Saturday, 18 January 2014

Two New Reports...

It has been a little longer than usual since the last TrakIT update. Here is the summary of the major changes incorporated in TrakIT's first update of 2014:

Operations Page Filters

The Operations page is the "control center" of TrakIT. It's filters are of paramount importance in finding your shipments quickly. We have tweaked the filters to improve the way TrakIT searches shipments.

Corridor Filter - The "Single/Multiple" selection of corridors has been removed. TrakIT will now detect if a single corridor is selected in the multi-select list and act accordingly.

Other Filters - All other filters are now dependent on the main corridor filter and can change their available options based on the corridors selected. Users will now see only those options that are actually used in their corridor and not the multitude of items in the list. For example: if a user has the Carrier filter enabled, the list of carriers will only include those carriers that have been used in the selected corridors.

When changing corridor selections, it is important to click the icon below the corridor list to refresh all other filters based on the corridor selection.

The filters will, as usual, retain their selections as well as get refreshed as per selected corridors when the page is loaded again.

Demurrage Statistics Report

A new interactive drill-down report has been added. Users can choose specific corridors and see a summary of containers that are presently being tracked in the Container Tracking module as well as the total demurrage figures. Below is a screenshot of Demurrage Statistics Report:

 The following columns are available in the report:

Corridor - Name of the corridor.
Containers - Number of containers currently being tracked.
Average Days - Average number of days for which containers have been tracked.
Maximum Days - Highest number of days of any container that is being tracked.
Average Demurrage - Average rate for each container that is being tracked.
Total Demurrage - Total demurrage for all containers being tracked.

Shipment Status Report

The Shipment Status report provides the number of work orders at each stage of the shipment, i.e. the number of work orders with particular events. Users can select corridors and the complete count of all work orders for each event of those corridors is displayed. Events that have no work orders are excluded from the report. Clicking on the WO Count number drills down to those work orders. Below is a screenshot of Shipment Status Report:

The Oldest and Latest events indicate the number of days since the first and last occurence of a particular event.

For further queries or concerns, please contact TrakIT Support.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Tracking Demurrage in TrakIT

Container Tracking is a module in TrakIT that displays the list of all containers that are being tracked between the defined entry and exit events. Based on set parameters, the days elapsed and demurrage is calculated for each container.

Setting it up

For every corridor, users can set demurrage rates for a specific carrier, shipment type, container size and container type. Slab days and rates can be set if the demurrage rates vary with time.

Demurrage rates set here do not have any effect on their own. They are applied only to containers that are present in the Container Tracking list.

Container Tracking

Admins can set specific events in a corridor to be the Entry and Exit events for Container Tracking. When an Entry event is populated in a work order either directly or via email/bulk update, the container is added to the list of active containers if it is not already present there. Allowed free days are copied from Demurrage Definitions section of the work order that caused the entry of this container and the number of days are counted from the time of entry, which is the same as entry event date/time. TrakIT then starts calculating demurrage on this container on the basis of the criteria defined in Demurrage Definitions. 

Conversely, when a user populates an Exit event, TrakIT checks if it is an active container in the Container Tracking list. If so, the exit date is set, final demurrage is calculated (if applicable) and the container is "exited" from the list. 

This is displayed in System>Container Tracking:

Demurrage definitions and exit work order number and date for a particular container entry can be modified by clicking on the menu icon beside it. 

The Entry and Exit events may belong to same or completely different corridors. For example: Entry event would be in an Import corridor and Exit would be on the Export.

The list can be exported as an Excel sheet as per the selected filters.


Users can subscribe to notification emails by selecting System > Email Notifications > Select Corridor and clicking on the 'Free Days' tab as shown below:

These notification emails are sent out by TrakIT every morning. The email contains an attachment that lists all the containers with Free Days already expired along with calculated demurrage provided demurrage rates for the corridor were set and containers about to expire as per the above settings.

Users can also be subscribed to demurrage notification emails by administrators via the Corridor Definitions > Demurrage Definitions section.

Subscriptions made by admins are automatically reflected in the user's Email Notifications and subscriptions made by users in Email Notifications are reflected in the Notifications section in Demurrage Definitions.

Using the Container Tracking module, users can keep track of their containers along with the demurrage applicable on them in a very easy manner. For any questions or clarifications, please contact TrakIT Support.

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.