India’s new Goods and Services Tax (GST) requires companies to provide electronic waybills when shipping high-value goods across the country. CTIL Cement Division uses IBM Cloud® Integration solutions to automatically register e-waybills with government systems—as well as creating a platform for enterprise-wide integration and traceability.
CTIL Cement Division ships thousands of tons of cement across India every day, and every shipment requires a valid electronic waybill. Managing these e-waybills manually would require significant administrative effort.
CTIL Cement Division and Cateina automated the e-waybill process by enabling the company’s ERP system to communicate directly with government systems, using IBM Cloud Integration solutions.
When the Indian government decided to replace a complex set of national and state taxes, duties and surcharges with a single Goods and Services Tax (GST), it created both a challenge and an opportunity for CTIL Cement Division.
The GST sets new requirements for companies transporting goods between states. As per the GST rules, any shipment of goods moved more than a prescribed number of kilometers across a state border must be registered on government systems with an electronic waybill (e-waybill). The e-waybill allows inspectors to verify that each truck or train is carrying the specified goods, and that the appropriate taxes have been paid.
Users can generate e-waybills in various ways—for example, using the official web portal or mobile app, or by sending an SMS. However, for a company like CTIL Cement Division, which produces and ships around 12 million tons of cement per year, these manual approaches required staff to create, register and manage thousands of e-waybills each week.
As a result, dedicated personnel at each of CTIL Cement Division’s four plants and 192 depots spent almost eight hours per day downloading and uploading batches of spreadsheets for waybill management. Waybill creation was a paper-based workflow involving physical signatures, so each item took around five minutes to process. Compliance processes were manual too, which increased the turnaround time further.
As it looked for a way to streamline waybill processing, CTIL Cement Division also saw an opportunity to improve the integration of its IT landscape in general. The company’s internal systems were linked together by point-to-point interfaces, and it was difficult to exchange data with third parties such as the government, suppliers, dealers and transportation providers.
“Instead of just building another point-to-point solution, we decided to look at the bigger picture,” says Amit Bahl. “By building a central platform, we could not only solve the GST e-waybill challenge, but also make it much easier to add new services in the future.”
To help design and deliver its new e-waybill solution, CTIL Cement Division consulted Cateina Technologies (link resides outside of ibm.com), a specialist in enterprise application integration. The CTIL and Cateina team considered all the requirements carefully and evaluated several possible approaches.
One option was to use the company’s existing SAP ERP environment as a hub for process orchestration and integration. However, the new platform needed to be able to integrate with external services that might not be compatible with SAP, so the team sought a more flexible approach.
Ultimately, they chose IBM Cloud Integration solutions, including IBM App Connect (the next generation of IBM® Integration Bus) for application integration and IBM API Connect® for API lifecycle management. The main advantage of the IBM solution was that it included many pre-built adaptors that would make it easy to interface with a wide range of external systems. The team felt that this would not only help them solve the immediate e-waybill challenge, but also provide a versatile platform for future integration projects over the next three to four years.
The team started the project by using IBM App Connect to create a platform that could act as a central point of integration. Next, the team built a service to connect the solution to the government’s e-waybill system via IBM API Connect.
It was critical to get the project timelines right, because the company had a fixed deadline to comply with the GST requirements. The project team took great care to prioritize the milestones and deliverables to ensure it could meet all the mandatory requirements as early in the project as possible.
Once the team had established the basic functionality, they used an agile, iterative approach to deliver enhancements and new features. This methodology enabled CTIL Cement Divisions to put a viable solution into production within three months.
By delivering the e-waybill solution successfully, CTIL Cement Division expects to see a full return on investment. The company estimates that each of its plants and depots will save eight hours per day by eliminating spreadsheet-based management of waybills, and that turnaround time for the creation of each waybill will be reduced by more than 60 percent, from five minutes to just one or two. These administrative savings will potentially allow the company to redeploy some of its employees into more productive roles.
The platform also gives CTIL Cement Division greater confidence that all its shipments have the correct documentation. The company’s trucks can deliver their cargo without being delayed at checkpoints, and there is no risk of tax inspectors imposing financial penalties due to missing paperwork.
Moreover, the company sees the e-waybill solution as the first step on a larger journey. By using its new integration platform to streamline or eliminate legacy manual processes, it expects to drive further efficiencies and business benefits in the future. Since it is now possible to develop a new service in less than 10 days, it should also be possible to deliver new services quickly and without significant IT investment.
For example, the company plans to integrate RFID scanners into its processes, which will enable it to track individual batches of cement on their journey from plant to truck to depot to dealer. By combining the RFID data with GPS signals from the trucks and the e-waybill information, the company will be able to achieve full end-to-end traceability of its products in near-real time. This could help the company’s 5,800 dealers track exactly where their shipments are, so they can advise their customers on delivery schedules and boost customer satisfaction.
Amit Bahl, CIO at CTIL Cement Division, concludes: “The platform that we have built with IBM Cloud Integration is providing the insight we need to reduce costs by optimizing operations and logistics. By planning more efficient routes and making smarter decisions about transport modes, we will boost efficiency and deliver value to our customers faster and more reliably.”
Century Textiles & Industries Ltd. – Cement Division (link resides outside IBM.com), has three strategically located plants at Raipur in Chhattisgarh, Maihar in Madhya Pradesh and Chandrapur in Maharashtra, and a grinding unit at Murshidabad in West Bengal. The company’s products are marketed as Birla Gold Premium Cement, which has been a renowned brand in the industry for more than four decades.
To learn more about IBM hybrid cloud integration solutions, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit ibm.com/integration
Headquartered in Mumbai, Cateina Technologies enables clients to drive growth by modernizing legacy systems and processes. In addition to its consultancy, project management and support services, the company offers enterprise application integration and blockchain solutions targeted at a range of use cases, including supply chain finance, donation tracking and insurance document exchange.
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