How Twill made shipping simple for Nova Leathers

The shipping industry is complex and at any one time there are hundreds of carriers traversing the seas and in ports, susceptible to a multitude of factors that might cause delays; whether that’s weather or last-minute cargo changes or port issues.

These delays can be particularly difficult for those companies who deal with independent retailers. This was the case earlier this year when UK company, Nova Leathers, experienced delays with their cargo.

Dealing with delays

Rob Pearn at Nova Leathers spoke about issues they faced: “We often deal with independent retailers, as well as chains and department stores, and for them their cargo is crucial and a delay can be costly. It is of course out of many people’s control – especially if its weather related – but there are costs for us too as distributors, as we face late charges which can be a percentage of the order we were delivering or up to £500. Around peak seasons like Christmas and New Year this is costly to businesses.”

Natasha Varley, Senior Customer Care Ninja at Twill, spoke about how Twill handles delayed cargo: “At Twill we understand how difficult delays can be to deal with and plan for. As a protocol we check the ETAs of our customers’ cargo on a daily basis, ensuring that if we find there is going to be a delay we work through our processes to ensure the customer is notified. This is done within two hours and often even quicker. If a delay is urgent we will pick up the phone and give the customer a call.

“Once we’ve worked to notify the customer we’ll start looking at how we can ensure that their cargo still reaches them on the agreed delivery date. This could mean getting the cargo on an earlier route, or on a different route entirely – which may go to a different port. If this is the case, we will then arrange for the cargo to be transported to the customer. We do our upmost to keep additional costs to a minimum during these changes.” concluded Natasha.

Five clicks and I’m done!

Rob Pearn spoke about Nova Leathers’ experience since working with Twill: “Working with Twill has been really beneficial for us. Where I used to have to call somebody to make a booking, I can now do it all myself – and my supplier is notified at the same time.

“All in all booking with Twill can save me up to a week – because if I get a request for a delivery on a Friday evening, I can simply log into the platform and book it there and then. It’s five clicks of a button and I’m done – there’s no need to wait until Monday.

“Along with the ease of using the platform, I’ve been checking it outside of just booking – as the updates in real time have kept me in the loop and allowed me to make sure everything is on schedule. I can see that new features are being added and the platform is changing and growing, which is great for me and my business.” concluded Rob Pearn.

Who are Nova Leathers?

Based in the United Kingdom, Nova Leathers supply quality leather handbags, and different leather goods in the retail industry.

Twill Tips: Part 2 – Overcoming workload challenges

At Twill we understand that our industry is fast-moving and on any given day we are working with a number of customers to move their cargo all around the world. This means we have to manage our workload and time smartly.

In the first of our two-part blog series we asked a group of our Twillers, from various parts of the business around the world, for their experiences, top tips, methods and general advice in managing their workload and time.

This week we asked them about the biggest challenges for their time management and how they overcome them:

Prepare for uncontrollable forces

Barbara Peric, Head of Operations: “My team is based across the world which means, in my case, that I only have a short amount of time with my team in Asia or America each day. Giving them the same time as my colleagues in Europe can be difficult. Forces like these are out of my control but there are little things I can do – we have a team messaging app called Slack that allows me to set up notifications from certain people or on certain topics. This means if something comes through from our other offices outside of work then I’ll only be notified if it’s urgent – so I can be on top of things; but not picking up emails I don’t need to.”

Guadalupe Fernandez, Customer Care: “I’d agree completely that there are things we can’t control. I find it helps to ensure that, when I’m emailing those colleagues in other countries, I’m being robust in including all the information they might need. Even though I might be tempted to quickly fire off an email, in the long-run this will save us both from sending emails back and forth.”

Trust your team

Sanne de Vries, UI Designer: “From a design perspective, working at Twill is distinctly fast paced. It’s hard to describe the speed at which we develop our product unless you experience it for yourself! This presents challenges in terms of making sure no one is overwhelmed. There comes a point when there just aren’t enough hours in a day! So we need to enable others to make design choices independently. As we grow, we constantly try to find ways to make our work more accessible, so that everyone is aligned and can make use of different components, styles, etc.

“It’s important to give your team the tools to make decisions independently and then trust them to do that – it means products and projects can progress if someone is really busy, or is off work.”

Take your time and know your limits

Raju Kariya, Pricing Manager: “In the midst of life and work things can sometimes get lost in translation – sometimes literally! – or they can be unclear. This means you might assume things or rush tasks. I can speak from experience that it’s important to take your time when dealing with each task you have and ensure that if you’re unclear on anything then don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

Jesper Frandsen, Implementation Specialist: “I would add to that by saying that when you ask those questions, be sure to know what your limits are in your role, or with your knowledge of a task. We all want to move our work forward and support our colleagues, but it’s important to know when you need to say no, or when to ask for help as Raju suggests. It’s about quality as well as quantity.”

Remember to recharge

Sanne de Vries, UI Designer: “One of the lessons I have learnt is knowing what not to spend my time on, and reminding myself to unwind. I try to be mindful about how I spend my time when I’m not working, making sure I do something that helps to recharge. There used to be a time where my mind was never switched off; now I’m learning that having that time to relax is essential in order to be fully focused throughout the working day.”

How Twill can help end your lengthy email chains

The era of emails is coming to an end! Well maybe not completely, but there are certainly more innovations and products out there that are aiming to make communication more seamless and far more productive. At Twill, we think if there’s one industry that has perhaps become a little too dependent on emails, it’s almost certainly the transportation industry.

In our industry companies are required to navigate complex supply chains that include a wide variety of stakeholders like ocean carriers, truckers and government agencies; while also attempting to meet the ever-demanding visibility needs of their customers – all through, you guessed it, emails.

If you work in this industry then I’m sure this resonates with you. Either you’re frustrated by the amount of emails you wake up to in the morning, or you’re left flat footed by the lack of information when you need it most. After all, your freight is constantly moving, why should the information stop flowing?

There must be a better way, right? Well that’s where Twill could help you. Our digital freight forwarder aims to solve 4 basic pain points that are responsible for 80% of your unnecessary emails. Could it be that simple? We think so! Let me explain:

Avoid errors and misinformation

The start of a shipment process should be one of the simplest steps. You should be able to send some basic information over to your logistics provider and get a confirmation of receipt the very same day. But that rarely happens. With email being your primary medium, you are bound by office working hours, data input errors, missing information and customer service unresponsiveness that all have one common effect, producing more emails.

24/7 access; with a human touch

Twill allows you to log into a system at any time of the day or night, follow 7 easy steps, and have your booking confirmed to you instantly. Most importantly, during this process, the personal touch that everyone craves remains intact. All customers have a dedicated Customer Service agent or the flexibility of a live chat feature that ensures your every need is met and that you’re never left wanting, least of all by the acknowledgement of an email.

All your documents in one place

Now let’s jump a couple of steps down the chain. Your manufacturer has produced your shipping documents and has sent that over to you. Your job could be as simple as filing them away, but it’s more likely that you’ll have to review them, or worse yet, circulate them further throughout your organization to complete the checks and balances. All the while you’re praying for an error free experience as that would not only generate an abundance of emails but also quickly become an administrative nightmare.

With Twill, your shippers can upload your documents directly onto the platform where users within your organization can review and either approve or request amendments at the click of a button. Better yet, the platform will even store and archive your documents for you indefinitely at no additional cost to you.

A digital tool for a digital era

That is the power of a digital tool in a digital era. I could go further and tell you how Twill solves all your visibility challenges and allows you to have real-time information at your fingertips; or how the platform would alert you proactively when exceptions occur in your supply chain – but all that is just the beginning. What starts with an empty inbox will end with an intuitive user experience that leaves you feeling informed and in control. It’s Twill, shipping made simple.

Work with Twill and you work with the best

It’s been a busy 2018 for Twill so far! We have expanded into a number of different countries, celebrated our first anniversary and announced new product features. It certainly feels like there’s never been a better time to work with Twill and part of what we believe makes our service so strong is our brilliant Customer Care team.

Our Customer Care Ninjas (as we like to call them!) are there to work silently in the background in your (the customer’s) interests – making sure your cargo has a smooth journey, and that the service we provide you is equally pain-free. Recently we ran a series of blogs that gave a glimpse into a Day in the Life of our Customer Care teams – you can read part one and part two on our website.

But what exactly is it that keeps our team ticking? We asked our Head of Operations, Barbara Peric, that very question. Here’s what she had to say:

We’ve got the tools

“A hidden part of making shipping simple for our customers is decreasing some of the internal barriers for our employees. At Twill we have a Customer Care Dashboard, which is the backend to what our customers see. Here we get early visibility on shipments so we can act earlier. We can also get an overview of what our colleagues are working on, so that if there are any unexpected absences we can easily take over from one another.

“As well as this, it’s important to stay in close contact with each other, especially since a lot of our teams work across different countries and continents. We use Slack, an online communication tool which helps us to keep each other up to date and even share a few jokes along the way. Having fun and creating energy is a very important Twill principle!”

We’ve got the team

“Tools help, but it’s the team that makes the difference. At Twill we look to hire solution-oriented movers and shakers, who see the potential in our industry and who want to work differently. Part of this is challenging each other on how we can better utilise our talents across the world. If there is a capacity shortage in China, for example, our team members in Indonesia and Vietnam are always here to help!

“As a customer care team, we also have a direct line to our tech team to help on any urgent problems, day or night, regardless of time zone. This effective collaboration across teams helps us address our customers’ needs quickly and without internal red tape.”

We’ve got the attitude

“Customer satisfaction and retention is the name of the game at Twill; customer care and visibility is how we play. It doesn’t get simpler than that!

“We gather feedback directly from our customers by tracking how often they book and giving them a call if they need support with their next booking. But the feedback doesn’t just stay with us. We pass it on to our product team and designers and they figure out how to continuously improve Twill based on this feedback. In this way, your customer input gets spread throughout the entire Twill organization.

“Of course you don’t have to take my word for it! Reach out to us today and speak to one of our Customer Care Ninjas to find out how we can make shipping simple for you!”

Twill Tips – Managing your time and workload

At Twill we understand that our industry is fast-moving and on any given day we are working with a number of customers to move their cargo all around the world. We are lucky at Twill to have a dedicated and insightful team that is always looking to support and help each other – but there are still times when we have to manage our own time or processes so that we don’t feel overloaded.

In the first of two blogs we asked a group of our Twillers, from various parts of the business around the world, for their experiences, top tips, methods and general advice in managing their workload and time; that helps them stay on top and meet their goals, short term and long term.

We hope some of these tips might help you in managing your own workload:

Manage your emails and utilise the tools you have

Jesper Frandsen, Implementation Specialist: I usually manage all my tasks within Microsoft Outlook. It is full of great tools for you to structure your work and maintain an overview of all the things you’re juggling – both work and private.

Barbara Peric, Head of Operations: I agree completely, I like to colour-code my calendar with categories like ‘stakeholder meeting’, ‘reminder’ or ‘development’ – so that at a glance I can see the theme of my week. If something I wasn’t expecting comes in, it means I can quickly see the flexibility of my week.

JF: The biggest time killer and stress factor for many people is emails in their inbox. I would really recommend people explore and utilise the tools that programmes like Outlook or Gmail provide to structure your emails and ensure you’re not overloaded.

BP: My inbox has a maximum of 25-30 emails at any given time and these are kept to ‘work in progress’ items. Anything else is categorised in other folders so I don’t get distracted by items that don’t need my immediate attention.

Communicate and give yourself time to work

Sanne de Vries, UI Designer: We only have five people on our product team and divide our resources between two development teams – so it’s important for us to keep our communication channels wide open. In some situations face-to-face communication is vital, so if you’re not sitting with/near the people you tend to talk to daily for work, see if you can change that.

BP: When I’m in the office I tend to do something similar to Sanne and prioritise interaction with my team and colleagues whenever I can, over emails or analytics. I get a lot of information from verbal interactions – which keeps my emails down and also is generally much quicker.

SdV: As well as this in-person interaction it’s equally important to know when to withdraw and have time to focus. At Twill, we work in a dynamic environment where something’s always happening. It’s great to be engaged, but sometimes I need to put on my headphones and get stuff done. It’s important that people respect a person’s need for quiet time.

Plan ahead and prioritise

Raju Kariya, Pricing Manager: I will always make sure I take time at the end of my week to plan my meetings for the following week. Planning my calendar like this is really helpful. I also estimate and block out time for my tasks (not just meetings) whenever I can; being sure to keep some buffer time to accommodate any surprises!

Guadalupe Fernandez, Customer Care: Planning ahead also means prioritising. In the Customer Care team in particular we work in different time zones so I only have a small window to talk to my colleagues in Asia, for example. I might also have a customer who wants to amend a delivery they have planned that day. It’s important that I understand what needs to be done and action those things first.

When you’re really busy you want to do everything at once but that will never be possible, so make sure you prioritise your workload and work through your tasks.

SdV: Old school pen and paper is essential to my process. It really helps me visualise my workload and then prioritise. For my birthday recently my team got me a stack of seven different notebooks – so I guess they know me well!

JF: Everyone has their own method of recording or prioritising – what’s important is knowing which works for you, even if it’s a little different. I personally prefer to use emails – sending myself little notes or pictures if I have an idea in the night, or if I’m in a meeting and know I have to action something later on. Having my inbox structured means these little notes don’t get lost amongst other emails.

Keep an eye out for the second part of this blog soon – where our Twillers will be discussing challenges they’ve faced with their workloads and how they overcame them!

A Day in the Life of the Twill Sales Team

At Twill we want to show you how we work on a day to day basis – and our Day in the Life blog series was started with this in mind. We’ve already seen blogs from our Import and Export customer care teams and now it’s the turn of our sales team!

A day in the life of a sales person in Twill is never identical – every day is different to the last – but we asked Mariló Valero, Business Development Manager at Twill based in Spain, to give us an insight into what an average day might look like for her:

8:00am – Getting started

“The life of a sales executive isn’t for those who enjoy routine; as every day is unique. However if you enjoy a diverse job then it’s perfect! I always start the day right at 8am with a cup of coffee – the coffee at Twill is pretty great!

“My first scheduled meeting usually starts around 9:30 am or 10:00 am, so if driving distance is not too long, then I have some time to check my emails – especially those from my colleagues based in Asia which we receive overnight or very early in the morning, Spanish time. After catching up on my messages I check my route for the day and start the trip.”

10:00 am to 14:00 pm – Meetings with customers

“The bulk of my day is dedicated to meeting with potential new customers – and this is where the diversity of my job comes in, because of course every customer is different and has their own needs which we have to do our best to meet.

“A standard meeting with a new customer starts with the usual greetings and conversations. These are just as important as anything else in my meeting, as they create the right atmosphere and are that first impression that the customer will have of Twill. I then ask the customer what are the main pain points they face in their daily work related to freight forwarding. The usual answers include lack of visibility and accurate information about arrival dates, too much paperwork, too many contact people in different departments involved, etc.

“This is when Twill’s four value propositions come into place! After a short explanation I always find the most effective way to sell Twill is simply to show them the demo and leave them to explore it for a while – hands on! Ideally, before we meet a customer, we will create a profile for them and upload rates so that if we’re lucky enough and the customer wants to start a new booking right on the spot – we can do it. This of course depends on a number of factors – a competitive rate, the customer having some cargo ready at origin etc.

If we aren’t able to do anything on the day then I always try to leave with the customer willing to try Twill as soon as possible and take note of what’s needed to get them on board on a permanent basis. I’ll then follow up with them in the future – because as sales people, we need to be persistent and keep the momentum!”

15:00pm to 16:00pm – Weekly sales reviews

“After an hour’s lunch, I am ready to share (via Skype) any relevant issue with my sales colleagues in Spain. We learn a lot from each other, and we all try to be driven by best practice across the North, Centre and South of Spain. It is important to share success, and we do!

“On a weekly basis, we are provided with a summary of new Twill customers, number of bookings and number of new or existing accounts. We then review our retention ratios and why some have not booked in Twill for a number of weeks. The reasons are different in each case: sometimes we are not price competitive at this moment, there is a new feature required and not yet available in the platform, or simply they are not having shipments.

“If Product involvement is needed regarding new features, the issue is raised with Twill’s Head of Growth and there is always a permanent dialogue among departments to check feasibility and see that if we can make improvements then we will.”

16:00pm to 18:00pm – Processing information gathered, sending rate or credit requests and scheduling new visits

“As I come towards the end of my day I will make sure all my visits have been logged in our CRM system, as well as new opportunities identified during the meetings. I also use this system to follow progress of existing opportunities, pushing them forward to the next status. The statuses we use range from: Identify – Qualify – Present Value Proposition – Negotiate Terms – Close Won or Lost (hopefully won!)

“Some customers work with credit days for payments so that needs to be properly channeled to our Finance department. As well as this, if any ad hoc rate is required then our Procurement department has to be informed and provided with targets and volumes.

“I need to make phone calls to schedule meetings for the coming days, gathering info whenever possible to fill out the Twill onboarding form so that profiles are created by our Customer Care team before the meetings. And last but not least, it is important to end the day knowing what your agenda is for the next day, in terms of visits, so I take a moment to have a quick final overview before I head home!”

Pre-book your shipment with Twill

Here at Twill we’re constantly striving to build a better platform and we’re proud to announce that from this month our customers will be able to utilise our new pre-book feature.

As part of our continuous work to develop Twill’s functionality, we always use your customer feedback and you may have even seen our CEO Troel’s recent blog post about this very subject! We’re delighted that our new pre-booking feature is a product of this customer collaboration. We spoke to our Head of Product, Daisy Zhang, all about it:

How does it work?

“The idea behind the feature is that you, our customer, can place a booking in advance, any time. So if you’re super-organised and have your shipping order ready 4-8 weeks before your sailing date, you can go into the Twill platform and place your booking – there’s no need to wait until the price becomes available, which currently relies heavily on carriers in the freight forwarding business.

“Once the price is available you will receive a notification to ask you to go onto the platform to approve (or cancel!) your booking. Nothing is binding until that moment.”

The benefits

“In traditional freight forwarding, a booking will never proceed until prices are released and the quotation is agreed. The benefit of our pre-booking feature is that you can place your booking sooner. It also takes the pressure off having to remember to keep checking back to see if the price is available.

“And even with this level of convenience, Twill doesn’t inflate its prices. Our customers will always get the most competitive quote.”

Solving the space issue

“Another huge benefit of pre-booking is that in peak season, lack of space can be a huge issue. But if we know what’s coming from our customers well in advance, we can provide a better prediction to our carriers of how much volume they can expect. As a result, we can secure your space as early as possible.

“If you’re already providing a forecast to us via email, it’s a huge time saver for you since you can reduce two steps (forecasting and booking) into just one.”

Where will the future take us?

“The possibilities for new features on Twill are endless – pre-booking functionality could lead us to develop a way for there to be an indication of price when you pre-book. We’re not there yet, but our constant evolution means that we are agile in our approach to development.

“And as has always been Twill’s approach, we will be guided by our customers.”

Why not pre-book your shipment today?

Collaborating with customers to build a better platform

At Twill we believe in staying true to a mantra of agile working and improving on our product, based on what we learn from our customers as well as living our leadership principle of ‘doing a few things really well’. In that spirit it is critical to assess what we have built in our platform, how it is helping our customers, and how we are bringing their suggestions and comments into its development and improvement.

We can do this daily by simply looking at how much the features of our platform are being used; but when we want to get a more detailed or nuanced opinion, we talk to our customers directly.

I want to use this blog to share the value our customers have seen from using Twill as their digital freight forwarder:

Track & Trace – Including ‘Cargo Ready Date’ transparency

The tracking and tracing of your freight might seem like a simple feature – and something everybody must excel in in 2018 – but it’s not quite that simple! We work very hard on ensuring that we always show accurate track and trace information to our customers, with a focus on ensuring correct information on when cargo is delivered. This is appreciated by our customers because it gives them peace of mind and the ability to focus on servicing (and informing) their customers.

All documents and invoices in one tool – centralised paperwork

When we started Twill, every customer we spoke to mentioned that document handling is a nightmare. It is cumbersome and error-prone.

We have designed a simple solution for ensuring that documents are uploaded in time, time-stamped and stored even after the shipment is complete. It’s a simple solution for a big problem – and something our customers give us really good feedback on. Document handling is a big topic in our industry, and with the input from our customers, we see great potential for creating really simple-to-use and innovative solutions for the future. One step at the time.

Large volume management

Another feature that our customers have told us is adding great value is being able to manage a large number of shipments on the Twill platform. This includes (but is not limited to) having the ability to select which suppliers can make bookings on your behalf, sort your shipments on parameters such as supplier, trade-lane and arrival date, plus a simple overview of a large number of shipments.

To be perfectly honest, we didn’t originally design this feature considering the need to handle a large number of shipments. However, we learned that it was being used more and more and we started getting good improvement feedback on this feature. So we spent a bit more energy on developing an overview and it has now grown into something customers with larger volumes say is really useful. That’s a great example of something we are really happy to learn, but also something we feel we can still make even better for our customers.

Our customers matter

There is nothing better than getting customer feedback on Twill – both praise and improvement areas. We have spent a lot of time and thinking on developing the platform to get what you see today, and having our customers taking time to tell us how we can make it even better is quite unique.

So we encourage all Twill users to always give us feedback. Your feedback can really make the difference – and sometimes even make our day!

Building trust with a digital platform, driven by real people

It is clear to us at Twill that in today’s world of online shopping, online banking, online socializing, and online everything, a digital platform is a requirement in most industries across the world – as people continue to spend more time than ever online.

While it had a reputation for being a slow starter in the digital space, the shipping industry is really starting to embrace digital technologies more and more – which is why we’re here! Other industries from travel to logistics are joining in embracing technology too.

But with all this technology there comes a question of trust – and trust in technology, big or small, is set to be the next battle that companies and society have to face.

A digital platform isn’t enough on its own

At Twill, we are constantly improving and adjusting our online platform to better suit our customers’ needs and expectations – but that’s just the start of our work. With a good digital platform customers can book and track their valuable cargo with ease, no matter the time of day.  But we understand that on its own, a good platform isn’t enough.

In order to build trust, those buttons you click on a website need to be backed up with real life experience; real life people who know what to do to get your cargo delivered. Unlike many of our competitors, at Twill we’re not only a group of developers writing code (although we’re that too!) – we’re also shipping and freight forwarding experts.

We’ve been in the industry for over a century, if you look back at our history as A.P Moller Maersk. Just in our management team alone, we have over 30 years of experience in the shipping and freight forwarding industry…and with an average age of 35, you can say it’s in our DNA. Having this substance of experience, as well as a simple, slick and easy-to-use platform is important to us.

Trust in your provider should be a priority

An online platform is only as trustworthy as the people behind the scenes and customers understand this. At Twill, you’re not dependent on the fancy buttons that you can see on our platform, you’re dependent on Cathy from the USA or Marco from Mexico.

Just like the rest of our customer care team members, they come from the freight forwarding industry and have been dealing with cargo like yours well before online platforms made an appearance in our industry.

In the online world, it’s not always the case that what you see is what you get – but with your cargo, and your business, it’s imperative that you find a freight forwarding partner that you can trust. In Twill, it doesn’t matter what happens in the online world, you can rest assured that behind every URL and every piece of code lies a freight forwarding expert, ready to assist you.

The origin process: ensuring safe passage for your cargo

At Twill, we want to provide our customers with the best service possible – minimising their costs, risk and creating a hassle-free environment for them to move their cargo around the world. Doing this is never more important than at ‘origin’. The early stages of a journey are driven by a number of important processes that are crucial to ensuring a cargo’s safe passage and our customers’ peace of mind.

We spoke to Huyen Nguyen, an Export Customer Care Ninja at Twill’s office in Vietnam, about what the origin process entails. She describes what the potential risks are and how we manage them at Twill.

Understanding the process

“The process at origin depends on the International Commercial Terms, or Incoterms, agreed between the supplier and buyer – this can vary and affects the liability we have in the cargo’s journey. One of the most common terms we see is ‘Free on Board’ (FOB). Using this as an example, the process begins when either the buyer or the supplier log into the Twill platform and place a booking. Depending on who initiated the booking, the other party then confirms the booking – indicating both are in agreement of what is expected.

“Once things have been confirmed, both parties will receive confirmation that includes details about the vessel, voyage, estimated time of departure at the port of loading (ETD), estimated time of arrival at the port of discharge (ETA), and other necessary information. For the buyer, this means they can plan for the arrival of their goods and start tracking the journey on Twill. Next, it’s important to get all the necessary shipping instructions uploaded, loading the container and getting it cleared through customs. Most of this is handled by the supplier, but we will stay informed of any changes and keep the buyer notified.

“Once the container has been loaded and the vessel has departed, the supplier’s liability ends under FOB incoterm.  Therefore, it’s important that we make sure everything is loaded correctly and that all parties are made aware of any changes in the schedule.

“Finally, we will review the Bill of Lading (BL) which is a crucial document that allows the release of the cargo to the consignee – so it’s also important that the BL is accurate. Besides the BL, there are customs documents such as the commercial invoice and packing list that are necessary for the import procedure.”

What are the risks and how do we avoid them?

“There are a number of things that could go wrong when preparing cargo to be exported. Here are some of the typical problems that can occur to any supplier, anywhere:

  • Space shortage – With all the mega cargo vessels and cargo liners it’s hard to imagine a space shortage when trying to secure a little 20-foot container. But it has happened and it will happen again – it is important for our customers to anticipate busy periods such as Christmas or New Year.
  • Container rolling – There are a number of reasons why your container may not be loaded on board a vessel as planned. Some of these are out of your control like a carrier’s capacity issue. Other reasons can include a delivery truck breaking down and your container is late at the port of loading, or your carrier didn’t clear customs by the carrier’s deadline.
  • Ad-hoc costs – Aside from the local charges that are applied to every shipment there are additional costs in the export process that suppliers should be very careful of, such as detention and demurrage, amendments to the customs declaration, penalties for lateness or other amendments. These costs could run into the thousands which is why getting the origin process right is so important.

How do we avoid these risks?

“At Twill, we do a number of things to mitigate and avoid these risks for our customers. We have years of experience in the freight forwarding industry. We have the advantage of that knowledge and expertise, and can often resolve many issues before they reach the customer. Additionally, we actively cooperate with the supplier to closely monitor progress through our 7 key milestones. The Twill platform is constantly evolving and updating to ensure a more and more seamless experience and an all-in-one portal for our customers.

“The origin process is intricate and attention to detail is key. One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to make sure you place your booking in advance – at least five days before the ‘Goods Ready Date’. This should be easy with a good forecast and it gives us time to do the best job we can for you. Beyond that, just remember we’re here to help and don’t hesitate to contact us for any issue, query, or input you may have during the process! If you’ve never booked with us before then get in touch and we’ll show you how we can make the whole process smoother!”