AUGUST 5, 2014 — "It used to be all the NVOCC needed was a telephone and a tariff," says one long time shipping industry observer, "but no more."
Though NVOCCs may be "shipping lines without ships," these days they have to jump through most of the same hoops as actual shipping lines, while customers look for them to provide an ever broadening arrange of services. Stepping up to help them is Info-X Software Technology.
Based in Gurgaon, the high-tech center of India, outside New Delhi, Info-X is looking to dramatically expand its business in the U.S. It is focusing on its growing markets of NVOCCs and freight forwarders who can gain major benefits of cost reduction and sales growth by utilizing back-office services. Info-X is also expanding into other important sectors of the industry, including warehousing and trucking.
"To date, we have been steadily growing our business with U.S. NVOCCs and freight forwarders by delivering high quality, low cost products, which have resulted in loyal, long-term partnerships," said Rishi Parti, Director, Info-X, at a recent media round table in Newark, NJ. "We plan to leverage the success achieved by our existing clients as we take a more aggressive approach to the U.S. market, significantly increasing awareness of our products and services, which can be applied to all areas of the industry."
In addition, Mr. Parti noted: "Info-X has taken a major stride this year making strategic investments and is partnering with other U.S.-based software providers with complementary products and services."
Since 2001, Info-X has organically grown its business from a three-man team to a fully trained staff of 150 and has expanded its operations to 15 countries. It operates from a newly built, $5 million, 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility with a robust infrastructure in Gurgaon.
It attributes its growth to consistently providing products and services that increase productivity and decrease expenditures for its clients and demonstrating a full understanding of the complexities impacting the transportation industry, especially those caused by the ever-changing marketplace, expansion of geographical territories and increased regulations.
In addition to being a tariff publisher with the FMC, Info-X provides end-to-end back-office services as well as a full suite of logistic software solutions for the entire business chain, including rate filing, carrier contract management, bill of lading entries, arrival notice entries, auditing, AES/CAED filing and cargo tracking. The company provides a fully responsive system to keep up with the constant updates, increased volumes, new regulations and complex operational issues.
To increase its presence in the U.S, Info-X will focus on four key areas:
Carrier Contract and Rate Quote Management: The company's rate quote management system has seen clients increase sales by 7% upon implementing the system. It provides clients with a streamlined process that collects, stores, tracks and manages quotes, creating a continuously updated rate matrix that facilitates live rate quotes. Info-X does not just provide a framework; it also supports the client and ensures accuracy by handling all aspects of the data entry, including regular updates by its back-office support executives.
"I recognized a need to provide a high-productivity/low cost solution to rate management, which is typically a stressful, tedious process. Our rate quote management system radically changes the way our clients handle this piece of the business, freeing up the sales force and increasing revenues," said Mr. Parti.
To further accommodate its customers, especially those in the U.S., Info-X recently launched the mobile application for the cloud-based system, which will provides easy accessibility through all mobile devices.
"Our clients rely on our system to quickly access and track the ever-changing rates and get updates on contracts and expiration dates. With the mobile nature of today's U.S. sales force, making it available on their hand-held devices was a natural next step," said Mr. Parti. "Our commitment to make this the most customer-friendly rate management system is the reason we have an 80% conversion rate. Once we introduce the benefits of the system to a potential client, it is very hard to resist."
Back-Office Support: The first India-based company to offer back-office support to the transportation industry, Info-X provides a staff of 150 professionals to handle all data entry and processing, cargo tracking, tariff management, accounting and business coordination, resulting in 250,000 transactions per month. This allows the client's resources to be re-allocated and utilized in a more productive capacity.
Invisible to the end-customer, Info-X back-office staff works on U.S. time and provide 24/7 on-line support. The system provides real-time global collaboration with requests submitted in the evening being worked on overnight and in the client's inbox the next morning. All reports bear the name of the client and are distributed from a client-specific email address. Further, Info-X ensures all data is protected with an elaborate security system.
"With technology available today, it is no longer necessary to use time sifting through the current, antiquated, time-consuming systems, which drain manpower," said Mr. Parti. "More than ever, there is significant pressure to deliver both profits and customer satisfaction in very tight timeframes. At Info-X, we not only do we do it faster and cheaper, but with the sophistication of our systems, we often do it better."
Customized Software Solutions: Rather than approach clients with a "boxed," pre-packaged software solution system, Info-X collaborates with them to develop a customized system that meets their specific needs. As an FMC tariff publisher, Info-X provides clients with experienced software developers, each equipped with a keen understanding of all supply chain modes, including carriers, providers, customers and government agencies.
"Why would anyone expect a one-size-fits-all system to work when each company is so different?" says Mr. Parti. "Our approach is especially effective for small-to-midsize companies, which have the flexibility to create a system that works best for their team, their culture and their business."
Marketing/U.S. Investments: To date, Info-X has grown its business through word-of-mouth. To increase brand awareness and cement itself as a player in the U.S. market, Info-X has hired BSY Associates, a leader in marketing and PR in the transportation industry. In addition, Info-X has established a sales office in Virginia.