3PL provider Koch Logistics doubles volume of transactions with process automation while eliminating bottlenecks, billing faster

Koch Logistics is a third party transportation logistics company that marries the freight movement needs of their customers to the asset-based vendors of the world. A Synergize user for almost a decade, Koch recently expanded the automation capabilities of their workflow processes to double the number of transactions they handle while streamlining the workflow queues, with no additional headcount.

Logo_Koch_Logistics.png“Synergize is used in pretty much our entire business. The document management system forces a structured flow that everybody has to follow. Automation provides a queue so that you know where transactions are in that flow. You can identify where there are bottlenecks and redirect staffing toward relieving those bottlenecks. Managers can oversee the whole process.”

- Paul Grothe, Director of Information Technology, Koch Logistics

Business Challenges

Koch Logistics operates three “buckets” of business. As a brokerage they handle routine transactions for a variety of clients, moving shipments domestically and internationally. On the managed service side, they have formal relationships with clients to move all or some portion of their freight. Third, the special projects team advises customers and works with theirvendors and subcontractors to develop better processes and consult on operational matters.

Document imaging has been in place at Koch Logistics for many years, and they were an early adopter of workflow management. In 2006, the company selected Microdea’s Synergize® to combine the two functions into one software solution, from one vendor, eliminating the versioning and integration problems that had crept in with previous solutions.

The Synergize workflow platform at that time ran 563 workflow queues to manage 100,000 transactions per year, through all different processes, from Order Entry through Billing to the Payables process. The operation was paperless, but their 100 users were still moving a lot of transactions around from queue to queue. Internal order sheets were created by hand, and all indexing was done manually. 

Solution

In 2013 Koch moved to the new Synergize Process Server, adding significantly more automation, along with a host of other enhancements and benefits. Integrated with transportation management system TMW TruckMate®, all documents related to billing and settlement are maintained in a secure repository. Users can securely search and retrieve documents from the central repository through a Synergize interface, as well as directly through TruckMate.

At that time, many of their internal business processes were changed as well:

  • The manual process to create internal order sheets is now automated
  • Koch now utilizes TruckMate’s checklist system with imaging. When documents are scanned in to Synergize they are actually checked-in through Customer Service. This enables them to move orders automatically through the process as soon as the required supporting documents arrive.
  • A custom tool was developed with Microdea for the barcode on the BOL: scanning reads the barcode to automatically index the documents coming from the carriers, and then the system inserts the pro number into TruckMate for Customer Service, a significant time savings.

A key business document is the internal order sheet.  Here’s how the solution handles it: at the time an order is entered into Customer Service, Synergize automatically creates the internal order sheet, which proceeds into imaging. The system then looks for the supporting documents required for the order, such as carrier freight bill, BOL and POD. These supporting documents are captured by scan, by email, or gathered from carriers’ web site portals. Indexing is done automatically by reading the barcode. When these documents are received, Synergize updates the check-in status, and the order then moves through workflow from the Billing queue into the Ready-to-Pay queue. Koch’s audit department looks at a custom “view” to confirm the order, and then approves it in TruckMate for billing.

Custom views were created based on user teams (for example Customer team, Key Account team, Single Source Transaction team) and based on information type (for example by office location, by carrier, or by mode of business) for at-a-glance review.

Separate Synergize repositories have been established for carrier profile documents, customer documents such as contracts and rate sheets, plus all Accounts Payable paperwork, whether or not it’s transportation related.

Results

Now with the Synergize Process Server and the associated changes to many of their internal processes, Koch manages double the number of transactions they are processing, in only 25 workflow queues, with no increase to headcount. They are able to bill faster, and have streamlined the Receivables effort considerably.

Automating their workflow processes has provided Koch with enhanced visibility to the whole process, and enabled them to identify and relieve the bottlenecks that may happen at individual desks: no more misplacing or sitting on paperwork.

Using Synergize to manage documents allows customer service representatives to focus on service and audit, rather than document retrieval and handling. 

For more information, visit www.kochlogistics.com 

Want to learn more about the benefits of automation? Download our free whitepaper, Making the Case for Business Process Automation in Transportation.

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