Based on the island of Tasmania, SRT Logistics offers a wide range of services including transport and distribution, warehousing and supply chain management. The company had been operating in Tasmania for over 20 years, but over the last six years has expanded into Victoria as well as into offering services to other states. SRT has diversified its offering from only transporting refrigerated food to providing transport and logistical services for the wider food wholesale and retail industry, and its legacy enterprise software lacked the performance, scalability and flexibility to accommodate SRT’s business growth and market expansion.
By 2010, management recognized the need to replace the company’s legacy transport software and began evaluating alternatives. “Our requirements were very specific,” said Leigh Cripps, SRT’s Chief Financial Officer. “I’ve worked in IT for 20 years, and we didn’t want to change our business to fit the software solutions that were available. We conducted a total analysis of our business and looked for a flexible software solution that could adapt to our requirements and evolve with our business needs.”
The company needed greater flexibility to adapt the software to respond to evolving legislative requirements, and needed to increase its visibility into the status of all the goods in its supply chain. Drivers were manually logging all their order pickups and drop-offs, and this information was then entered when they returned to a SRT depot. This process was not only inefficient; it also provided management with little insight into resource utilization.
“Obtaining real-time access to inventory information was one of our biggest challenges,” said Cripps. “Our drivers are important to the company because they are in front of our customers daily, but we were providing them with older methods to do their jobs that were inefficient. Our systems were hopelessly slow, and they were originally designed for smaller transport companies. We had outgrown our software infrastructure, and had to carefully select a new software solution that would fit our requirements and could grow with our business.”
After evaluating several options, SRT selected Freight2020 from CMS Transport Systems. “We were leaning toward buying software from another Australian company that was larger and had more customers than CMS, but quickly saw that CMS understood our specific needs and had a robust system that could scale with our business,” said Cripps.
CMS Transport Systems is an Australian-owned company that developed its first fully integrated transport management system for one of Australia's largest transport and logistics groups in 1978. It is a leader in developing and supporting software and solutions for road freight and intermodal transport and logistics, and has been a Progress Software Partner for nearly 20 years. Freight2020 is modular and scalable, and it's successfully powering many large and multi-national transport and logistics companies, as well as small to medium Australian road transport operators.
Freight2020 was designed to assist all transport and logistics businesses in Australia and its product offering included modules for fleet management, accounting, freight management, warehouse, payroll, human resources, compliance and collaboration. It was developed on the Progress OpenEdge development environment, a scalable and open platform that is compatible with any database, user interface and operating system. The Progress OpenEdge Application Server helps CMS Transport Systems build a flexible and scalable application infrastructure. It supports an open, component-based model for partitioning applications and enables the easy distribution and reuse of business logic, thus saving time and resources.
Grant Walmsley, General Manager of CMS Transport Systems, said, “We saw that Freight2020 could do what SRT wanted, and SRT had clear ideas about how they needed to manage their business practices and we knew we could fully support those processes in Freight2020. Because our software is built on the OpenEdge environment, we knew we could scale with SRT’s requirements and ensure high availability. OpenEdge gives us the flexibility and dependability to quickly add new features to address SRT’s demanding business requirements.”
Freight2020 addresses SRT’s demands for real-time operations. Data is entered once into the system and information is immediately available to other users in other parts of the business. Manual tasks are automated, and users are guided through logical steps in each administrative process. With Freight2020, accuracy is maintained while operator efficiency is increased, and management gains 2020 vision when it comes to running the business.
Freight2020 delivers robust reporting functionality for key performance indicators such as profitability analysis by vehicle, route and customer to name just a few vital filters. As a fully integrated transport software solution, Freight2020 enables administration and operational efficiencies, improved customer service, detailed reporting capabilities and reduced revenue leakage. “SRT has strict ideas on how they want things to work, and Progress OpenEdge provides CMS with the flexibility to move quickly to customize Freight2020 to reflect SRT’s business processes,” said Walmsley.
With Freight2020, database performance is consistent and reliable, and SRT can focus on its core business instead of worrying about operating its software infrastructure. “In the past, it took us five minutes to generate a report and now it takes about three seconds,” said Cripps. “That’s a major reason why we moved from our old software to our current software infrastructure. The company is currently in the process of moving Freight2020 from its internal data center to a hosted facility. “We recognize that our software is crucial to how we run our business, and want to put as much insurance around it as possible,” Cripps stated.
SRT has deployed many of the major software modules within Freight2020, including Accounting, Payroll, Human Asset Management, Fleet Maintenance, Freight Management and Warehouse, and has had no unscheduled downtime since going live over two years ago. Staff members are entering shipment data in the field and it’s immediately available, providing management with insight into real-time operations. In the past, some bookings were not invoiced because the data wasn’t complete on the drivers’ manual paperwork, but the real-time systems are allowing SRT to realize additional revenue by avoiding lost deliveries and by avoiding deliveries that lack enough information to justify invoicing.
When SRT rolls outs the CMS mobility module over the next twelve months, drivers will do their pre-departure checks online and view their delivery schedule for the day, and customers will be able to sign the driver’s handheld device to acknowledge delivery acceptance. Management is able to identify any excess transport capacity and redistribute transport load as needed to optimize revenue. “Real-time access to information will become totally seamless for our staff,” Cripps explained. “Already, Freight2020 has eliminated many wasted steps in our business processes and is helping us better serve our customers.” Warehouse staff review manifests of items they have to load onto vehicles and SRT plans to add barcode scanning in the near future. Cripps foresees a time when everyone in the company will interface with Freight2020 during their workday.
Customers have the ability to enter their delivery requests online or through an uploaded Excel file, thus reducing the time and hassle of placing routine orders. Invoicing is also accelerated through real-time information access. “In the past, driver runs were entered into Microsoft Excel at depots. But now, instead of after-the-fact processing, order information is entered in real-time, allowing us to generate more timely and accurate invoices,” Cripps said.
“CMS is the right company for us, they understand our business and have been able to adapt the software when needed to deliver the functionality we need,” Cripps stated. “The flexibility of Progress OpenEdge enables swift delivery of new functionality, and real-time visibility and powerful reporting allow us to view information that helps us run our business as efficiently as possible.”