Doing business over the Internet seems driven primarily by speed and reduced administrative burden
By Ryan Skinner (email)
This is the sixth part of the ten-part FoIS series that I introduced last week, presenting the results of a unique survey about Internet use in the shipping industry. The survey was created by this blog, together with ShipServ for its Connect10 conference earlier this year.
For those interested in receiving the full responses in a .pdf report after the full series has been published, send me an email requesting it.
The fifth question of the survey was:
What do you see as the greatest value of doing business over the Internet?
These responses can be seen as the rationalization for the respondents who begin and complete transactions online (questions three and four). Over half of these respondents feel like the improvement in speed is the most valuable aspect of online business. Given increasing workloads for shore staff and ship operators, this answer is not unexpected. In a 2008 survey called "Managing Profitability in Shipping", commissioned by ShipServ, respondents cited that they had reduced purchasing cycle times by more than 30%.
In a clear second place, easier data management is the result of the fact that online transactions are completed after data is entered only once. Thereafter, the data can be controlled, moved or adjusted, without re-entering an entire order. When orders have to pass through several gates, this value increases.
Lastly, respondents cite lower procurement costs. This response probably relates to increased operational efficiency, better timing and the ability to apply renewed focus to existing contracts. In the "Managing Profitability in Shipping" survey, respondents stated that an average purchaser had reduced the administrative burden and freed up the buyers' time by 15-20%. In the words of one executive: "Buyers have more time to add value to their role and to think more strategically. They're not wasting time standing by the fax machine."
- Internet-driven business has the capability of significantly easing administrative burden on shipping professionals.
Do you have comments to the question, the results or the analysis? Share them below in the comments field!
Tomorrow what I call FoIS (the Future of the Internet in Shipping) continues with part seven, in which we see how respondents answered the question: "What do you look for when making a business decision based on information found on a website?"