International Energy Services

Fueling Growth with Help from Progress partner, CMS Transport Systems. 

Products:

OpenEdge

SS_International Energy Services

Challenge

Improve the efficiency and profitability of its companies, ensure regulatory compliance and deliver the highest level of customer service. 

Solution

The Freight2020 Logistics Management Solution, based on Progress® OpenEdge®. 

Result

Improved efficiency and profitability; enforced the highest level of compliance requirements while enabling the provision of outstanding customer service. 

Story

Challenge

International Energy Services (IES) is Australia’s leading transporter of oil, gas  and bitumen for the petroleum, liquefied petroleum gas and aviation industries with a 30+ year history in hazardous chemicals distribution.

Established in January 2005 after a management buy-out lead by CHAMP Private Equity from troubled industrial conglomerate, ION Limited, IES has been reinvigorated and is now pursuing an aggressive growth strategy. The company originally implemented Freight2020 from Progress partner, CMS Transport Systems, back in 2005, replacing a legacy DOS-based system. Freight2020 delivers IES a powerful automation platform for its transport scheduling, financial management and overall logistics. Not only does Freight2020 improve the efficiency and profitability for IES companies, but the advanced business rules capabilities enforce the highest level of compliance to Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) and environmental standards while enabling the provision of outstanding customer service. IES Group Process Development Manager, Brett Wilson, said the Progress-based solution provides greater functionality, is extremely robust and much easier to use, and offers a scalable platform for growth.

Solution

The distribution of petrol and gas involves complex rules measuring the weight of the different fuels, the geographical location of each outlet, the time and the running costs of the vehicle, with each service station having a different delivery cost rating.

If a tanker cannot deliver a full load to a particular service station and has to travel on to another station, this will affect the rate charged to both stations.

Freight2020 automatically calculates the impact of all the various factors to produce the invoice cost. It also encompasses a range of checks and measures so that if for some reason the final number does not include sufficient profit, this will set off an alarm within the system.

“We have a very complex billing system, but CMS has been able to tailor Freight2020 to our specific requirements, which was an important factor in our buying decision and has been a huge win for us,” said Wilson.

Cootes Transport Group has recently introduced handheld computers to enable drivers delivering LPG to receive and transmit data back to the central system and confirm delivery in real time.

The system communicates with an external mobility  server which transmits the data to the handheld units.  The drivers use the PDAs as a manifest, recording key tasks such as their pre-auxiliary check for the vehicle, and once they complete a delivery, they input the details into the handheld and send it back to Freight2020 for invoicing.

The handhelds enforce key business rules to prevent most data-entry errors, which has improved the accuracy of delivery records and timeliness of invoicing, with a direct impact on customer satisfaction levels. A natural consequence has been a significant reduction in disputes over invoices, saving time and money for both Cootes and its customers.

“Since the drivers are now handling all the data entry relating to invoicing, we have enjoyed substantial cost savings through the ability to free up other staff previously involved in this function and redeploy them into more strategic roles,” said Wilson.

“Our aim is to make this operation totally paperless and have a high degree of automation so that everything runs by itself in the background. We already have supply chain automation which allows us to receive orders from the customer and schedule deliveries, and with this handheld capability, our data is updated in real time and invoices are transmitted to customers via EDI for even greater efficiency gains.”

Result

The handhelds have a range of benefits, such as giving Cootes the ability to include site maps to give the drivers information about where to enter and load, along with warnings about potential hazards such as low overhangs which can pose a problem for tall trucks.

“This ensures our drivers have all the information needed to comply with each customer’s various requirements, regardless of the location,” said Wilson.

Another key benefit of using PDAs has been the increased ability to enforce safety considerations on the road, such as ensuring that drivers take regular breaks on long hauls.

“At IES, it’s all about safety and we put no pressure on our drivers to make up time on the road, requiring them to log a break every five hours and feed that information back into Freight2020. Our customers love to hear about the innovations we’re making because, at the end of the day, we’re carrying their products and our service quality reflects on them.”

While the PDAs are currently in use by LPG drivers, Cootes plans to extend the units across its fuel operation by the end of 2007, further extending their value to the business.

Wilson said the Progress database’s ability to transmit EDI files is a huge benefit to the organisation, since it replaces the previous use of mail or faxes.

“The speed of data flow with our customers has at least doubled, and the ability to use the handheld data within Progress has dramatically enhanced our invoicing processes. All our contract managers, accounting and finance staff rely on the Freight2020 system for reporting and making entries while senior management use it for reporting and business analysis.

“In our first five months with the handhelds, we had over 15,000 manifests processed back into the system, which represents a saving of more than 85% of administrative time. As we expand our use of handhelds and further extend the functionality of the Progress solution, the benefits and savings will continue to accrue.”
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