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Introduction

Alphatron Marine BV, headquartered in Rotterdam, was founded in 1989 and is a manufacturer, importer, supplier and installer of advanced navigation and communication equipment aboard ships. They currently employ about 260 people spread across 14 branches. The company has a flexible approach to both manufacturers and customers. A fully supported technical specialist team takes care of all new-build projects and the day-to-day installation work in the field of navigation and communication equipment. In the past years, Alphatron Marine has fitted over 850 seagoing new-build vessels and are setting a new standard with the trendsetting Alphabridge wheelhouse concept.

Many of Alphatron’s innovative solutions depend on satellite communications using a full range of services (VSAT, VOIP, Inmarsat E&E [C, Mini-M, Fleet], Fleet broadband, Iridium, IOP, Thuraya, IsatPhone, etc.).

SATbill has been the best software investment our Satcom division has made in years; it saves time and money and provides our customers with a professional invoice and specification.

-Dennis Winterswijk, Manager Communication, Alphatron Marine B.V.
  • Saves time & money
  • Improves cash flow
  • Enhances invoices & traffic advice
  • Increases billing accuracy & competitiveness
  • Reduces employee workloads
  • Improves accuracy of margins and usage

The Business Challenge

Alphatron Marine were facing problems in managing multiple billing systems and in integrating their many different communications services into a single invoice for their customers. They needed a single, integrated, flexible and adaptable billing platform to enable them to continue to take on and develop innovative market-leading solutions for their customers.

The Symbiosys Business Solution

The SATbill implementation team reviewed the flow of incoming billing information, and the existing and planned billing needs, and defined a core SATbill system, including some additional customisations to fully meet Alphatron Marine’s needs. This was installed at Alphatron Marine’s offices in Rotterdam and the data from the previous systems were loaded into SATbill. Comprehensive training was delivered on-site, backed up by highly-responsive off-site support. Alphatron Marine were able to rapidly cutover to the new SATbill system for all their satellite communications billing.

The biggest value is the peace of mind that all is invoiced correctly. I still check all invoices before they are sent out, and I have never found a mistake that was related to the system, only to data entry errors.

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1. How does the SATbill billing process compare with your previous system?

“SATbill has improved our billing process a lot. Previously all the different CDR’s were converted to end-user prices using Excel, and manually processed in our ERP system. Needless to say, this was a time-consuming situation and because of the manual work there was a higher chance for errors. One of the main advantages apart from speed and accuracy is the easy-to-read Traffic Advice that comes along with the invoice, so our customers can see the exact usage of their terminals.”

2. How has the new system affected your billing margins?

“The main advantage is that our billing margins are now 100% accurate and 100% of the usage will be billed. This provides us with improved management reporting.”

3. How has SATbill affected your competitiveness?

“Our customers now receive a correct and timely invoice all the time, which definitely gives us an advantage over our competitors.”

4. How has SATbill affected your cash flow?

“SATbill has improved our cash flow significantly. Depending on the service, our invoices go out between 15 and 30 days faster than previously.”

5. How do you assess the value for money you get from the SATbill system?

“Although an investment has to be made and recovered for SATbill, we have estimated it saves us 4 to 5 working days per month in labour, in which our employees can focus on their day-to-day business.”

1. What do you think about the SATbill system and the on-going support and maintenance?

“SATbill has been the best software investment our Satcom division has made in years, it saves time and money and provides our customers with a professional invoice and specification. The support we get from Symbiosys is excellent. We have had many questions in the start-up phase and without exception they have been answered quickly and professionally. Also specific bug-fixes are typically dealt with in a matter of hours, not days.”

2. Does the SATbill system meet your expectations?

“100%, everything that was discussed and promised in the negotiation phase has been implemented according to our wishes.”

3. Does the SATbill system deliver real value to Alphatron Marine?

“Absolutely, the values being the cash flow improvement, less workload for our employees, accurate and timely billing, and a professional invoice and specification for our customers. The biggest value however is the peace of mind for me that all is invoiced correctly. I still check all invoices before they are sent out, and never have I found a mistake that was related to the system, only to data entry errors. That being said, the main condition for the success of SATbill is the preparation of the data that needs to be imported to the system. We have spent a lot of time and effort to realise this together with the SATbill team from Symbiosys, and this has paid off. The SATbill team have done a tremendous job during the implementation and afterwards, and it has been an absolute pleasure to work with them.”