Family owned, operated Berry & Smith Trucking marks 60th anniversary in the business with sustained growth through use of technology

Focusing on the Western states and provinces, Berry & Smith Trucking Ltd. operates over 120 power units and owns almost 250 trailers. In addition, they provide public transit and school bus service to the town of Penticton, BC where their head office is located. They have doubled the size of their business since 1999 without adding administrative overhead.

berry-and-smith-logo.png“Technology has helped the company to grow and manage what’s happening in the industry. Since 1999 we’ve doubled the size of our business but have not hired more administrative people. This is a direct reflection of taking advantage of the efficiencies of different technologies like Synergize.”

- Dorothy VanKoughnet, CPA, CMA, Controller / IT Manager

Business Challenge

With three offices, each run as separate entities, Berry & Smith was previously inundated with paperwork that needed to be moved between locations for approval and processing. Billing was processed separately for each office, meaning significant delays in everything from accounts receivable to driver settlements. Filing and storage was cumbersome, especially on the intermodal side of the business, where over 20 different document types could be associated with any given freight bill. 

Solution

Berry & Smith implemented Synergize back in 2002, initially as a basic imaging and document repository system.  At that time, they centralized the documents for billing by having each office scan the driver paperwork into Synergize, and saw a quick return on investment simply from eliminating duplicate processes. No more waiting for paperwork meant that they could reduce the number of days to bill.

As their use of Synergize evolved, Berry & Smith expanded the system into other areas of their business including Driver Safety and Accounts Payable. Workflows have been developed for all documents related to billing and payables. For example, when a payable comes in to Synergize, it is queued in the payables area, the payable is created, matched to the image, and then is automatically sent to approvers via the Synergize payables workflow for approval, completion and posting.  

For driver documents, Driver Envelopes are bar coded when the driver brings them in to the office, then the envelope and all contents are scanned into Synergize. Through a combination of bar code recognition and some user interaction through Synergize Workflow, the documents are all categorized, sorted and stored. In addition, Synergize automatically splits the documents into separate repositories, eliminating the need to have two separate processes for freight bills and driver pay. 

For Accounts Receivable, all cheques and payments that are received from customers are scanned so that they always have a copy of the payment record.

Having a good database structure as the backbone of the Synergize imaging system enables Berry & Smith to create meaningful reports. This has also expedited responses to requests by auditors.

Results

Eliminating duplicated effort has resulted in big efficiency gains for the company. Scanning documents into Synergize has shortened billing cycle times by two days, and enabled them to produce monthly financial reporting five days earlier than before. Shorter billing cycles = more cash.

The company has been able to redeploy staff because of the ability to be more efficient with Synergize document management. In fact, on the AP side of the business, Berry & Smith does not have a specific person assigned to processing payables. Everything now comes into Synergize workflow directly following scanning then into the payables queue for processing. This enables faster reviewing and approval allowing early pay discounts to be applied wherever possible.

Learn more about the benefits of process automation for transportation businesses and how it can help save time and money. Download our free whitepaper - Making the Case for Business Process Automation in Transportation. 

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Supporting the trucking community

Truckload Carriers Association Ontario Trucking Association American Trucking Association Toronto Trucking Association Transportation Intermediaries Association

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