The importance of a SSC for shipping agency efficiency

  • 07/01/2020
  • 9 minutes

After all, how can the efficiency of the shipping agency contribute to various foreign trade operations? In what ways does it influence the other parts of import and export processes?

Since this is a topic of great relevance to those who work in the sector, we prepared this article. In order to gain an in-depth view on the subject, we spoke with Alexandre Bielinski, who is the Process & Quality (P&Q) and financial-administrative supervisor at the Wilson Sons, which is present in the main Brazilian ports.

Throughout the article, you’ll understand why WS’s Shared Services Center (SSC) is so important in making the agency even more effective in its activities. Enjoy the content!

What is the Shared Services Center (SSC)? What are its duties?

The Wilson Sons Agency division Shared Services Center (SSC) was established in 2004 and has since gone through countless experiences. “Along our path, we closed deals with many customers and also lost some, of course. In the end, the balance is extremely positive, because it is very rich from the point of view of experiences, learnings and, above all, results,” reports Bielinski.

Summing it up, the SSC performs processes in which it can glimpse opportunities for centralization, such as activities that can be done remotely, simplifying the branch’s process. “Simplification is a ceaseless pursuit for us at the Process & Quality (P&Q) team — one of the key gears in the entire system,” explains the supervisor.

Some of the processes that are generally centralized by other companies and are part of the SSC’s scope are:

  • accounts payable;
  • accounts receivable;
  • billing and treasury.

There are also those that are more business-specific, such as:

  • costing;
  • documentation (bill of lading and such others);
  • relations with authorities.

How does the SSC contribute to the efficiency of the shipping agency?

Some of the biggest benefits that the SSC provides for the Wilson Sons and its list of services are the standardization of processes, the gain in scale in productivity, and the consequent increase in efficiency.

According to Bielinski, these results are achieved through strong collective work, which is supported by important leaders within the organization. “The SSC is also linked to Flavia Carvalho, who is the Operations Manager in Brazil and one of the main responsible people for speeding up our decision making process. Our director, Christian Lachmann, is a very innovative professional and gives us the autonomy to act,” exemplifies him.

When telling about how this centralization is achieved, the supervisor reflects that any and all centralization is the result of a true partnership between the R&D area, the IT Development team, and the branch offices — they provide all the data and information support you need for the study to be conducted and the gains duly measured. Thus, it is feasible to follow the main trends and put initiatives into practice as soon as possible.

It is worth remembering that, besides the massive presence in the main ports of Brazil, the Wilson Sons also acts on behalf of shipowners and charterers, through commercial representation services and assistance to ships.

“In addition to the centralization fronts, we are always doing self-assessments and looking for opportunities to improve our internal process. A great example of this is the Sustainable Costing Project — through process mapping, statistics, technology, and innovation it has been possible to reduce our cost,” says Bielinski.

Still according to him, achieving this goal was possible thanks to the impression of costs, that is, accountability to customers. In this sense, the participation of the WS (Information Technology) team was fundamental. The Communication sector is another essential point for the SSC, because it facilitates the synergy between the areas and favors the exchange of information, providing the necessary agility for the execution of several processes.

“The pursuit of efficiency and cost reduction and of doing more with less is common in our daily lives, after all, we need to pay close attention to all chances of improvement,” reflects the supervisor. Therefore, in such a competitive market, the challenges and the entry of new players serve as motivation to reinvent yourself.

Why count on the Wilson Sons support for your business?

Now that you know how the SSC works to make the Wilson Sons have a high efficiency level, you need to understand how that company can boost its foreign trade business.

Founded in 1837, the WS Agency offers the largest national coverage, as it has 18 branch offices throughout the country. From 1999 onwards, with the aim of strengthening its presence in the international market, the company started to have an office in China and exclusive representatives in Europe. Some of the main functions performed by the company are:

  • equipment logistics;
  • shipping documentation;
  • operational compliance with the scale of ships of regular and non-regular fleets;
  • logistics management of containers;
  • issuing and renewing ship certificates;
  • keeping in contact with port authorities, exporters, importers, brokers, and suppliers;
  • cargo gathering;
  • releasing, exchanging, and registering crew members;
  • crew and commander assistance;
  • demurrage control.

In the oil and gas sector, for example, the company offers dispatch, survey, release, and port authority certification services. In addition, the company works with supplies, spare parts delivery, general coordination, visa issuance, and crew change.

In 2011, the Wilson Sons acquired important experience as International Logistics Operations Coordinator, assisting companies interested in bringing factories and/or parts to Brazil. In the midst of these activities, it took care of the shipment of cargo abroad to the destination. In other words, it coordinated not only the start of the process, but also maritime and land transportation and cargo inspection, among others.

Finally, it is undeniable that the Wilson Sons is one of the main players in the sector in Brazil. That said, the SSC makes a major contribution to the shipping agency’s efficiency gain.

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