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.”