Silver Touch Solves the Back-Stop Dilemma with Digital Transformation Services
It does beg the question, could technology actually solve the issues. Hypothetically, this could well be the case (If any representatives of the EU/Irish Government or British Government want a chat, please drop me a line)
Let’s consider the scenario. A truck needs to leave a Warehouse in County Cork, ROI, drives across the Irish Republic, needs to cross the border at Dromad for a journey to Belfast and its final destination. Currently, all follow EU guidelines so checks are required.
After Brexit we are told that a physical border is a no-no, so in order to preserve the tariffs and regulations on both sides of the border, certain checks need to take place which could potentially bring in the requirement for a hard border. Several times the use of new technology has been mooted, but each time someone in authority has claimed it’s a non-starter.
Could we potentially solve the problem of the back-stop using technology? Here’s an idea…
Stage One – Originating Company Seamus and Sons receive an order for several items from Belfast Company D&S Stores. The order is placed in Sterling and entered into Seamus & Sons SAP Business One ERP system. SAP B1 automatically converts this into Euros, checks the stock on hand, raises the order, creates the picking list and send this to the warehouse team to pick.
Stage Two – Seamus & Sons have invested in Digital Workforce/Robotic Process Automation. Once the order is received, a bot detects this and automatically raises the appropriate documentation that will be required at the border crossing. The bot will calculate the amount of time required to make the journey and will predict the ETA of the truck at the crossing based on current traffic conditions.
Stage Three – Once the warehouse confirms the order has been picked and loaded onto the truck, the bot will match the physical stock against the order, check that the appropriate compliances have been met against the legislative requirements and instruct the driver to move the truck to a weigh station.
Stage Four – The truck with its cargo is then weighed and a tamper-proof RFID tag is produced and affixed to the truck to ensure that the truck cannot be opened. The RFID tag is unique to that particular truck and the orders that have been packed into it.
Stage Five – The bot will send a notification to the border crossing point selected by the driver in his journey planning. The information will include a manifesto, the appropriate customs and legal declarations, the RFID tag information, the weight of the Truck/trailer. Any duty payments will be authorized and made by the bot at this point.
Stage Six – Driver sets off on journey. A bot will monitor fuel consumption and any fuel purchases (excluding Sausage Rolls and coffee) made during the journey and calculate the impact on the weight of the vehicle.
Stage Seven – The Truck reaches the border at Dromad and passes through a sensor which identifies the RFID tag. During the crossing, the driver will pass over a weigh bridge. A bot will now compare the starting weight of the vehicle, factor in the changes in fuel, and if the weight of the vehicle is within tolerance and the RFID tag indicates that it has not been tampered with, the truck will be free to continue its journey. It has not stopped, merely slowed down. A similar process could be conducted on entry into Northern Ireland.
Stage Eight – The truck arrives at its ultimate location. At the receiving bay, the tag is scanned and the cargo is checked. This is entered as received in the SAP B1 ERP solution used by D&S Stores. Once this completed, a bot will automatically compare the manifesto with the original manifesto, check that the appropriate fees have been paid, a check against the government compliance is made and HMRC is notified that the transaction and delivery has been completed. The appropriate documentation is logged with HMRC and the appropriate compliance is checked and completed.
Obviously this is going to cost a couple of Euros or Pounds to implement, but if some form of government rebate was available for companies employing the technology, I am sure that the amount that it would cost would be far less than the amount currently being wasted on the negotiation process at the moment.
Ah well, you can dream, but at least I got your attention…
Bottom line is that I don’t know all of the checks and documents that may be required, but given that RPA technology is flexible and can easily be configured, it is certainly the case that a solution could be agreed on using technology. Admittedly, the possibility of anyone in the negotiating teams actually reading this in between dealing with scandals, rebellious MP’s and having meetings about meetings, is unlikely. However, what I am hoping is that it makes you think about the potential of using this technology in your businesses.
I’m happy to have a frank conversation about the options that are open to you in making technology work for you. Give me a call or send me a connection request and let’s get talking.
Craig Buck is a very experienced Software Professional having been involved in the industry since 2005. He has worked with multiple ERP, CRM and Business Intelligence solutions including Sage, Microsoft, Infor, Qlik and now SAP. This gives him a substantial knowledge of the market and a deeper understanding of business needs.
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