Monson Agencies Australia - Defeating the Email Monster

When it comes to making global trade a reality, the flow of goods and services is underpinned by a corresponding flow of information. The sheer volume and complexity of this information are such that, in many cases, the cost of moving cargo around the world can be equalled by the cost of the paperwork that accompanies it.

Most of the paperwork will come in the form of an email – and as a result, shoreside teams of charterers, traders, owners, brokers, port agents - in fact, at every stage in the supply chain - spend up to two hours per day wrangling thousands of emails. Often, this happens within systems that aren’t designed to handle this volume – and that aren’t designed for teams.

This is the situation in which leading Australian shipping agency Monson found themselves. With 95 staff in 18 company-owned offices within reach of all Australian ports, Monson offers personalised service accessing all key ports within Australia, with reliable and efficient streamlined processing of vessels from pre-arrival to post-departure.

2. The Challenge

Monson’s business is handled by teams of port agents in all the main ports in Australia, ranging from 2-12 people, with an average 4-5 people per team. These teams manage all enquiries for Monson’s vessels and send daily schedule updates on the vessels, estimates, support costs while replying to customers and updating them with vessel movements.

The teams dealing with this email used Outlook to handle it. However, because Outlook was designed for individuals, rather than teams, the volumes of email Monson teams needed to deal with increased exponentially with the size of the team.

Because of this, Monson created elaborate workarounds to try to cope with the volume of email. This involved setting up a system of rules and folders, which had to be replicated for each individual to keep track of transactions, taking significant effort to set up and manage.

3. Re-thinking Team Email

At the time, Monson was engaging with maritime software provider Stage 3 Systems, for whom the question ‘can you do anything about the email situation’ was becoming increasingly common among users. Monson then became one of the first users of the SEDNA transaction management platform, which grew out of Stage 3.

We wanted something to simplify this process and reduce costs. SEDNA was the only one with limitless and instant search results that integrated with our current systems.
— Monique Grobler, Commercial Manager at Monson

Thanks to the user-friendliness of the application, Monson was able to roll out SEDNA internally by themselves. This was largely straightforward for individuals who were used to web-based apps. However, some education was needed on how the software achieved the same results as Outlook (e.g. categorisation) by different means (e.g. tagging instead of folders).

4. Key Results

In total, Monson reduced their emails from 1.8 million per month in 2017 to around 500,000 per month. With the advent of SEDNA’s new transaction management platform, they are looking forward to improved security, enhanced tagging and a unified user interface.

They were able to:

  • Improve response time to customers

  • Spend less time spent filing and searching

  • Reduce email volume by 72%, reducing the need for servers

Download and read the full Monson case-study here.