First Technology-Focused Freight Forwarder network Launched

Centrolene Allows Members to Plug In and Power Up Their Businesses

October 22, 2015

LLL

With the recent launch of the Centrolene Network, freight forwarders have access to two things they need to win more businesses—strong partnerships and powerful technology.

The Centrolene Network is the world’s first freight forwarder organization built around a common technology platform, the Centrolene C-Suite. Centrolene uses this technology to redefine the old forwarder networking model and bring it into the digital age.

The Centrolene Network changes the way forwarders operate by giving them a complete technology ecosystem that lets them outperform their competition, according to Alex Ruf, the company’s CEO.

“By deploying the C-Suite across the Centrolene Network, each member effectively transforms itself from a local player to a global one,” he explained. “Our members have the ability to offer a level of service and visibility that outperforms larger industry players and puts them in front of their local competition.”

A key benefit of the C-Suite is the ease with which this new technology can be integrated into the forwarder’s business. “C-Suite eliminates the problem of getting software from different companies to work together, saving the forwarder both time and money,” Ruf said.

Until the development of the C-Suite, freight forwarders have relied on multiple applications by different software developers in order to meet their technology needs. Trying to get software from multiple companies to work together is an expensive and time consuming task for forwarders.

The C-Suite delivers all the technology requirements in one cloud-based ecosystem for freight forwarders.

The C-Suite includes C-Tower, an end-to-end visibility and analytical tool, providing the forwarder’s customers access alerts, analytics, and reports; C-Link, a communication platform for managing relationships with agents; C-Quest, a customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for the freight forwarding industry; C-Quote, a pricing tool that streamlines and automates the work of seeking and analyzing prices; C-Bridge, a feature which connects data from a company’s legacy systems with C-Tower and C-Quest; and, coming soon, C-Contract, to manage contracts, rates, and agreements with carriers.

Centrolene Network has established a service center in Cebu in the Philippines. Members can choose to have Centrolene’s service center provide back office support to help them save on the costs of documentation processing.

Beginning in 2016, Centrolene Network members will also have access to Centrolene insurance and claims management and payment services.

Forwarders ‘need smarter ways to compete’

Freight agents and logistics managers should concentrate on supply-chain efficiency, not spot rate management, claims technology CEO

October 23, 2015 by Mike King

LLL

Forwarders and logistics managers are spending too much time managing ocean freight spot rates and should instead look to make supply chains more efficient, according to the CEO of one leading freight and logistics technology provider.

Alex Ruf, CEO of Centrolene Solutions, which provides IT-based freight networking services – and the technology platform for the freight forwarder network Centrolene Network – said that forwarders had little influence on the stability of rates because carriers continued to put more capacity into a slow-growing market, a combination that would inevitably cause fluctuations until supply and demand became more evenly attuned.

The result, he warned, was that forwarders were spending “too much energy playing the ‘rates up, rates down’ game” rather than looking for better ways to optimise supply chains. “Forwarders need to look for smarter ways to compete and provide a better quality of service, rather than relying on rates which they cannot control,” he said.

“By embracing technology, forwarders can offer a higher standard of service that will help their customers optimise their supply chains. The industry as a whole will benefit if technology is used to create an electronic paperless and optimized workflow.”

He said automation would save a significant amount of time and money for everyone, although it was unlikely to have an impact on the fluctuating spot market. Ruf also forecast that rates would continue to fluctuate in the medium to long-term.

“Looking at the order books of the carrier industry, it is hard to see when the bearish spot rates will come to an end,” he said. “And the delivery of huge new vessels will only add to the problem of overcapacity.”

Centrolene is one of a number of companies now offering IT-based supply chain solutions designed to enable forwarders to expand operations and reduce costs. Its recently launched membership-based organisation of forwarders, Centrolene Network, uses technology to give local or regional forwarders a global network, according to Ruf.

He said the company’s ‘C-Suite’ portfolio was designed to manage rates surges, fluctuations, and exceptions that were inherent in managing a modern supply chain. “It is the world’s first and only fully integrated technology solution for the logistics industry,” he claimed.

S’pore firm develops IT solution for forwarders

Centrolene clients use its C-Suite to transform themselves from local to global players

October 5, 2015 by Amit Roy Choudhury

theBusinessTimes

THE freight forwarding business is a very important part of the logistics and supply chain industry. With Singapore’s position as an entrepot, freight forwarders play an important economic role here.

The industry is facing more competition, new regulations and customer demands. As a result, freight forwarders are increasingly relying on information technology (IT) to remain competitive.

Alex Ruf, CEO of Centrolene, notes that not only do freight forwarders have to compete with other forwarders in their country, they also have to compete with large multinationals trying to poach their best customers. Centrolene provides technology solutions to the logistics industry.

The company was established in Singapore in 2014. Its founders are based in both Singapore and Germany. With its headquarters in Singapore, the company has established a service centre in Cebu, Philippines. The company also has offices in Frankfurt and Mumbai, and will soon open an office in the United States.

“Currently, we have 15 people supporting the business directly but if you include our affiliate, we have another 100 supporting the network,” Mr Ruf adds.

He notes that in order to win and keep business, forwarders need two things – a technological edge and quality partners around the world. “That is what the Centrolene Network offers them. Our aim is to build a global network of forwarders all connected with a common technology platform – the Centrolene C-Suite.

“Members of the Centrolene network use the C-Suite to transform themselves from local players into global players with the ability to offer services that outperform larger industry players.”

Centrolene Network is built around a common technology platform – the Centrolene C-Suite. It was launched last month. Mr Ruf adds that the goal is to have 2,000 members by 2020.

“Interestingly, whilst we expected our early adopters to be the more developed trading economies like the US and Europe, the demand for our new technology is now coming from Africa, Latin America and Asia as well,” he adds.

“What makes Centrolene Network different from every other forwarder organisation is our commitment to technology. We use technology to bring the forwarder networking model into the digital age,” Mr Ruf says.

“Singapore is a natural choice of location for the headquarters of Centrolene. The city is one of the world’s great centres of trade and has numerous skilled and talented people working in the logistics and supply chain management industry. Add to that the business-friendly regulatory environment and competitive tax rates, and Singapore is an attractive place for any new venture,” he says.

Mr Ruf adds that until the development of the C-Suite, freight forwarders had relied on multiple applications by different software developers in order to meet their technology needs.

Trying to get software from multiple companies to work together is an expensive and time-consuming task for forwarders. The price of the software and the integration can cost a forwarder tens of thousands of dollars, he adds.

“The C-Suite solves this problem for forwarders as it delivers all the technology requirements in one seamless ecosystem for freight forwarders.

“More importantly, our customer solution and CRM (customer relationship management) modules are about generating new revenue and securing existing business. So, not only will they benefit from savings in set up costs and implementation time, they will also be able to grow their business exponentially if they use the network and technology effectively. And because of the added transparency in transactions, there will also be improvements in business margins.”

He adds that many solutions offered by freight forwarders to shippers today are based on shipment levels. Centrolene’s solution provides “full transparency including visibility and alerts on global inventory, production lead times and raw material supply times.

Giving an example, he says that one common practice in modern supply chain management is “just in time” inventory management. “So if a shipment is delayed, the C-Suite can alert the forwarder and their customer as well as providing options to re-route a shipment or to take other action, such as sourcing from another supplier to ensure any impact on the supply chain is eliminated or minimised.”

Mr Ruf adds that much of the software used by the logistics industry professionals is adapted from other industries, and “never really quite meets the needs of our industry”. Logistics companies have spent millions trying to adapt software to make it fit their requirements and to get it integrated with their other software, he adds.

“The C-Suite was developed by four experienced industry professionals who understand exactly what forwarder need to compete and win more business. It gives business owners and managers the analytical tools they need to understand how their business is performing, address issues and tap opportunities in a timely manner to grow their business,” he adds.

“At Centrolene, we have the experience in supply chain management and we have worked with many shippers on the improving workflow. We also understand what shippers need on top of the ERP (enterprise resource planning) to manage their business from a supply chain perspective,” Mr Ruf says.

Centrolene to launch new forwarder technology, network platform

The Singapore-based IT provider’s platform is aimed at mid-market forwarders who need modern IT applications and global partner connectivity to compete with major global forwarders.

September 16, 2015 By Eric Johnson
American Shipper (Custom)

Freight forwarders have been forced to lean heavily on two cornerstones as their shipper customers’ supply chains have stretched farther across the globe: technology and agent networks.

The problem is that many mid-sized forwarders lack the IT expertise to provide competitive technology-based solutions, and others struggle with the legwork required to set up trusted partners across the world.

There are, of course, myriad IT solutions that forwarders can use to make their back office functions or rate and contract management more efficient. And there are forwarder partner networks that allow mid-market companies to quickly tap into a vetted array of partners in their chosen market.

But Centrolene, a Singapore-based startup, is aiming to bridge those two cornerstones through a single platform. The company’s network, set to launch Thursday, is a fee-based platform that concurrently provides users with modern internal and customer-facing solutions, as well as access to a network of like-minded forwarders in different countries.

Centrolene’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Alex Ruf said the goal of the company is to have 2,000 forwarders on its network by 2020. There are currently 80 signed up prior to the launch, with another 110 in the final vetting stages.

Ruf came upon the idea for the enterprise during a career that has spanned 12 years in various roles with the U.S.-based forwarder BDP International, and prior to that, running his own mid-sized forwarder.
“I started thinking, what does a mid-size freight forwarder need to manage their business, to compete with the big guys?” he told American Shipper in an interview.

The essence of Centrolene is marrying modern applications with a partner network that can help those companies offer service breadth and depth that resembles what they’d get from a larger forwarder. The name, incidentally, refers to the South American glass frog, who’s organs are visible through its translucent skin. The connection is that Ruf envisions Centrolene being a transparent provider of technology and hub for forwarders to connect.
The connection part, according to Ruf, is especially resource-consuming.

“If you’re a freight forwarder in the U.S., let’s say you need to connect to 20 key markets,” he said. “You’d have to establish this, and that’s hard work, but now we are the hub.”

Centrolene’s platform will provide communication solutions that enable forwarders to connect their offices with those of partner offices. A separate application allows discussions, whether by chat or email, to be automatically attached to the shipment to which those discussions pertain.

“You don’t only have an exception code, but also what has been talked about in the shipment,” said Ruf.

Those applications are part of what Centrolene is dubbing its C-Suite. Other applications include C-Tower, a configurable visibility tool that forwarders can tweak based on the needs of specific customers. Some customers, for example, may only need to see transportation milestones, while others may want to integrate alerts from their enterprise resource planning system around order placement or raw material procurement.

“Each shipper is different and forwarders need to have an answer to each shipper,” Ruf said.

The data generated by the system is also intended to help forwarders run their business better, similar to tools provided by contract and rate management software providers like Catapult International, CargoSphere, and Info-X.
Along with a customer relationship management application, data from applications with the C-Suite can be scrutinized to determine whether, for example, a markup strategy is working for a particular customer, or whether sales staff are spending too much time chasing requests for quotes from customers that never actually book.

Interestingly, the platform can also help forwarders parse transactional customers from more strategic ones. During the procurement process, as a shipper requests a rate, the system will examine the shipper based on characteristic thresholds pre-configured by the forwarder. The system may suggest the forwarder quote a small, occasional shipper according to the contract in the system. But a quote request from a bigger shipper could trigger an alert that for the forwarder to manage that relationship.

Ruf said forwarders already in the network account for an estimated 30 countries, and there won’t be exclusive rights for one partner per country.

“Different agents have different strengths,” he said. “Some have strengths in different verticals, or in procurement of different modes.”

Another application, C-Link, allows users to, as Ruf put it, “design your own network within the network.”

Pricing for the Centrolene system is based on monthly fees, depending on the number of modules and services a forwarder wants to use, its geographic location, and the number of offices using the platform. There’s also a monthly membership fee – to access the network – that cuts the cost of the software applications. User fees for applications rise on a per-month basis for lower membership levels.

The goal, Ruf said, is to present affordable, easy-to-integrate options that forwarders can layer on top of existing legacy systems if necessary. C-Line is included with membership and is designed to allow forwarders to avoid rekeying information to its network of partners.

Technology-based forwarder network kicks of

September 25, 2015
ITJ (Custom)

 

The Centrolene network is the first freight forwarder organization to be built around a common technology platform – the Centrolene C-Suite. The technology is designed to take the common forwarder networking model into the digital age.

CEO Alex Ruf said the Centrolene network changes the way forwarders operate by giving them a complete ecosystem of technology. A key benefit of the C-Suite is the ease with which this new technology can be integrated into the forwarder’s business. Forwarders no longer require multiple applications from different software developers in order to meet their technology needs, and trying to get software from multiple companies to work together is an expensive and time consuming task for forwarders.

Service Center Centrolene Network has established its own service centre in Cebu (Philippines). Moreover, Centrolene network members will be able to enjoy the financial protection of the network’s own guarantee fund.

Centrolene launches forwarder network

September 21, 2015 by Linda Ball
Air Cargo World (Custom)

 

Centrolene Network, a membership-based organization, has introduced its network, allowing freight forwarders to go from being local to global. The network is built around a technology platform called the Centrolene C-Suite, which includes the C-Tower which allows forwarder’s customers to access alerts, analytics and reports they need to manage their supply chains; the C-Link, a tool to communicate with agents and other Centrolene network members; C-Quest, a customer relationship management solution designed specifically for forwarders; C-Quote, a pricing tool that streamlines the work of seeking and analyzing prices; C-Bridge, which connects existing data from a company’s legacy system with C-Tower and C-Quest; and C-Contract, a way to manage contracts, rates and agreements with carriers.

CEO Alex Ruf said the Centrolene Network gives forwarders a complete ecosystem of technology that allows them to outperform their competition. “A key benefit of the C-Suite is the ease with which this new technology can be integrated into the forwarder’s business. C-Suite eliminates the problem of getting software from different companies to work together, saving the forwarder both time and money,” Ruf said.

C-Suite is a cloud-based system using the platform and infrastructure provided by Microsoft Azure. Azure has industry leading security measures and privacy policies which have been independently verified. Centrolene has offices in Singapore, Germany, India and the Philippines, with plans to open an office in the United States, soon.

综合软件强化物流运作与供应链管理

September 17, 2015
zb_logo_sg (Custom)

 

随着通讯技术的快速发展,近年来物流运作与供应链行业格 局发生积极变化。代理网络公司Centrolene Network的创办人兼总裁亚力克斯如虎(Alex Ruf) 就看准了商机,在我国设立了全球一家以技术为主导的代理网络公司。

亚力克斯说:”在以前,代理网络公司需要从各个公司购买多种软件,例如企业资源规划(enterprise resource planning software,简称ERP )以及客户关系管理 (customer relationship management,简称CRM )软件,整个过程十分麻烦。因此,市场需要一套可以结合所有软件的合软件。这就是我要创立Centrolene Network的原因。”

亚力克斯表示,物流运作与供应链管理需要与时并进,与世界接轨。他也一再强调有效的物流运作与供应链管理的重要性。

他说:”优质的物流运作与供应链管理系统可以每时每刻根据市场和公司需求作出调整,供应链危机管理(Supply Chain Crisis Management )是保障供应链正常运行的重要措施之一。”

亚力克斯在大学的时候便开始创业,修读经济的他最终并没有就职于任何经济相关领域的工作。在大学毕业后,到一间医药贸易公司工作了一段时间。后来辞职,转而到百运达国际货运代理有限公司(BDP International ) 工作。

亚力克斯表示,他在百运达国际货运代理有限公司不仅累计了许多工作经验,也建立了能够帮助他创立Centrolene的人脉。

当问起为什么在我国创立Centrolene Network 时,亚力克斯笑着说:”我一直都很喜欢新加坡,而且新加坡也是引领全球的物流中心,所以决定在这里创立Centrolene。”

他认为,新加坡位于东南亚的中心,拥有优质的地理位置,是连接海上航线的重要交通枢纽。除此之外,新加坡也具备一流的基础设施,以及链接全球市场的能力,许多行业的主要制造商都倾向在这里设立区域总部。

为帮助中小企业减少开支,并提升现有的物流运作与供应链模式,Centrolene 推出”C-Suite”的科技平台。它可让货运代理人既可以同时建立起强有力的合作伙伴关系,也可以通过高科技术加强物流与供应链管理,提升代理网络公司的竞争力。

他说:”中小企业因为成本的考量,往往不愿意尝试新科技。其实,积极运用新科技是有成本效益的。”C-Suite”不仅可以为中小企业提供及时的业务与数据分析,给予改善系统的建议,还可以扩大中小企业的网络,与更多运用” C-Suite “的企业建立起合作伙伴关系。”

亚力克斯说:”优质的物流运行与供应链管理系统一定要时刻为未来做好准备,运用新科技,与世界接轨。”

Freight Forwarder Network Platform [New Products]

September 17, 2015
MH&L (Custom)

 

Centrolene’s C-Suite is a fully integrated, comprehensive and industry-specific technology solution for freight forwarders. The C-Suite includes:

C-Tower—an end-to-end visibility and analytical tool ever created for the transport industry. The C-Tower is a customer-facing solution that allows forwarders to offer their customers a level of service and visibility that is the best in the industry.

allows the forwarder’s customers to access the alerts, analytics and reports they need to manage their supply chains.

C-Link—a communication platform for managing relationships with agents and other Centrolene Network members.

C-Quest—a customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed specifically for the industry’s needs.

C-Quote—a pricing tool that streamlines and automates the work of seeking and analyzing prices.

C-Bridge—connects existing data from a company’s legacy system with C-Tower and C-Quest.

C-Contract—a way to manage contracts, rates and agreements with carriers.

Centrolene’s C-Suite is a cloud-based system using the platform and infrastructure provided by Microsoft Azure.