Onboarding at Simacan - Part 2

Onboarding step-by-step:
Simacan’s onboarding process

Request white paper
Fri | 26 May 2023 | Simacan Solutions

Digital collaboration 
in the transport sector

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Onboarding on a collaboration platform like Simacan’s requires a different approach to implementing an internal IT application for use within just one organisation. Command Centers and logistics Control Towers orchestrate and optimise transport operations across (supply) chains. This means that chain partners need to connect their systems and reach mutual agreements about processes and data. This white paper explains exactly what this entails, and tells you how your company can prepare for a new step in the digitisation process.

2: Simacan’s onboarding process

There are a few steps between choosing a Command Center/Control Tower with SEM and actually using it, and companies must prepare for these thoroughly. They are summarised here.

• Kick-off with stakeholders

The kick-off is a meeting at which all the stakeholders in an onboarding project are represented, both from the client company and from Simacan. The client’s representatives include the project leader, the project owner, the most important users (planners, customer service employees), the IT manager and/or the IT integration specialist. Simacan’s representatives include the sales manager, the customer success manager, a technical onboarding manager and possibly also representatives from general management. The formal transfer from sales to the customer success manager officially takes place at the kick-off.

During the meeting, the objectives, action plan and agreed-upon scope of the project will be discussed. The following questions will be dealt with: Which locations are going to work with Simacan? Which carriers will be participating and which other stakeholders must be included, such as, for example, retail organisations, drivers or end customers? What functionalities are they going to use? What IT connections must be made?

The meeting will also discuss whether the platform will be brought into use in phases, so that the project remains doable and the business benefits are realised as soon as possible.

• Technical onboarding

The technical part of a Simacan implementation also consists of a number of steps. To start with, at least two client-specific Simacan environments are set up: a test environment and a production environment. The aforementioned data connections will then be made (if present) with the planning system, the TMS, the FMS and/or the mobile apps. One important aspect of the technical onboarding is to check whether the data from the planning system is of a high quality. If not, this must be corrected or supplemented before transferral to the Simacan platform. This is an interaction between Simacan’s technical onboarding managers (TOM) and the client’s IT staff.

'My tip for new customers is to tell their IT people to consult our developer portal. Here they can see what is needed for their onboarding process and what API services we offer in this respect. Among other things, information such as what data they will need to supply and the correct format for files can be found here.’

Lester de Meer, senior TOM since 2019

Once the environments and connections have been set up, it will be possible to prepare and set up the client-specific features. For example, a delivery company could choose to receive push services with track & trace information from the Control Tower/Command Center. They could also set up an app or text service to tell consumers when their package will arrive. Another feature is that Simacan users can have data from past delivery drives sent to their Business Intelligence (BI) environment in order to conduct analyses. Other companies may want a chat function for drivers and planners within their Simacan environment, or a sales-billing function. These are all options which can be installed, tested and delivered during the technical onboarding.

• Organisational onboarding

The organisational part of an onboarding programme is to ensure that users work with the platform in the best way. Everyone must understand what it is meant to do and how it works, and to be quite literal about it, the key users play a key role. They act as ambassadors within the organisation and make sure that everyone is connected. They receive training from Simacan (train-the-trainer) so that they can roll out knowledge of the platform in-house. As with any other change trajectory, it is essential that top management is fully committed. The support base for a new platform will be stronger if the top of the organisation clearly communicates why this specific solution has been chosen.

‘My tip for customers is to set up an internal project team with one person as the central point of contact, being an internal project leader. This project leader will interact with internal stakeholders to monitor progress. In fact, experience has shown that integrating our software triggers process changes. When switching across multiple departments is required, confusion can arise in communication. Onboarding goes faster and more smooth when there is one central point of contact.'

Leon Prikken, TOM since February 2022

External chain partners must also be explicitly involved with the organisational onboarding. A retailer who has opted for Simacan will want their logistics service providers and drivers to follow suit, as well as the staff at DCs and shops. If it is the logistics service provider who has opted for the Simacan platform, they will be keen to have their subcontractors (charters) join in. It is therefore necessary that these external parties are informed and instructed. To boost commitment, it can be useful to summarise the benefits this will entail for an external party and to quantify these benefits wherever possible. What will it do for them? Worries about driver privacy and data confidentiality can be assuaged by providing everyone involved with complete and honest information.

‘Every customer is unique’

Rick Riemer heads the Simacan departments responsible for support and technical onboarding. In this role, he has been involved in quite a few projects. In doing so, what struck him as typical challenges? What developments does he observe?

Rick: ‘What I think is fun and challenging about this work is that every onboarding process is different. Every customer is unique. Companies all organise their processes differently, the degree of digitalisation differs and different IT systems are used. Together with the customer, we ensure that the right data are digitally available. Thus making sure a seamless interface can be created with the Simacan platform. This differs per onboarding, some onboarding processes are more complex than others. An important data source is the trip planning that an organisation uses. The quality and format of this trip planning data can differ a lot between onboarding organisations. It feels good when we can help our customers improve the quality of this planning data. With Simacan they can also benefit and improve other business operations.’

Simacan is celebrating its tenth anniversary. What development(s) do you see in terms of onboarding and support?
‘First, our technical onboarding team has grown into a very professional department over the past ten years. Originating from the support department, who did onboarding just as part of their regular support work, the onboarding team has grown into a full-fledged team. And over these ten years, the project approach has been increasingly specialised and optimised. For instance, we do the set up for the drivers’ app of App2Track ourselves now and customers no longer have to turn to another party for this. And personally I find one of the most beneficial trends is the fact that more and more external IT suppliers have started using the OTM5 protocol. This makes connecting different systems a lot easier and allows customers to go live much faster.’

Rick Riemer, Manager Operations @Simacan

- End part 2 -

More information

This 'Onboarding at Simacan' blog is part 2 of a series of 3. This blog series can be requested in its entirety and with additional information as a free white paper.

Go to 'Part 1: Digitalisation across the entire chain' >
Go to 'Part 3: After you go live' >

Request white paper

Request a free demo

Discover the benefits of Simacan by using it. Request a free demo today!