Oakland, CA, 30 Sep, 2003 – APL and sister company, APL Logistics, have again, for
the fourth consecutive year, soared higher on InformationWeek magazine’s Top 500 list for
IT excellence, this year rising to 30th place from 56th.
The prestigious list ranks the largest and most innovative users of information technology.
Since 2000, APL jointly with APL Logistics has risen from 452nd place to it current ranking.
Included among the top 50 companies on the list are technology and manufacturing giants
such as Verizon Communications, General Motors Corp., FedEx Corp, Dell Inc., Sun Microsystems,
and Hewlett-Packard Co.
APL, based in Singapore, and APL
Logistics, based in Oakland CA, are both wholly owned units of Singapore-based Neptune
Orient Lines (NOL).
NOL’s Chief Information Officer, Cindy Stoddard, who is based in Oakland, says she is pleased
with the best-in-class recognition, although that wasn’t the goal of her team.
“We don’t invest in developing innovative IT products for IT”s sake, but for our customers’
sake,” she said, “and we only invest where it will make a difference for them. The leap
in rankings is a by-product of that very tight focus – which makes it even more satisfying
to achieve this recognition.
"It also reflects our determination to continue using technology to help solve complex
global distribution problems for customers and to reduce internal operating costs even
during an economic downturn," said Stoddard.
"Specifically, we are helping customers achieve time-definite deliveries and better inventory
control on an exception basis, which is especially critical to their business in this tough
economy. We are enabling them to make decisions that capitalize on fast-changing market
opportunities or minimize the impact of unexpected events. And we are contributing substantially
to NOL's internal cost-reduction goals."
She added that the external challenges her organization faced this past year were tougher
Security Rules Up-ended Documentation Processes
For example, Stoddard said the new "advance manifest rule" that U.S. Customs established
early this year for importers and their carriers required the filing of a shipping manifest
(list of goods) 24 hours prior to the loading of a U.S.-bound ship at a foreign port. In
the past, the manifest was due shortly before the ship arrived at the U.S. port.
"This dramatic change really up-ended the traditional documentation processes," said Stoddard.
"It required the development of new systems and processes and a major re-engineering of
information flows between shippers, carriers and Customs."
She said the company found that its advanced e-commerce platform and centralized documentation
functions, along with a close focus on customer needs and good collaboration between IT
and the business units, helped customers achieve early compliance.
Stoddard added that APL and APL Logistics continue to spearhead the development of interactive,
exception-based shipment/product tracking and supply-chain visibility tools that make customers
more competitive on an ongoing basis. The services are tailored to fit specific customer
needs from origin to destination, coordinated and consistent across multiple borders, facilities
and modes of transportation.
Do customers value these services?
"The evidence is compelling," she said. "In 1999, fewer than eight percent of APL's customers
were using the company's e-commerce tools, and today, that number has grown to 45 percent.
The benefits are being enjoyed in many countries. For example, in northern China, more
than 60 percent of APL's bookings and bill-of-lading (documentation) instructions are transacted
Similarly, APL Logistics is using its advanced shipment-monitoring and alert capabilities
to help clients not only improve the efficiency and flexibility of existing sourcing and
logistics operations, but to model and plan contingencies that help them better manage
unexpected developments or disruptions in their supply chains
APL provides customers around the world with container transportation services through
a network combining high-quality intermodal operations with state-of-the-art information
technology. APL is the container transportation arm of Singapore-based Neptune
Orient Lines (NOL), a global transportation and logistics company engaged in shipping
and related businesses. Its IT function is managed in Oakland, California.
About APL Logistics
APL Logistics, based in Oakland,
California, offers end-to-end supply chain management services enabled by leading information
technology. APL Logistics is a sister company of APL, the global container transportation
provider, and has more than 4,500 employees worldwide, operating in around 55 countries.
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