you time and give you greater compliance confidence today, contact us by filling out the below form












Description / Interest* :

Look Inside: Catapult’s CEBU office

Look Inside: Catapult’s CEBU office

Recently our CEO Virgil Ferreira visited our Centre of Operations office, located in Cebu, PH.

This fantastic facility houses our engine room, where so much of the magic happens! This is where we Support many of the world’s global forwarders and shippers in managing their rate data.

Quick facts:
Opened in 2012
100+ staff
24×5 Global Support
18×5 Production Support
1300 Square meters of office space

Our highly skilled team of subject matter experts have many years of experience to call upon, and specialize in analytics, Excel, customer services, and software development.
Speaking about his visit CEO, Virgil Ferreira said, “This team really enjoy seeing their efforts make an impact, they are very goal orientated” commenting on the great team spirit he added “the high energy and smiles in this office are contagious, it’s a great environment”

We are proud of our low attrition rate, with many of our staff in Cebu having been with us for 4 or 5 years, we believe this is down to our inclusive management style, and providing opportunities for growth. This means our clients get truly experienced and expert support.

Our Continuous Improvement Manager A.J says “What I love working at Catapult is the culture of continuous growth, not only growth on business process but also on developing each employee to bring out the best in them. In this company, you can always see happy and smiling employee’s. I am very proud to be part of it for more than five years now”

When the pressure is on and large development projects are underway, or rate management is running at full capacity during contract season, our team has their own way of keeping happy and healthy – office Zumba! Studies have proven that exercise at the office supports mental health, boosts teamwork, increases the happiness factor and relieves stress – according to our team, it’s working!

Here are few comments from the floor:

“In Catapult, you work with energetic and happy people.”
“I appreciate the friendly and lively working environment”
“We are not working as workmates but a family”
“I love to work at Catapult”

Following the great success of Catapult Cebu in its first 5 years, what’s next?

“Our Cebu office is an excellence center, we have experts from the shipping industry, rate management, customer support and innovators in our IT team. I want to leverage the longevity and experience of the team and increase the integration with our innovation / IT teams to continue to improve our speed and accuracy in our rate management services, and expand some of our other services, like the freight audit product. This facility and the team will continue to be a vital part of Catapult’s leadership in the digitization of the shipping industry” Says Virgil Ferreira, CEO

Catapult Adds Kerry Logistics to Its Global IFF Customer Base

Catapult Adds Kerry Logistics to Its Global IFF Customer Base

Kansas City and Hong Kong, 10 October, 2017: Catapult, an Accelya company, announced today that Kerry Logistics, has selected the QMS™ web-based rate automation and quoting platform, in a move designed to strengthen its global IFF capabilities. Catapult’s QMS™ will serve as a centralized rate database for Kerry Logistics’ offices globally, providing instant access to ocean, air, and ground rates and contracts. Users will be able to search rates, compare carrier costs, view sailing schedules, transit time, create reports, and book shipments all through a single platform.

Commenting on the agreement, Virgil Ferreira, CEO of Catapult International said, “Catapult appreciated the due diligence from Kerry Logistics in their selection process and are honored to be their chosen partner. They understand the importance of digitization to drive operational improvements, and clearly see the opportunity for their commercial teams in terms of responsiveness to customer requests and better management of margins with Catapult’s technology.”

Deepak Saxena, Executive Director of Global Ocean of Kerry Logistics said, “This partnership gives us a worldwide, comprehensive, user-friendly and highly commercial digitalized platform for our IFF division, fueling our sales engine and operational excellence. We thank Catapult’s team for their full support during this transition and look forward to growing together in the future.”

About Catapult

Catapult, an Accelya Company, provides technology-enabled solutions for freight forwarders, shippers, and carriers worldwide. Managing over 1 billion cargo rates at over a 99% accuracy rate, Catapult combines air, ocean and ground rate contracts into one simple cloud-based system, enabling operations and sales departments to get their best carrier rate from point A to point B and realize dramatic efficiency improvements. For more information, please visit www.gocatapult.com.

About Kerry Logistics Network Limited (Stock Code 636.HK)

Kerry Logistics is an Asia-based, global 3PL with the strongest network in Asia. Its core competency is providing highly customised solutions to multinational corporations and international brands to enhance their supply chain efficiency, reduce overall costs and improve response time to market. It currently has more than 1,000 service points in 51 countries and territories, and is managing 48 million sq ft of land and logistics facilities worldwide, providing customers with high reliability and flexibility to support their expansion and long-term growth. Kerry Logistics Network Limited is listed on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and is a selected Member of the Hang Seng Corporate Sustainability Index Series 2016-2017.

Press Contact:
Laura Finbow
E: growth@gocatapult.com

A Look At the Top 5 Challenges Facing the Freight Forwarding Industry Today

Freight forwarders are as nervous about the future as any other type of company these days – and for good reason. It’s hard to think of another industry facing more uncertainty with many of the macro-trends happening in the world right now. These challenges include everything from the impact of technology and the state of the global economy, to how newly elected U.S. President Trump is promising to shake up global trade.  

Macro-economic reasons aside, there is also plenty going on within the industry that freight forwarders should be watching. Here are 5 of the most crucial ones.

Competition

Freight forwarders are up against more competition than ever. Part of the reason is that many logistics companies that traditionally defined themselves as something else (say an as ocean carrier, or even a warehousing company) are now providing forwarding and NVOCC type services. And of course, everyone is talking about how even Amazon is getting in the game as well – which leads us to the next challenge.

Commoditization

Many, if not most, shippers view transportation as a commodity. All they care about is that the delivery gets made. Meaning, they place little value on service and a lot on price. This makes it hard for forwarders to differentiate themselves from other providers – especially when there are always those who’ll try to win on price. Some forwarders are learning they can better compete and maintain margins by offering new or better technology that improves the customer experience.

Ocean Volatility

Ocean shipping is a big part of what forwarders do. It’s also a very unstable business, based on complicated rates and contracts that take an expert to understand. Many times this makes it hard for forwarders to understand their cost structure – which obviously makes it even harder to provide accurate and reliable quotes to customers. The seemingly random nature of GRI’s and surcharges only adds to the problem. There have been recent calls to simplify the complexity of all these things but there won’t be relief for forwarders any time soon.

Tender Management

A big part of most forwarder’s business comes from responding to tenders. Because the volume of these bids is so high, and each is usually so complex, they are a big drain on resources. Smart forwarders are focused on improving their tender management process to make sure they are bidding accurately and fast, but also on the best types of business for them.

Rate of Change

There are constantly new market challenges for forwarders that need to be accounted for. A recent example is the trend for ocean carriers to form alliances. With almost no notice, these can affect the rates and contracts forwarders have with the carriers, as well as service. The aforementioned effect of technology is changing how forwarders (and their competitors) can manage their business – as well as service their customers. Lastly, market expectations continue to focus on ever faster and cheaper deliveries.

For all these reasons, freight forwarders need to work harder than ever to differentiate themselves in their business – while continuing to focus on service. What the best forwarders know is that just as important as competitive rates are giving customers better service options and technology to support decision making.