Email management in the Shipping sector is a complex issue, often putting at risk the functioning of operations. In 2013, a leading Greek Shipping Group was encountering a limitation, since each of the four different companies inside the Group used a different email management system. To obtain a certain piece of information, the owners of the group had to know how to access and use all four different systems or request printed copies of every important message.
The need for a single system was indispensable, and MetaDocs undertook the project. The most challenging aspects of transitioning into one system, new to everyone, were the following:
- Transferring 10 years of email archives from all different systems
- Incorporating the most valuable features of each system, creating a best-of-breed solution
- Educating employees and gaining their approval
To ensure all requirements were met, MetaDocs supplied the group with a flexible software, along with full support to the employees. This human-centric approach included aspects that are crucial when dealing with demanding sectors, such as time bound presentations and education tailored to each department’s needs. An important aspect of this human-centric approach, was the assignment of a qualified professional who worked together with the employees, providing on-the-job training and direct assistance with any difficulties that occurred. The mere presence of a knowledgeable individual, ready to offer instant support and respond to questions, boosted the confidence of the employees and accelerated the familiarization with the new system.
Several features proved to be more than beneficial. A retention policy was established, ensuring that all emails are automatically archived and become available for immediate handling a few months after reception. After that, the emails are removed from the email management server but remain easily accessible from the archive, in case they are needed again at a future time.
An additional benefit came from the fact that, the disparate email management suppliers shrank to one, resulting to simplified procedures of the supply chain. The new way of managing emails facilitated the mergers and acquisitions inside the group, the expansion in other countries and continents, and the transfer of employees from one company to another, since it contributed to easier adaptation to new working environments. Finally, the communication and collaboration between working groups and departments was greatly improved.
The new way of managing e-mails with Astris, which was initially launched on a trial basis for just 30 users, a year later was considered “best practice” and became the official modus operandi for the whole group of companies.
- In March 2013, the users were 30. In September 2013, the number had risen to266. After 2.5 years, they were 350 and currently they stand at 590, meaning that every single email user in the group uses Astris.
- The group has now 6 different companies in 2 continents, and the new email management system is part of the company culture.
- So far, 27.000.000 emails have been exchanged, with an average of 560.000 emails per month. In certain occasions, the system has survived daily traffic topping at 1.000.000 emails.