Van Berkel Logistics and Nokavision Deliver Smart Customer Service Order Management Solution

Van Berkel Terminal Logistics

The fragility of global supply chains has been exacerbated in recent years due to increased consumer demand and labor shortages related to COVID-19. From the time a transport order is placed to container collection from the customer to booking with a forwarder to collecting proof of delivery (POD), an incredible amount of coordination is required to ensure goods reach their destination in a timely manner.

Family-owned Van Berkel Logistics is no stranger to these pressures within their industry. Van Berkel Logistics specializes in transporting containers and bulk goods across The Netherlands and Belgium, including perishable products for businesses such as Bavaria Brewing and Friesland Campina. Theirs is a full-service operation, managing everything from the regional legal requirements to security for their customers. “Ultimately, this is all about ensuring that the right goods arrive at the right place at the right time, as safely and efficiently as possible,” says Van Berkel’s Logistics Director, Michel van Dijk.

As customer demands evolve, Van Berkel began reassessing the manual processes throughout their supply chain operations. In 2022, they enlisted partner Nokavision and the Mendix low-code platform to deliver a digital, smart logistics order management system.

The Cost of Paper Processes

Order processing was previously time-consuming for Van Berkel’s customer service employees. Container shipment orders and booking confirmations would be shared via email with PDF attachments, which were then individually opened, reviewed, and entered into their container shipment application, Modality. Reliance on manual data entry not only took time away from other customer service tasks but could also be prone to error.

“Every international company has to deal with irregularities due to the volatile nature of the supply chain,” says Nokavision BD Director, John Peters. “It is important to identify these in a timely manner so that corrective measures can be taken, as downtime leads to high costs, loss, and possibly damage.”

Nokavision has a 25-year history delivering transformative digital solutions for customers. With this expertise, they combined the Mendix low-code platform with the Ephesoft AI data capturing platform to create a total solution package. Peters added, “Logistics is becoming increasingly data-driven. With Ephesoft we offer our customers strong AI data-capturing capabilities, and with Mendix we deliver critical applications, portals, and mobile applications that support our customer’s primary business processes from a single development environment.”

“If a customer of Van Berkel Logistics is looking for better supply chain visibility and requests certain data from shipments, the Mendix platform enables us to create a portal with this specific information. Because Mendix supports API-based data publishing it is even possible to provide the customer with data for their own systems,” he continued.

Taking an agile approach to development, an MVP of the new Customer Service Order Management application, which is integrated with the Ephesoft AI Data Capture platform, was delivered in just 3 months with two Mendix specialists from Nokavision and two employees from Van Berkel Logistics. “We were impressed with the speed and methodical agile approach,” said van Dijk, “As a result the project was completed successfully on time and within budget. With the combined total solution leveraging Mendix and Ephesoft, everything is automated and streamlined.”

Data-Driven Order Management

The Customer Service Order Management application is an end-to-end solution which provides insights into the delivery process from start to finish. The system brings together the previously fragmented information from the shipping forwarders and the existing Modality application into a single user interface.

The integration of Ephesoft’s AI Data Capture platform is critical in ingesting information from the PDF attachments which are sent to the Customer Service team. This information is then automatically transferred to the Mendix application and available to reference, saving hours of manual employee time.

Once the shipping information is centralized in Mendix, it can be routed through various automated approval workflows built in accordance with Van Berkel’s custom business processes. If an order deviates from the standard process or qualifications required, the application will flag it in a dashboard for the Customer Service team to proactively address. The new Nokavision Customer Service Order Management application processes and validates Van Berkel’s internal shipping data along with that of their forwarders and ensures that the information is also reflected correctly in Modality and surfaced as a single, complete order for the customer. 

Better Employee and Customer Outcomes

Today, Van Berkel Logistics can automatically supplement the information associated with each container shipment on a minute-by-minute basis until it is 100% complete and accurate. Improved data quality ensures that errors are identified earlier, and the team has sufficient time to take corrective measures. The operational efficiency provided by Nokavision’s Customer Service Order Management application supports Van Berkel Logistics as they scale their customer base, as they can handle a higher order capacity with the same number of employees.

Automating the end-to-end order management process has delivered benefits which are twofold:

  • Employees can spend more time focusing on making a direct customer impact instead of sifting through disparate documents and systems. “My work as a customer service employee has become more fun and efficient. I can see at a glance which orders have been received and whether forwarders confirm the correct booking details,” said Customer Service Specialist, Stef van Zitteren. “This gives me more time to proactively work with customers on quality improvements, which makes my work more interesting.”
  • Customers are receiving faster and more accurate service, leading to improved satisfaction and higher booking rates. Customer Relations Manager, Jeroen Markus said, “With the new system, we are now able to detect earlier if data has been processed or interpreted incorrectly, which prevents incorrect bookings at shipping companies by our forwarders. Preventing these types of missteps directly impacts our customer satisfaction.”

Van Berkel’s ability to move quickly in response to market needs – through agile work and the speed of low-code development – is ensuring that they deliver on their mission to deliver the right goods safely and efficiently to remain a competitive force within their industry.