Friday, 28 February 2014

Broadcasting Messages

Do you wish to inform all users / customers / transporters / agents about some general information or something urgent? TrakIT allows you to do just that...

The Broadcast Messages feature allows Administrators to broadcast a message (along with an optional attachment) to a group of people. This group can be all TrakIT users, customers, transporters and agents of specific countries. 

Go to System > Broadcast Messages to see the list of all the messages that have already been sent out along with the date and time of their broadcast. Click on the message to view the details and the recipients it was broadcast to.

Here is a sample message:

Broadcasting a Message
Click on the 'Create New' button to create a new message for broadcast. The following window appears: 

Under the Recipients section, select one or more Entity Types, User Roles and From Countries. Enter a subject in the Subject section and information that you need to broadcast in the Content section. If you need to attach any document with this message, you can do so by selecting a file to include with the message (max 1 MB). Once the message is ready, click on the Send button and the message will be emailed to all the selected recipients.

Note: If you have selected any of the Entity Types as recipients, then you are allowed to select a maximum of four countries.

For further queries and questions about this feature, please contact TrakIT Support.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Slow loading Advanced Reports?

Over the past few weeks, we've discovered that some Advanced Reports were "hogging" the system and slowing performance. Additionally, these reports were being sent out twice or thrice daily...

As an example, a report was generating about 19,000 rows with 24 columns of data - that is about 456,000 data items in one single report! The resulting Excel file was a few megabytes in size and was being sent out daily.

Upon investigation, we found that the filters for the subscription were set incorrectly, thereby causing large amounts of data to be included in the report.

With the latest update of TrakIT (released last Saturday), we've included a way to measure how long a report takes to generate. Under the Advanced Reports subscriptions, you will see a column "Last Gen" that indicates the number of seconds that the report took to generate the last time it was sent or manually generated.

We've also added a filter for system admins to identify long running reports. Take a look at this screenshot:

The "Generation Time" filter is currently visibly only to System Administrator - but it will be made available to all admins shortly.

We recommend you go through your subscriptions to see how long the last report took to generate. If you find the figure missing, it will be updated the next time your report is sent out.

For any questions or clarifications, please contact TrakIT Support.

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.