Our weeks are filled with conversations and visits to bulk hauliers where our team help these transport operators to identify alternative (and often) better ways to work. What’s evident is these bulk hauliers spend their weeks shifting muck, aggregates, animal feed, powders, liquids and even road salt (although at this time of year that area of work is fortunately replaced with something a little more seasonal) – however it has to be said that shifting paper comes a close 2nd! There’s one commonality across the industry that jumps out – the work involved in administering a bulk transport and/or haulage operation is disproportional to the number of jobs done each day – in essence these hauliers are drowning in paperwork.
Our team recently visited a company who did between 100-125 jobs per day – they had a 25-step administration process! 25 different stages from a job being received through to the invoice being raised. Paper was organised (but everywhere you looked) and job instructions were being repeated multiple times as each work order transitioned from one stage to the next stage. And as the duplication and repetition occurred unfortunately sometimes it meant that errors/omissions occurred meaning work was occasionally missed, leaving their customer unhappy.
The company’s admin process began at the point that they’d initially write down work instructions onto a job notepad, before then transferring the same information onto their transport/traffic diary ready for planning and allocating to their driver/vehicle/trailer. The same information was then hand-written onto delivery notes for their drivers – creating even more repetition – and once the work was completed the same information was then re-typed into their accounting software. Invoices were raised and then, dependent on their customer’s requirement, the invoices were printed and posted, scanned (sometimes with PODs attached) and emailed to their customer. The process was exhausting! Granted, this particular company’s administration process was an extreme one (we usually see between 8-15 stages vs. this company’s 25), however it worked for them – as it has for the last 20 years – it just put their transport and finance teams under pressure, leaving them stressed, over-worked and unable to find time to look for new ways to protect, strengthen and grow the business.
Does that sound like your bulk company transport process? Are you repeatedly writing the same information on your transport diary, delivery notes, collection notes and waste transfer notes? Is paper and administration controlling your time, your team’s time and your business?