How Bandstra Grew Six Times Larger Without Hiring Back-Office Staff

Executive Summary

  • Bandstra Transport has grown six times larger since implementing Synergize
  • Billing used to take two people two days, now takes one person two hours and the rest happens automatically in the background
  • A batch of AP invoices that use to take two hours now takes twenty minutes
  • The collections process is now automated and most of the telephone tag has been eliminated
  • More and more processes are being automated from end-to-end as the business continues to grow

The Customer

Bandstra Transport, a predominantly LTL carrier operating out of Smithers, British Columbia, started using Synergize in 2002 after realizing how much time they could save in their back office.

Their Finance and Accounting team, as well as their shareholders, quickly saw the value in using a Document Management System (DMS) to digitize and automate their paperwork processes, and they’ve been expanding their use of the system ever since.

The Challenge

Since 2002 Bandstra has grown over six times larger. The main challenge during that time has been figuring out how to keep up with all the associated paperwork without continuing to expand their back-office team.

Before using Synergize, it used to take two staff two full days to handle all the billing, including finding supporting documents in filing cabinets, photocopying, stapling, refiling everything again, envelope stuffing, stamping, and delivering them all to the post office.

Dealing with incoming invoices from vendors and interliners in Accounts Payable was a similarly manual and paper-driven process. And collections was a constant game of telephone tag.

“Just to keep that under control was certainly a challenge,” said Alan Slater, the Controller at Bandstra.

The Solution

The key to keeping up with the paperwork has been implementing Synergize, our Document Management System (DMS) and using workflow automation to increase efficiency and streamline processes throughout the organization. “All departments are now using Synergize from HR to Accounting and Finance.”

In Accounts Receivable, billing now takes one person two hours a week to mail out invoices to anyone who isn’t using email. Otherwise, the process simply runs in the background and takes four hours to oversee. “It’s lead to big savings on time and postage, and Canada Post going on strike is no longer relevant to us from a billing perspective,” said Slater.

Collections are now automated, with payment reminder emails going out automatically after 30 and 60 days. This has eliminated the telephone tag that used to take place when trying to deal with a missing or unpaid invoice.

Most recently, using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in Accounts Payable has lead to a huge improvement in processing time. A batch of AP invoices that used to take two hours to process can now be done in twenty minutes.

Now, admin staff are able to process 2500-3000 incoming invoices a month and interliners are being paid twice as fast.

“Synergize has certainly helped us scale the business. If we hadn’t started using Synergize we would have never been able to cope with all the paperwork or take on bigger and bigger clients,” Slater added.

The Future

Bandstra is looking to continue to expand their use of Synergize and the workflow automation tools it provides. Increasingly, processes will be automated from end-to-end.

“Synergize has helped us streamline our day-to-day operations. It’s been a very good investment and lead to huge time savings,” said Slater. “Eventually we won't even see the invoices, it'll all just be automated.”

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