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For over 45 years, family-run Swinson Transport has been at the heart of the highly competitive haulage business and has established a reputation for providing a professional and dependable five-star service to some of the best-known names in the industry. The Midlands-based company operates its own fleet of thirteen articulated lorries, two 7.5 tonne vehicles and six vans from a single depot. In addition, approximately 10% of its business is conducted via a network of trusted subcontractors. It also has the capability to provide specialist vehicles to customers with larger or more complex transport requirements.
Business at Swinson has grown steadily. On average, the company deals with more than 700 transport jobs a month. Healthy business growth coupled with the increasing complexity of delivery chains in the industry prompted Swinson to review the way it tracks activities from scheduling a vehicle and driver to final proof of delivery when the customer signs for safe receipt of their goods. Dave Jackson, Transport Manager of Swinson Transport outlined the motivation for change, “Originally, four of us relied heavily on spreadsheets to record and monitor the progress of our consignments. The trouble was we were unable to tell whether a job we couldn’t find had been completed or had been deleted. There was no traceability and we had no visibility of our end-to-end job journeys. The time had come to ditch the spreadsheets and embrace automation.”
After carefully evaluating the marketplace, Swinson selected a new cloud-based transport management system from TrackTrans. Dave
Jackson continued, “TrackTrans matched our requirement for traceability perfectly. What is more, unlike the majority of suppliers who charge a high monthly subscription, TrackTrans offered a far more flexible and attractive pricing alternative with a fee per job that could accommodate the fluctuating demands of our customers.”
Today, Swinson relies on the Transport Management, Proof of Delivery (POD), Vehicle Tracking and Communication modules of TrackTrans to manage and keep sight of customer consignments quickly and efficiently.
For example, one of Swinson’s largest customers Kuehne + Nagel UK typically places a large number of orders late in the afternoon or early in the evening. Before TrackTrans, Dave and his team would spend significant amounts of time keying in the details of these orders manually. Today, the time they save by receiving orders electronically is devoted to planning and scheduling jobs. In addition the customer receives live status updates from Swinson’s TrackTrans system and is able to check the status of jobs without Swinson being involved. A great benefit when things are busy.
Every driver at Swinson can access the TrackTrans system from their mobile devices to view and select jobs depending on their availability and even add comments or updates against specific consignments. There is a colour-coding system for different stages of the delivery chain, making it easy to track a driver’s activities and swiftly spot potential problems that need immediate action or communication to customers.
According to Dave Jackson, “All our drivers use the TrackTrans ePOD system on their mobile devices to keep in touch with head office at all times. This means they are able to provide real-time status of their location, give live updates on arrival and waiting times and quickly report issues as they happen and then capture final proof of delivery complete with names and signatures. TrackTrans tangibly improves customer service on the spot and on the move.”
By installing TrackTrans technology, Swinson has achieved its number one objective of traceability. Before TrackTrans, it would typically take between four and six hours to deal with a single query about proof of delivery status, which might have occurred two years before. Now, Dave and his team simply key in a job number to view the complete history of that job. The electronic POD is instantly available and a scanned copy of the original paperwork, if used, can be retrieved and emailed directly from the TrackTrans archive if required.
Dave Jackson added, “Using TrackTrans has brought greater transparency and a sense of fairness to the organisation. When we relied on spreadsheets, if a job couldn’t be found, it was easy to apportion blame to a colleague if something went wrong. Today, every single job is entered into the system including who entered it and when. This applies to any amendments or additional notes that are made along the way, nothing is ever deleted. We can quickly analyse and resolve issues without having to sift through mountains of paperwork and the days of ‘but it wasn’t me’ are long gone.”
According to Dave Jackson, the time savings resulting from TrackTrans implementation have boosted productivity without the need for additional headcount. “Automation has enabled us to handle more deliveries in a day because each job or consignment no longer needs to be manually entered into the system. The proof came when one of our administrative staff left the company and we haven’t had to replace them. TrackTrans has streamlined everything and we’re now enjoying the benefits of valuable time savings and increased productivity,” he said.
Keeping track to boost business performance
The superior reporting capabilities of TrackTrans have helped to boost business performance for Swinson. Every month, Dave and his team monitor the turnover for each customer and also measure other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as delivery time targets based on POD activity for specific customers or for different types of vehicle in the fleet.
Dave Jackson explained, “I prefer to do my reporting at least twice a month which means I don’t have to wait until the end of the month to find out if there is a problem. At a glance, I can see if we are under or over-utilising vehicles, an essential indicator of how well we are running our business. This gives us the data we need to keep one step ahead. We can maximise our fleet quickly in a highly proactive way and make meaningful adjustments accordingly. Better still, the whole process takes just a couple of minutes.”
Swinson has benefited from the ongoing and exceptional support provided by the TrackTrans team. Dave Jackson concluded, “TrackTrans are absolutely brilliant. If we have any problems, we just email the support desk and get a response within the hour. They always follow through and nothing is ever too much trouble. We have found the perfect partnership with the people and technology at TrackTrans.”
“We have a complete transport management system that gives us better control over our delivery process end-to-end. It simplifies administration with automated communication that impresses our customers and delivers great service, all with virtually no IT overhead and from one easy-to-use cloud-based application.”
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