Friday 18 October 2013

More about KPIs

Key Performance Indicators or KPIs, are the primary means of measuring the performance and timeliness of your shipments in TrakIT. This article covers how KPIs are defined, how they are calculated and what they mean.

In TrakIT, a KPI basically measures the time difference between two specific events in a work order. This difference can be compared against a target value and can provide alerts to users if the target is not met or matched. The KPI can be measured in running hours/days or business hours/days.

Creating KPIs

TrakIT contains a table of Base KPIs that are defined by System Administrators. The Base KPI is simply a name of a KPI and does not contain any specific information about events or targets to measure. The reason for having base KPIs is to have the same KPIs available globally. This enables and promotes standardization and comparison of KPIs among different corridors or regions. Shown below is a sample of the base KPIs table defined. To see this list for your TrakIT, go to Admin > Master Tables > KPI Definitions.

A KPI must be defined in a Corridor so that it can be used in the Work Orders belonging to that corridor. To add new KPI Defintions for a corridor, administrators can go to Admin > Corridor Definitions, select the corridor, switch to the KPI Definitions section and click on the 'Create New' button. A new dialog box appears as shown below:

Each field for the above window is described below:

Base KPI - This is where the KPI name is selected from the list of pre-defined base KPIs.

From/To Event(s) - The KPI measures the time difference between the "From" and "To" events that are specified here. The event codes are entered into the boxes and more than one event can be specified as long as they are separated by commas. When more than one event is specified, TrakIT will only use one of these events based on the option selected: First Found means that TrakIT will search the work order events in the order specified and use the first event that is found with a date. For the Earliest and Latest options, TrakIT will select the appropriate date after checking all the events specified. If the "Use current date if unavailable" option is selected, then TrakIT will substitute the current time for the From or To event when the event itself contains no date.

Business Hours - This option is specified when the KPI is to be calculated in Business Hours instead of running hours. When this option is selected, a country and time-zone must also be specified. TrakIT then uses the holidays and weekends defined for the country to calculate the correct business hours between the From and To events. Holidays for a country can be defined through System > Holidays.

Active - By default, a KPI is active. De-activating a KPI will prevent it from appearing in new work orders that are created after the KPI is de-activated. It does not have any effect on existing KPIs already present in work orders.

Exclude from Reports - This option can be selected if the KPI should not be included in certain interactive reports or if the KPI is not a reflection of the actual performance.

Alert Requirements

Users can set alert requirements for the KPI when it exceeds or is less than a certain number of hours. This number can be negative as well and is called the Target of the KPI.

Once a KPI is final (i.e both From & To events have been populated), it stops providing an alert warning unless the "Alert Despite Completion" option is selected.

Users can also set the KPI alert to appear only when certain other Events or Data items in the Work Order are Completed or specifically Not Completed as per event codes entered in the available boxes.

Additional Actions

Once the definition for a KPI has been set, you can choose to apply the new (or modified) definition to all existing active work orders. When the Target value is changed, the option can be selected to update the target on all active work orders.

Once a KPI has been defined in a corridor, it can also be linked to specific services for the corridor - just like Events and Data for the corridor.

KPIs in Action

When a work order is created, all active KPIs defined for the corridor are created as well for the work order (with the exception of any KPIs that did not belong to the selected services). An example of the work order KPI tab is displayed below:

Lets take a look at each column and what it signifies:

KPI - The name of the KPI appears here along with a status icon indicating the alert level. A icon indicates no alert, a icon indicates an active alert and a icon indicates a snoozed alert.

Start - The date of the "From" event is displayed here if available. If the event date is set to use the current date, it is indicated as Current.

End - The date of the "End" event is displayed here if available. If the event date is set to use the current date, it is indicated as Current.

Target - The Target set for the KPI as per the Corridor Definition is displayed here in days and hours.

Actual - The actual calculated value of the KPI is displayed here. This value can be calculated only when both the "From" and "End" events can be determined. If the actual value exceeds or is less than the Target value (as defined in the KPI definition), it appears red. A red value may or may not cause the KPI to go into alert status depending on other conditions selected in the KPI definition.

Closed - A 'Yes' in this column indicates that both the Start and End event dates for the KPI are available and the KPI value is constant (as opposed to a KPI value that changes with time).

Snooze Till - If a KPI in an alert status has been acknowledged by the user, it can be put into a "snoozed" state until a certain date has passed. Just specify the date in this column and click on the 'Save' button. Such KPIs appear with a icon. Once the date passes, the KPI state changes back to an alert state.

Apply to T/D - This can be selected if you wish to snooze a KPI in all work orders of the shipment.

Snoozed By - Indicates the user ID of the person who put the KPI into the snoozed state.

A KPI that is measured in business hours is indicated in italics. Both the Target and Actual values are in business hours (1 business day = 8 business hours).

KPIs are calculated each time a work order is saved and also every half-an-hour for KPIs that change over time (i.e. Start or End event date is "current" )

Subscribing to KPI Alerts

Users can subscribe to receive email notifications when a KPI goes into an "Alert" state. To do this, go to System > Email Notifications. Select the corridor for which you want to see KPIs, select the appropriate KPIs and click on the 'Update' button.

Viewing  KPIs in the Dashboard

Users can add KPIs to their Dashboard to view the performance of the KPI in a graphical trend chart. Such a chart is a very clear indicator of performance trends.

For more information on how to setup your personal Dashboard, take a look at the Dashboard article posted a short while ago.


KPIs can form a valuable tool to monitor the performance and timeliness of events in shipments. KPI names are global but each corridor can have it's own set of specific KPIs that can be configured as per the corridor's requirements.

KPIs appear in work orders and can signal alerts and email notifications for users. A KPI can also be put into a snoozed state for a few days.

KPIs can be added to user's dashboard to see a graphical overview of the KPI's performance.

If you have any questions or concerns about KPIs in TrakIT, please contact TrakIT Support.

Sunday 22 September 2013

Create New Work Orders in Excel

With the latest update of TrakIT, we've introduced a nifty new feature with which you can create any number of work orders by simply populating an Excel template and emailing it to TrakIT.

Here is a guide on how to go about this:

Go to the Home page in TrakIT and download the New Work Order Template document from the documents section.

It's a standard Microsoft Excel 2010 document (*.xlsx) that includes one protected sheet. This document forms the template for creating new work orders and the blank template looks like this:

This template contains some basic fields for new work orders that you can populate. More fields may be added in future versions of the template depending on your requirements.

Here is the description of the fields currently available:

Customer CodeCustomer Code is a mandatory field and must match the Entity Code of the customer in TrakIT. The code specified here must be a unique code. Unfortunately, we currently have duplicate codes for some customers in TrakIT (these will be cleaned up soon). Codes that are not unique will fail.
Carrier CodeCode for the Carrier is also a mandatory field and must match the Entity Code of the Carrier.
Transport DocumentTransport Document (or Shipping Instruction or Bill of Lading) is again a mandatory field. If this number is not available, it's not advisable to create work orders via Excel, as any temporary random number you might enter could already be a shipment in TrakIT and the new work orders would then belong to that shipment.
Container/Manifest No.Depending on whether the shipment is containerised or break-bulk you can choose to fill in either of the fields or leave both blank. Container numbers specified here are not validated. If none of the fields are specified, TrakIT will create a TBAUxxxxxxx container number as usual.
Container TypeChoose Container Type from the drop-down list provided. The list matches the container types already available in TrakIT.
Size/WeightSize of the container can be selected from the drop-down as 20' or 40' and the weight can be specified directly as a number (in kilograms). Both fields are optional.
Shipment TypeChoose Shipment Type from the list of available Shipment Types that will be available in TrakIT.
Seal Number and CommodityBoth fields are optional and can be entered as free text.

Currently, it's not possible to set the services for the work orders in this template. But we intend to include this in the template's next update.

Once you have completed the Excel sheet, simply email it to your designated TrakIT email address with the subject: TrakIT Create [Corridor Code]

For example, if you are creating work orders for Kenya-Mombasa corridor, your email subject would be: TrakIT Create KE-MBA

The subject of the email is not case-sensitive. Send the email only from your registered TrakIT email account and make sure that you have the correct authority to create work orders. Otherwise, the work orders will not be created.

TrakIT will process your email and reply with the result. TrakIT will inform you about errors encountered if any and the rows on which they occurred.

As this is the first release of this feature, we look forward to your feedback for improvement.

For any questions, concerns or suggestions, please contact TrakIT Support.

Thursday 12 September 2013

The Dashboard - Monitor your shipments...

The TrakIT Dashboard is a powerful tool to evaluate the performance of your corridors. It provides you with a graphical overview of your shipments, KPIs and event occurrences in an easy to comprehend manner.

There are various kinds of charts that you can add to the Dashboard for selected corridors, time intervals as well as trend intervals.

Similar to the Operations page, you can choose to customize the filters that apply to the Dashboard to narrow down to specific corridors, shipment types or other parameters. An important point to note is that filters apply to all charts simultaneously.

Types of Charts

Currently, there are 4 types of charts available in TrakIT. You can add as many charts as you want and re-order them as required. The source data for each chart can be exported to MS-Excel. Hold the mouse over a data point on any chart to display the figure behind it.

1) Work Order Creation - This chart displays a simple count of work orders that were created over a period of time for the selected corridors and for a specified trend interval.

2) KPI Average – This chart shows you the average time measured for the selected KPI against the average target time for the same KPI. It provides a bird's eye view of the trend/performance of a KPI and whether the time interval measured between the events is occurring within the target time.

You can add as many KPI charts as required.

3) Event Occurrence Trend – This chart shows the number of occurrences of a specific event over a certain time period and allows users to track the change in events happening over the time period. You can add as many charts as required.

When adding an Event Occurrence Trend chart, TrakIT will ask you to choose a specific corridor and event in that corridor. This is only done to obtain the event code of the event. The graph generated includes events with the same event code across all selected corridors (and not just the one selected when adding the chart).

4) Top 10 Pie Chart – This chart shows you 10 most active or most frequently used carriers, customers, corridors, shipment types and transporters. It also helps you identify other performance related information like which corridors/entities are most inactive or not used at all, which in turn allows you to re-analyze the requirement of such corridors/entities in the application and perform clean-ups.

You have the flexibility to choose your own charts independent of other users.

If you would always like to open TrakIT with the Dashboard (instead of the Operations) screen, just click the star icon  on the bottom right corner of the page to make it your default page. (But make sure the shortcut you use to start TrakIT does not directly link to the operations page, or else this won't have any effect).

For any further questions, concerns or suggestions on improvement, please contact TrakIT Support.

Saturday 31 August 2013

Generate forms for all Work Orders in Shipment

With the latest release of TrakIT, users can now choose to generate forms for all work orders in one go.

As you may already know, there are two kinds of forms available in TrakIT: those meant for single work orders and those meant for the entire shipment (with details of all work orders on the same form). The latter are, by default, shared across all work orders in the shipment.

This feature is applicable to forms that display information for a single work order only and only when you email the form (not download it directly). When you click on the Email button for a single work order form, the following window is shown:

At the bottom, there is a check box that allows you generate the same form for all work orders in a shipment. Once this check box is selected, the form is generated for and attached to each individual work order, and then emailed together in a single email.

The important point to note here is that any text fields in the form that are to be filled in by the user, will only be filled in for the currently selected work order and not for other work orders in the shipment. This is obviously because TrakIT cannot know the information that is required to be filled for other forms dynamically. So, this feature is recommended for forms where there are little or no dynamic fields.

Please note that using this function may take a lot of time to generate the email, especially if the shipment contains a large number of work orders.

If you have any questions of concerns regarding this feature, please contact TrakIT support.

Friday 2 August 2013

Global Data Search & KPI Filter

With the latest update of TrakIT, a few new features have been released:

Global Data Search

The global search function (on the top right side of the main menu), used to search work orders only on the B/L, Container Number, Manifest or Work Order ID.

It is now possible for TrakIT to search in Data fields that belong to a work order, provided you have specified that field as a searchable field. For example, if you have a Data field called "Truck Number", you can select it as a 'Global Search' field in the Corridor Definitions and it will be included in search results.

Once this is selected, TrakIT will search this data field and include any partially matching fields in the search results. Shown below is a search result for a truck number:

However, please use this feature very sparingly and only for unique fields with long numbers (such as Finance Reference numbers or Invoice Ref numbers). If too many data fields are included in Global Search, TrakIT may take a long time to search and the result may include lots of false matches (of which only the first 10 are displayed). Consequently, you may not be able to find what you are looking for.

Dashboard KPI Status Filter

A new filter for the KPI Status has been added to the Dashboard filters that affects KPI charts only.

Users can now choose to display All (default), Closed or Open KPIs only. Closed KPIs are those KPIs where both the "From" and "To" events have been populated and the KPI value is final. Open KPIs are those KPIs where the "To" event is not yet populated and the current date is being used to calculate the value of the KPI.

After selecting the option, click on the 'Search' button to update the KPI charts.

Work Orders Affected Count

When linking an Event or Data Item to one or more services and/or customers, you can easily check how many work orders your change will affect before you actually apply it to the work orders.

When you click on the 'Edit' function for an Event or Data item, the two "Additional Actions" you can apply also indicate the number of work orders that will be affected if the respective check box is selected.

TrakIT on Facebook

TrakIT is now on Facebook! For getting TrakIT news straight to your Facebook newsfeed, simply go directly to TrakIT's new page at and click "Like"

For any questions or clarifications, please contact TrakIT Support.