Simba Supply Chain Solutions drives success with Claris FileMaker
Simba Supply Chain Solutions developed a centralized supply chain management database thanks to Claris FileMaker and gained efficiency and a unique competitive advantage.
5 December 2023
Transport and logistics
Ensure synchronized movement of physical goods, documents and electronic paperwork for freight forwarding and local transportation companies.
Centralized supply chain management database with customizable automated workflows for administrative and mission-critical tasks; integrated with internal and external specialized systems – customs portal, document assembly, storage, etc.
Easily accessible, sharable paperwork for all orders;
Scalability in operations;
Fast process adaptation to changing conditions;
Considerable time savings;
Increased customer satisfaction;
Unique competitive advantage.
Established 25 years ago, Simba Supply Chain Solutions (SSCS) is a leading transportation and logistics company that operates in Eastern African countries, with its headquarters in Tanzania. In 2022 SSCS was granted Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status – an internationally recognized proof that a company satisfies the strictest criteria for customs compliance, commercial records management, financial solvency and appropriate security and safety standards. In the last four years, the company increased the volume of goods they move across international borders and locally by 400%.
Knowing this, we couldn’t help but meet with Aly Dewji, Chief Technical Officer of SSCS, and his team to talk about the technological stack that empowers this impressive business organization and ensures the effective operations of its supply chain.
Complexity as an opportunity to innovate
These days, every company operating in a supply chain business faces the challenge of synchronizing three types of movements: physical goods; accompanying printed documents that are collected as the goods move to their destinations; and electronic paperwork related to each order.
Complex paperwork makes this puzzle even tougher – end customers, intermediary buyers, and suppliers need all documents in the right order and with accurate information, regardless of various formats and languages.
Taking advantage of an industry shift towards digitalization that happened about 12 years ago, the SSCS team set themselves to working on a productivity solution that would help solve these complexities. Cross-platform compatibility, ownership of licenced software, and ease of development were the main criteria that drove them to choose Claris FileMaker.
Low-code technology as a tool for quickly achieving business goals
Fast forward a few years to the present day. SSCS now uses a fully operational platform that they developed and integrated with existing complementary services to streamline all of their mission-critical tasks, including accounts payable, accounts receivable, operations, ensuring all the documents are in the right place at the right time, and sending them out.
Rapid prototyping is really the best thing about FileMaker. Not only does it enable our company to build automated processes based on our own business logic, but it also lets us adjust the whole process based on the real-time and real-life changes that inevitably happen with the supply chain.
Aly Dewji, Chief Technical Officer of SSCS
Automated workflows built on the company’s business logic facilitate the onboarding of new employees. Once they are acquainted with the processes, the system is designed to lead them through complexities, making it extremely easy to ensure the continuity of the service.
The FileMaker-based, centralized data store, along with all integrated services, made sharing information a lot easier. For example, providing clients with their data filled in automatically within their own custom templates is just a matter of 20 minutes now, rather than hours spent before doing it manually. Coupled with the service reliability, this capability nourishes client satisfaction and gives an incredible competitive advantage to the SSCS team.
Create connections to eliminate bottlenecks and let data flow
SSCS operates in numerous countries on the African continent, each country having specific customs procedures. To enter Congo for example, every truck needs a specific customs certificate, which can be obtained either by going to a customs office or by filling in a long, online application via a customs portal. Imagine 100 trucks sitting at the border and applying one by one, manually entering multiple pieces of information to receive their certificates.
With all the necessary information already in the system, the SSCS team found the whole process extremely cumbersome and prone to avoidable mistakes. Knowing their FileMaker platform’s capability of establishing connections with other systems, they negotiated opening the API with the relevant body.
Now that development is finished, obtaining certificates has become a matter of a few clicks. Once all supporting documents are added by an operator, the rest is fully automated, from application creation to sending generated certificates to the right people – all from a centralized location, without leaving the program.
This magic sauce – thinking globally, questioning every possible bottleneck in the process and relying on the technical capabilities of the platform – allowed SSCS to deploy automated processes that not only ensure the scalability of operations but also protected them from possible mistakes.
Market leadership through innovation
The digitalized processes enabled through the FileMaker app changed the work environment not only for employees of the company, but also for external collaborators, drivers and suppliers alike. It improved their overall experience and helped them engage with SSCS, which is a big challenge in itself. Combined with the increase in productivity of their 200+ employees empowered to deliver success, SSCS’s innovative systems reinforce their leadership in the market.
We’re in a highly competitive business, trying to innovate as much as we can – to be more efficient, to be more service oriented, more standardized. So that whenever somebody works with us, it’s clean and their experience is better.
Being an active player in the supply chain market, SSCS understands that the challenges they resolved can benefit other actors of the supply chain industry. Sharing their expertise in the form of a software platform that supports all mission-critical tasks is one of the plans.
All companies in the supply chain industry are concerned by this challenge,” says Aly, “so we are working on providing an end-to-end supply chain solution that will help our users focus on their core business activities.
Learn more about how Claris FileMaker can help you scale your business – get in touch!