Rudee Bertie, Founder and Managing Director of CCL, reflects on the need for businesses to transform, in order to remain competitive in a changing world.
(by Ian Taylor)
The only certainty in business, is that from one year to the next, you’re going to have to deal with change. Change comes from anywhere and everywhere.
CCL began life almost 20 years ago as a simple customs broker. It was a business reliant on paper-based processes. Over the years the business expanded, through increased trade into mainland Europe and gateway clearance to the Eurozone, then through the explosive growth of eCommerce. That meant more paper and we soon realised we were gonna need a bigger boat.
#MoreThanPackages – a Digital Ecosystem
We needed to drive up our data processing capability, whilst maintaining clearance processes that worked. There were workflow systems out there, but nothing which could be tailored to our needs – so we built our own.
The result is MyCCL, our enterprise software solution. Today MyCCL manages every aspect of our operations, from the warehouse through clearance and payment processing to accounts. It embraces job creation, barcode scanning, status management and invoicing, end-to-end process management. And because we designed it, every element incorporates CCL’s best practice processes and expertise.
Complementing MyCCL is CC Collect, our App-based payment processing solution for DDU/DAP consignments. CC Collect is designed to speed up collections and reduce non-payments and return goods, offering a cost-effective and professional service to eCommerce retailers and delivery service providers, and ease-of-use and convenience to the consumer.
MyCCL and CC Collect are the foundation stones of CCL’s digital ecosystem, key steps toward our vision for CCL as an eCommerce logistics company for the digital age.
Talking of change, there’s one enormous disrupter approaching: BREXIT.
On 24th June 2016, when we woke to the news that the UK electorate had voted to leave the EU, we knew CCL would change. But how? One year on, we still don’t know the details of Brexit. Not only are we dealing with change; we’re dealing with uncertainty too.
But we ALL have to respond to the fact that soon, the UK will be outside the EU. We must allow for multiple possibilities; the Customs Union, or a customs union, or no customs union; closed or open, soft or hard borders around Europe; a new trading climate and new trading agreements around the world.
Long before Brexit, we’d been looking ahead, planning how our company should develop. Not a year has gone by since we started trading, that we haven’t taken a long look at our position and capabilities and strategised for the future. That’s where MYCCL and CC Collect first entered the frame.
CCL’s customers rely on our wisdom and expertise. We’ve earned our market leading position and we needed to provide leadership and confidence in the uncertain post-referendum climate.
MyCCL goes to Amsterdam
With the Eurozone soon to exclude the UK, gateway clearance for non-UK destinations will go elsewhere. Amsterdam is an ideal location, offering ready access to mainland European countries and good transport links.
I first discussed the prospect of a collaboration with Mark Lases, Founder of YCC Your Cargo Contact in Amsterdam long before Brexit was a reality. Within a week of the referendum, I was in Amsterdam with Mark, meeting with local Customs officials.
Our goal was to take MyCCL and the operational template we use at Heathrow to Schipol. Dutch Customs officials could see we had a highly functional set of processes. They were amenable to our approach. The benefit is mutual; CCL and YCC build business, and Customs increases tax/duty revenues whilst cutting fraud, and reducing under-declaration and under-payments.
Opening up the Opportunity
Licence agreement signed, we integrated MyCCL into YCC, white-labelling as MyYCC for their business. In evolving from B2B to B2C, YCC embarked on a learning curve. Things work differently when you’re transitioning from around 20 to 1,000 airwaybills per shipment. But we committed to supporting YCC. Mark Lases, Managing Director of YCC appreciated how we worked with them, noting, ‘CCL made their programmers available to us and we implemented MyYCC very quickly. It was up-and-running in just a few days.’
Mark is as enthusiastic about the new relationship with CCL and YCC’s move into eCommerce logistics as I am. He says, ‘Until I met Rudee, we had no involvement in eCommerce, but we could see the opportunity straight away. eCommerce is the future; more people are buying direct. We’ll continue to serve our B2B clients as we always have, but in diversifying into eCommerce, we’re strengthening our business.’
With YCC on-board, CCL customers outside the EU can ship directly into mainland Europe via Amsterdam. They will build freight pallets the same way and send data in the same format as they do now.
A Success Story
Many companies are disinclined to wait for the outcome of Brexit negotiations and are establishing their long-term transport strategies today. For example, shipments are now coming from China with 10,000+ parcels a day, handled via YCC and going straight into mainland Europe. And YCC is engaging with other businesses keen to set up the same arrangements on established systems, proven within CCL.
And for us? In licencing our software to YCC, we receive a fee for every transaction passing through MyYCC.
But it doesn’t stop there…
To Infinity and Beyond
We’ve established that we can create opportunities and drive business to partner companies in Europe or beyond, to mutual benefit. As eCommerce logistics expands, our enterprise software solution is scalable, and brings our expertise with it.
CCL has since licenced MYCCL to Skyocean in Switzerland. Outside Europe but trading with the EU through Germany, Switzerland has challenges similar to those facing the UK after Brexit.
For Skyocean, implementing MyCCL (white-labelled MySkyocean) enables the business to expand with a third specialism. Already managing temperature controlled pharmaceuticals and high value shipments (watches and jewellery), the business can now take on eCommerce. Stefan Zangger, MD of Skyocean said, ‘We’ve been developing the interface and testing and we will go live in July. There’s nobody offering eCommerce shipment handling like this in Switzerland. It’s a great complement to our other facilities and services, and we’re expecting it to be a game-changer for Skyocean.’
So today, we’re in Holland and Switzerland. Tomorrow, further afield – the Americas, the Commonwealth and beyond.
Our Future is… Digital
The most successful global players are all technology-based. Information and data management is the future. And nowhere is the need to embrace business process automation more vital than parcels and packages logistics. With eCommerce driving the volume of small consignments ever higher, our industry cries out for digital transformation.
CCL has accepted that challenge, evolving into a technology-focused eCommerce logistics solutions provider for the digital age, founded firmly on those two decades of industry knowledge and expertise.
With MyCCL rolling out to partners, a modularised, mobile version currently under development and CC Collect gaining traction with shippers and customers alike, we have proven ourselves to be adaptable, responsive to a changing world. Our future is in digital, where there are no geographic limitations. Where is yours?