Keeping freight flowing across the U.S.-Canada border

January 10, 2017


One of the world’s largest international couriers required back-office support for package and freight shipments by truck between the United States and Canada.

The courier required a solution for processing commercial invoices--documents used as customs declarations in cross-border trade--that would ensure on-time delivery for shipments between its U.S. and Canadian customers.

Additionally, the courier required a contact center queue to resolve any problems (missing or incorrect information) with the commercial invoices so that customers’ shipments would not be held up in customs. The courier required all commercial invoices be processed within 24 hours.

The ensure its reputation for reliable, on-time delivery of packages anywhere in the world, the courier turned to DATAMARK.An international document processing and contact center services team keeps freight flowing across the U.S-Canada border

The Solution

DATAMARK ramped up an international document-processing team
consisting of approximately two dozen staffers trained in the courier’s
commercial invoice process.

This included specialized training in the use of the Harmonized Commodity
Description and Coding System, an international system of names and
numbers for commodity classification. Customs agencies use the codes to
establish tariffs and import fees, and identify restricted or regulated
imports and exports.

The document-processing team was split between Mexico and India,
allowing for 24-hour service over multiple shifts.

  • Continuous Improvement

Taking responsibility for this critical back-office function, DATAMARK also
delivered the added value of continuous process improvement using Lean
and Six Sigma methodologies.
For example, our Software Development team created a digital noteinsertion
tool that eliminated a time-consuming step of having to manually
write notes to edit or update missing or incorrect information on the
commercial invoices.
Additionally, DATAMARK removed another non-value-add manual step in
the client’s process by eliminating the need to print and scan additional
commercial invoice information arriving via fax server.

  • Contact Center Services

Delivering on a promise of 24-hour-or-less turnaround on commercial
invoice processing, DATAMARK established a problem-resolution queue to
resolve issues with shipments before they reached the U.S.-Canada
The queue consists of trained contact center agents who handle outbound
and inbound calls to and from shippers to resolve problems with
merchandise descriptions, harmonized codes and delivery names and

The contact center team is based in a DATAMARK facility in Mexico, along
the U.S.-Mexico border. Each agent speaks flawless, unaccented English.
Access to a talented, bilingual workforce is one of the advantages of
establishing contact center operations in this region.

The Results

DATAMARK delivered a nearshore-farshore outsourced document processing solution that ensured commercial invoices were processed within 24 hours or less, so that there would be no delay in shipments across the U.S.-Canada border.

Benefits delivered to our client include:

  • Cost Savings:

The nearshore-farshore arrangement reduces potential document processing costs by 20 to 40 percent compared to in-house document processing.

  • Expert Contact Center Services:

DATAMARK’s contact center agents, based in Mexico, act as an extension of the courier’s brand, speaking flawless, unaccented English as they contact shippers to resolve commercial invoice problems on behalf of our client.

  • Process Improvement:

Transferring document processing and contact center operations to DATAMARK was not just a matter of “lift and shift.”

In taking responsibility for the back-office process, DATAMARK applied Lean and Six Sigma methodologies to the client’s process to remove non-value added steps.

This philosophy of continuous improvement delivers faster turn-around-time and lower costs compared to an in-house process.

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