Information system development enables FESCO to reach its key goal of digital transportation with high quality customer service.
In 2021, the digitalisation and information system development was focused on covering and supporting the increased demand for FESCO services.
Sales growth required FESCO to further develop a number of areas:
- e-commerce and online services;
- operational management of production sites and facilities;
- internal workflow optimisation.
FESCO implements pilot projects aimed at transportation digitalisation: digital seals, electronic bills of lading, customs transit.
FESCO pays special attention to projects optimising the operation of its terminals and invests both in general infrastructure improvement and optimisation of production site operation.
Using a ready set of IT solutions and products, FESCO rolls out unified IT solutions at all of its companies and develops new business areas.
Business digitalisation projects
Customer’s personal account
MY.FESCO customer’s personal account is a self-service portal for our customers.
Improvement of this service is the key priority of FESCO digitalisation. The main objective of the project is to provide a fully digital transportation service. Our efforts on portal improvement made it possible to implement one of the best and most functional solutions in the market.
Priority areas of personal account improvement in 2021:
- electronic contracts;
- improvement of cargo tracking during transportation;
- development of transportation feedback services.
The personal account was piloted in 2017 and back then only supported requests for intermodal imports from South-East Asia to Vladivostok and Moscow. Today, the service can be used to request any of FESCO’s key transportation services.
In 2021, the growth of orders placed via the personal account continued:
- the number of customers placing orders via their personal accounts increased by 26%;
- the number of orders increased by 31%;
- TEU equivalent of orders via personal accounts increased by 38%.
Currently, over 3 thousand users visit MY.FESCO.com every day.
In MY.FESCO personal account, customers can:
- submit and repeat requests for container transportation;
- conclude contracts;
- track the shipping and customs status;
- provide feedback on service quality;
- download scans of accounting and transportation documents without contacting managers or requesting the documents by mail or phone;
- reconcile overpayments;
- file for customs transit clearance;
- request and approve reconciliation reports;
- control user access for their company.
In 2021, MY.FESCO scaled up the contract functions, resulting in over 1 thousand contracts made via the personal account during the year.
- Launch of Pocket Port web application enabled FESCO customers to use digital services from their mobile phones, which makes it possible to speed up the depot closure process twice, receive reconciliation reports online, and always have customs status at hand.
- Launch and development of the terminal operating system made it possible to:
- increase cargo handling volumes at process lines by up to 5%;
- implement the mechanism of sea shipment without tally clerk involvement;
- optimise the work of terminal users by reducing the service time to 60 minutes on average;
- lower the cost of cargo handling and related works;
- reduce loss of time at various operations and increase port efficiency and throughput capacity.
- Development of VMTP process ecosystem for integration with logistics chain partners and creation of a single point of contact for the customers made it possible to:
- obtain electronic customs’ approvals reducing the approval issue time from four days to three hours;
- automate the receipt of forwarder requests for general cargo imports;
- arrange temporary storage accounting: reduce carrier downtime at arrivals and departures by three minutes and move to electronic interaction with the terminal;
- reduce container stowage in stacks by up to 10% thanks to advance notification from the railway and thus speed up ship loading;
- automate customs document submission.
- Launch of the Port Digital Twin, an artificial intelligence controlling business in real time, integrates physical and digital worlds through interaction between a human, hardware, and analytical software to monitor and improve operations. The project will simplify operations, save resources, and reduce failures extending the equipment service life. Expected results:
- 20% productivity increase;
- 25% shorter maintenance time;
- container arrangement optimisation in the terminal reducing container handling by up to 30%;
- 35% reduction of unscheduled downtime;
- accident rate reduction by up to 70%.
- Implementation of a digital radio communication project ensured full coverage of the terminal. Previously, the port staff used two different bands of analogue radio communications, which affected the speed and caused inconvenience due to poor signal quality and imperfect coverage. The project expanded the capabilities:
- walkie-talkies operate across the port and provide communication even between remote areas of the terminal;
- the number of radio channels increased;
- the system is easily adjustable based on the operating needs without hardware upgrade.
All works were performed by the IT unit, which obtained radio channel lease permits, selected equipment and designed the radio communication system, built and commissioned the relay centre, upgraded the radio equipment installed on cranes and wheeled vehicles.
- VMTP integration with its partners – Russian Railways and the Federal Customs Service:
- the integration of Russian Railways with automatic railcar commercial inspection systems recognising railcars and containers at the port accelerated the clearance of trains departing from the Vladivostok station by 10%. The system of electronic interaction between Russian Railways and VMTP to share train loading plans accelerated train receipt by 1.5 hours;
- VMTP integration for the submission of export instructions to the Federal Customs Service through the Sea Port Portal software enables the customers to work through a single point of contact at their personal accounts and have exports approved electronically, reducing their labour efforts and resources spent for repeated submission of information to the Federal Customs Service by up to 15%.
- VMTP together with a technology partner piloted the LTE/5G Ready dedicated private network in a part of the territory. The network will ensure reliable high-speed access of over 100 mobile operational devices to the port information system, enable connection of dozens of facilities to CCTV systems and transmission of information from thousands of sensors, optimising the internal processes and improving operating performance. Following the pilot, the technology and communications provider were selected. The completion of the project is scheduled for 2022.
- FESCO and NtechLab, a global leader in computer vision, agreed upon using digital technologies at the Company’s facilities. VMTP launched the Smart and Safe Port project. Together with NtechLab, VMTP is developing and integrating a comprehensive individual video analytics system into the business processes, including transport monitoring, health and safety monitoring with a single biometric database, and monitoring of other operations. The project will support FESCO in achieving the strategic goals of VMTP safety, transparency, and performance improvement, as well as reduce commercial rejects, accidents, vehicle handling time and improve operational safety and handling.
FESCO started the automation of its Khabarovsk terminal operations. As part of this project, we:
- developed a new information system for managing container operations;
- optimised production chains;
- put into operation impact- and frost-resistant mobile equipment for foremen working on-site and operating loaders;
- set up digital services for terminal users and motor carriers (incoming and outgoing container assignment to carriers, planning time slots for motor vehicles, informing drivers about changes in the schedule).
The project is replicating the automation of Novosibirsk container terminal operations. FESCO’s IT team developed a prompt automation technology and a single hardware and software standard for FESCO’s inland terminals, including:
- information system and mobile equipment to support terminal operations;
- standards of system integration into the Group’s IT landscape;
- a standard set of marketing activities to launch customer services;
- legal framework for using the services.
Such approach accelerated the automation three-fold.
Thanks to the automation, we now get the maximum information about the container and the next stages of its route in advance, before it enters the terminal, and can accurately schedule and minimise the number of operations required for handling it. All chains of operations are now managed by the information system, and employee tasks are assigned by the algorithms only.
The developed hardware and software will be rolled out in 2022 enabling us to:
- reduce container handling time;
- optimise the terminal’s internal logistics and load on its lifting equipment;
- analyse and forecast the terminal’s current and future workloads to enable prompt decision-making;
- for customers and motor carriers – plan container arrivals, departures, and handling time at the terminal, and minimise the waiting time in line.
FESCO started the comprehensive automation of commercial and production operations on refrigerated transportation by Dalreftrans. As part of this project, we plan to:
- optimise processes and operations in connection with cargo receiving and dispatching as well as commercial operations;
- make customer services faster, improve the quality, content, and delivery time of the information provided;
- ensure deep integration into the Company’s IT landscape, use various sources of container location data, combine operations and corporate services and standards, including e-commerce services;
- move software to a modern information platform, simplify and harmonise the system interface.
The project will make Dalreftrans an integral part of FESCO’s digital ecosystem, and the customers will use the information service according to the common standards of the Company.
Trucking and motor transport management, last mile service
- FESCO improves its information systems to provide extended trucking services, which makes it possible to:
- calculate rates for the current rate areas online;
- generate customer requests for trucking to the locations beyond the current rate areas.
The trucking service is a part of a single transportation business process, allowing the customer to enjoy high-quality and manageable services.
During the reporting period, the trucking service was rolled out in new locations – St Petersburg and Novosibirsk.
FESCO offers transportation services, including automatic calculation of trucking to any point in Russia chosen on the map.
We also offer solutions optimising interaction with the carriers from vehicle registration to transportation services.
Development and roll-out of the unified accounting system
FESCO rolled out a unified accounting system for business, fiscal, and management accounting based on a single methodology and unified accounting policies in more than 20 companies of the Group. This was accompanied by enhancement of the system functionality:
- integration flows with operational systems were expanded;
- service capabilities of various user groups were increased;
- business accounting specifics of FESCO companies were taken into account;
- manual data input to the operational systems and the unified accounting system was eliminated;
- period closing operations were optimised and regulated;
- credentials generation and control were automated;
- analytics for management accounting was enhanced;
- own and leased property management subsystem was implemented;
- cost acceptance processes were automated.
In 2021, transactions processed in the unified accounting system (along with the Electronic Archive system) considerably increased:
- daily amount of sales documents – 2.5-fold;
- daily amount of supplier documents – 1.5-fold;
- daily amount of digital documents – from 18 thousand to 22 thousand documents.
At the same time, the document process time decreased:
- sales documents – from 1.5 days to 0.35 days;
- supplier documents – from 4.5 days to 2 days.
Digital services for FESCO employees
FESCO is constantly improving its corporate digital ecosystem by refining information, expanding functionality, and enhancing user experience. Ecosystem development includes extension of the employee digital services, which continued in 2021. The single ecosystem covered employees of VMTP, the largest FESCO’s company, and its subsidiaries. About 3 thousand employees received access to the employee personal accounts – FESCO’s specialised portal for personnel and administrative services. The account allows employees of VMTP and its subsidiaries:
- to receive personal financial (payroll) and HR information (current vacation schedules, shift schedules, etc.);
- to submit requests to the Company (certificates and documents, time off, applications, etc.);
- to plan vacations for the year, apply for unscheduled vacations;
- to plan shift schedules;
- to send administrative requests.
Personal accounts can be accessed from desktop as well as self-service kiosks on production sites, from mobile app, or in a Telegram chat bot. In 2021, the share of requests submitted to the personal account from mobile devices and terminals on production sites exceeded 30%. Thus, employees receive the information they need 24/7 at any place and time without visiting the HR office. Availability of personal employment and financial information was highly appreciated by the employees, especially FESCO’s blue-collar staff.
Procurement and supply management
FESCO is consistently digitalising corporate control functions. The project for a unified supply and procurement management consolidated the Company’s control procedures and created a chain of identical business processes for every step from initiation to payment. In 2021, the digital supply system was expanded with supplies to the largest operations, including:
- supplies to vessels, including both general supplies and fuel as well as maintenance and procurement of spare parts;
- covering the needs of VMTP in equipment, functional services, business and administrative materials and services, information technologies.
The project entailed material revision of the procurement processes, optimisation of procurement scope and time. The supply and procurement platform controls:
- compliance with the budget at the procurement stage;
- amounts/limits set by the contracts and maximum contract price;
- the delivery;
- timely payments and availability of closing documents accepted by the unit;
- potential suppliers via security screening.
In 2021, the digital procurement system:
- performed nearly 7 thousand procurement procedures, or 96% of the Groups’ annual procurement plan;
- reduced the procurement procedure time three-fold – the target procurement time is now seven days.
Amidst the growing number of cyber threats in the global digital environment, FESCO takes consistent efforts to improve security of its information infrastructure.
Roll-out of the Security Operations Centre (SOC) aimed at information security monitoring considerably improved the Company’s cybersecurity in 2021. During five months of its operation, the centre revealed 6,855 suspicious security events, including 32 events which were confirmed as incidents. Prompt detection of information security incidents ensures efficient protection of FESCO’s information system against disruptions.
In 2021, the Company added a vulnerability detection system to its arsenal of cybersecurity tools. The vulnerability scanner performs corporate network diagnostics detecting weaknesses which can be used by intruders. Timely elimination of vulnerabilities considerably reduces the risk of malicious intervention to FESCO information systems.
The project of improving the protection of digital infrastructure against Internet threats had a special focus on DDoS protection. In June 2021, the Company implemented a DDoS protection solution which detected and blocked a number of DDoS attacks in real time, thus preventing disruptions in FESCO operation.
- FESCO established a panel to monitor and promptly respond to infrastructure events at its sites 24/7, as well as arranged a 24-hour duty system and notification of its IT specialists about critical incidents to take prompt actions.
- As part of IT service centralisation, FESCO performed market analysis, selected and implemented ServiceDesk, a new unified system which facilitates generation of user requests for hardware installation, access, etc., as well as enables IT managers to monitor request fulfilment by locations and compliance with service level agreements, keep track of user feedback.
- FESCO completed a large-scale project on complete transition of its digital infrastructure to a new cloud data centre, which made it possible to increase:
- technical support level.
- FESCO launched a project of employee equipment inventory. Employees can see the list of equipment assigned to them in their personal accounts. All devices have QR code labels which facilitate prompt inventory and obtaining of all information about the equipment history and its holders. Technical support team adds all equipment replacements and movements to a single database.
- In 2021, nearly 1 thousand workplaces were set up and over 50 thousand requests to technical support service in connection with infrastructure and information systems were processed.
- FESCO is implementing a project of IT consolidation of its offices all over the world to connect 15 foreign offices to a single infrastructure. This will unify user software and equipment standards, Office 365 collaborative services, remote administration and antivirus tools.
- FESCO completed the creation of a single corporate distributed Wi-Fi network with a single sign-on and connected it to all remote offices.