Business challenge

As shipping companies struggled to keep pace with the high volumes of emailed cargo requests and port records, NAVTICON recognized a new opportunity.

Transformation

NAVTICON now offers an AI-backed shipping solution that can pull actionable vessel positioning and cargo data directly from unstructured emails, delivering greater efficiencies.

Results

Saves 1 - 2 hours

each day for the average user by eliminating the need to read every email

Boosts revenue

by helping to find profitable business opportunities that might have been missed

Drives new efficiencies

in filling and routing vessels, leading to lower costs and higher profits

Business challenge story

A tsunami of email

After more than two decades of meeting the unique IT challenges of the Danish shipping industry, Danicon ApS had noticed a reoccurring problem among many of its customers—too much email.

In particular, as ship owners, logistics operators and freight brokers tried to coordinate the transfer of goods from port to port across the globe, they were creating large volumes of email. And unfortunately, practices common to the industry only made this problem worse.

“If a shipper wanted to send a shipment of wheat to India, for example,” explains Alex Rasmussen, Managing Director at Danicon, “they would blind copy that email to 50 different brokering companies, who will all turn around and send the very same information to the same list of vessel operators.”

In turn, shipping companies were forced to hire larger and larger staffs to keep up with these incoming requests as they struggled to fill vessels around the world. “Their strategy had been ‘read everything,’ continues Rasmussen. “But that wasn’t an option anymore. Some smaller departments were receiving as many as 3,000 email messages a day, and they couldn’t keep up even if they spent all day reading.”

This inefficient strategy trended towards less than optimal routing and, ultimately, to increased overall cost. “It quickly becomes very expensive for a vessel to be lying around doing nothing,” adds Rasmussen. “It could cost thousands of dollars per day. And they have to decide if they should leave a vessel in the same region and wait or spend the money sending an empty vessel to a key market route.”

Far too often, many of these decisions were being made with only partial information, and frustratingly, the necessary data was available—but only if users knew in which email to look.

It’s the amount of cargo, the kind of cargo, where it’s going and so on. We can present all of that in a structured way.

—Alex Rasmussen, Chief Technology Officer, NAVTICON

Transformation story

Calming the storm

Recognizing an opportunity, Danicon began developing a new email-mining solution that could analyze the unstructured data contained within these messages, pulling out relevant, actionable details. And to bring this new service to market, Danicon launched a separate business, NAVTICON.

Now, shipping companies can use the NAVTICON service to scan their incoming email messages, extract the relevant data and feed this information into existing ERP systems, notifying users of important content.

“It’s the amount of cargo, the kind of cargo, where it’s going and so on,” explains Rasmussen, who also serves as the Chief Technology Officer at NAVTICON. “We can present all of that in a structured way. For example, let’s say you have a vessel in Durban that you are trying to fill. Now you can look at all of the shipments available and choose which cargo will fit best with your vessel and give you the best profit.”

The IBM® Watson® Knowledge Studio platform serves as the cognitive backbone of the NAVTICON solution, offering an adaptive learning environment that can recognize critical shipping and cargo details. And IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding technology improves the proper identification and categorization of relevant data, allowing the NAVTICON service to better recognize port abbreviations, colloquialisms and other atypical phrasings that might otherwise be overlooked.

“As soon as we saw Watson Natural Language Understanding and Watson Studio,” recalls Rasmussen, “it became very obvious that it was geared towards what we wanted to accomplish. And it was easy to get started on.”

NAVTICON delivers its email scanning solution under a services-based model, relying on IBM Cloud™ to host the actual environment.

As soon as we saw Watson Natural Language Understanding and Watson Studio, it became very obvious that it was geared towards what we wanted to accomplish. And it was easy to get started on.

—Alex Rasmussen, Chief Technology Officer, NAVTICON

Results story

Smooth sailing

With the new service available, both NAVTICON and Danicon can better serve the needs of the shipping industry. Users of the solution have greater visibility into available cargoes and vessels, leading to new efficiencies and higher profits. And this insight, in turn, can enable users to identify business opportunities that they would have previously missed.

“It’s all about finding the best deal,” explains Rasmussen. “Before, they might limit themselves to choosing from one of five known partners, but there could be a cargo in the same port that’s much more valuable. And if they choose that shipment instead, it could change a voyage from being a loss to being profitable.”

Users of the email scanning offering will also be able to cut back on labor investments, shifting those resources to more profitable endeavors. “They don’t have to read those 3,000 messages anymore,” adds Rasmussen. “The average user will save a couple of hours a day reading email, which is a huge deal for these guys.”

Further, by delivering a service-based solution that can feed data directly into legacy shipping systems, NAVTICON allows users to capitalize on their existing IT investments while making better decisions.

“There is no learning curve,” adds Rasmussen. “There are other email scanning systems that require proprietary software, but we work with the customer’s existing ERP systems. They can get the value immediately without buying more software or long training times.”

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About NAVTICON

Founded in 2017, NAVTICON provides AI-backed email scanning services that empower users to make better choices with their business information. With offices in Denmark and Switzerland, the organization caters to the global shipping and logistics market.

About Danicon ApS

IBM Business Partner Danicon was founded in 1997 as a simple IT consulting business. In the past two decades, the company, headquartered in Roskilde, Denmark, has grown into a world-class provider of specialized technology solutions, including cognitive computing, data migration, Java and cloud development and IT security services.

Take the next step

To learn more about the IBM solutions featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following websites:

To learn more about its efficiency-driving solutions and what Danicon can do for you, please visit: Danicon ApS