We Buy Books is a company that does exactly as its name says, buy books. But they also do so much more. The Lancashire-based company repurposes second-hand books to re-sell them whilst also supporting those in need. The company provides books free of charge to schools in the UK and Africa. When their books cannot be rehomed, they’re recycled and created into delivery boxes for global delivery conglomerate, Amazon.
The company runs a fleet of 14 vans which collect books across the UK from Glasgow down to Cornwall. Since they were established in 2005, We Buy Books has attempted many different approaches to managing their transport processes. Last year they struck gold when they hired Transport Manager, Natalie Laverty-Metcalfe who improved their whole operation. In this exclusive interview, Natalie shares her secrets to drastically improving We Buy Book’s Transport process.
HaulTech: You joined We Buy Books last August and have made quite an impact, can you tell us a bit about your time there?
Natalie: When I joined the company, I evaluated the process of how things were being done and it was overwhelming. We were using three systems to achieve one job, we had a system which we would record work on, another system to plan our routes and another system to do vehicle checks. Not only did this mean we had to log into and operate three different systems but we had three separate costs that we had to pay each month. It was time and cash consuming. I made the decision to make it so we would just use one product for our operations and introduced the company to a Transport Management System.
HaulTech: How has a Transport Management System changed things?
Natalie: For starters, it’s reduced the amount of outgoing costs we were paying for the three systems. Then it has created so much free time, the system allows me to schedule work as far in advance as I want and with 90% of our work being repeat jobs, I have pre-planned 90% of work for the next 12 months. I would say the system saves me as an individual about 6 hours a day and it saves the accounts team a similar amount of time.
HaulTech: What is that spare time allowing you to do?
Natalie: Being a Transport Manager is so much more than planning routes and jobs, it’s also about taking care of the drivers and the customers. With the spare time created, I go out with drivers, make sure they’re doing well and doing a good job. I will go to visit customers and ensure they’re happy. These are the things that as a Transport Manager, I wasn’t able to do before having a system.
HaulTech: How do your drivers find using the technology?
Natalie: We had a couple of hiccups when we first started using it, but we spoke to HaulTech and got it all ironed out. Now the drivers are happy, we hear no complaints. They take a picture on job completion or get a signature and it instantly comes back to us. Before we were using a programme which took 24 hours to get the POD’s back. Now it’s instant and that means we can invoice faster and improve cash flow.
HaulTech: Have you noticed any other benefits from using a Transport Management System?
Natalie: I think it’s changing the perception of how our customers perceive us for the better. It’s bought us into the 21st century. When jobs are done they get an automatic email with an electronic receipt. It takes a tap of a button for us to send a remittance advice slip and everything we do is backed up on the server, so we can answer any incoming questions. These little things are making a large impact.
HaulTech: Lastly, what would you advise hauliers on the market for a transport system?
Natalie: Do your research and find a company that is the right fit for you. I am sure there are plenty of options on the market for a Transport System but the software at HaulTech is perfect for us and the customer service we get is great.
It’s great to be supporting Natalie and We Buy Books. If you work in Transport and want to streamline your processes like Natalie, then contact the HaulTech team today by clicking here, calling 01782 662244 or saying firstname.lastname@example.org.