There’s a lot to be excited about for transport operators since the quantities of goods being sent from one place to another is constantly growing, fuelled by internet shopping, multiple years of a buoyant economy and an expanding population. But for any operator, and in particular those with growth ambitions, there comes a point where expansion starts to hurt.
A good part of that comes down to paperwork. In the absence of good business systems, the paperwork which must accompany the movement of goods goes from being a lifeblood, to a poison which slowly chokes the air out of the business.
It is a problem of scale, undoubtedly. Where an operator might be able to cope quite well with a certain volume – for arguments’ sake, let’s say running 10 rigs between Auckland and Wellington, and carrying a specific range of goods, say motor vehicles – there isn’t much of an issue. Sure, there’s paperwork, but your people have a handle on it. It is manageable.
But crank it up a notch, or even several notches, and the picture starts to change. Suddenly, with 100 trucks, and multiple different types of freight going to destinations all over the country, it may start to seem like you’re in the paper shuffling business, rather than running a transport operation.
These are very real challenges faced by businesses which are breaking out of the ‘start-up’ or ‘owner-operator’ phase and becoming more substantial companies (Mainfreight is perhaps the classic Kiwi example: it started in 1978 with a single Bedford truck and plenty of elbow grease).
And while we all recognise the Mainfreight brand, the challenge is faced down by plenty of other operators looking to follow the same trajectory. When these companies reach a certain infection point, they recognise that the growing complexity of their business means purpose-designed solutions, which take away the heavy (and repetitive) lifting for their people, become absolutely indispensable.
Paperwork is a big part of that heavy lifting, although it isn’t the whole story by any means. We’ve seen this in a number of our transport and logistics clients: as they grow from a few vehicles to fleets of tens or hundreds of trucks, the ‘organic’ systems which were OK when small get to a point where they cannot cope. Or, that is, the people cannot cope with the limitations of the systems: there’s just too much information flying around in spreadsheets, Word documents and point solutions. This makes it nigh on impossible to keep track of everything.
The answer for these clients was the implementation of a suitable Greentree ERP solution, specifically targeted at the needs of a transport operation. These systems provide companywide visibility and best-practice handling of all management aspects of the business.
But that’s just part of the story. With the addition of Verde’s eDocs, the paperwork which is so vital to trucking, gets a big boost through automation and digitisation. eDocs, as implied in the name, takes the paper out of the equation and digitises it instead. With electronic document exchange, a huge amount of paperwork is automated, allowing transport companies to carry on with the transport, rather than changing their names to Paper Shuffling Industries. eDocs shifts the game by delivering manageability ‘on the spot’. More importantly, it equips a transport business to expand and grow, without the chokehold of paper.
We’ve also seen companies growing through mergers, with the acquired business doing things the old way, with an accounting package and lots of head-scratching. This provides an ideal backdrop for these companies to appreciate the value of a purpose-designed Greentree and eDocs system – miles ahead of the limited systems used by other operators. Needless to say, when we have a Greentree user acquiring a ‘non-Greentree’ company, there’s almost always a rapid shift to a common Greentree platform, delivering visibility and efficiency across the combined operations.
If paperwork is a hassle in your transport business, and I’ll go out on a limb here and say that it is, unless you are on a modern ERP system designed for the transport industry, then it’s time to do something about it. There is a better way, it is proven, and it works.
What’s more, it’s time to shake off the shackles of paper. The industry is growing. Your company should be ready to take advantage of that growth and you can only do it with the right systems in place.