“Our working capital will become so much more flush. You’re billing earlier, your days to bill go down, and you’re receiving money quicker. The cash in your pocket just increases.”
Prior to 2012, Transpro had overly manual, almost archaic processes to handle the billing side of their business. Whether the supporting documents came in via fax or email or on paper, it was necessary to bring them all to one location, print everything, scan into a basic system, index and assign one piece of paper at a time to the appropriate order. With twelve different document types, including BOLs and Purchase Orders, there was a considerable amount of mundane, manual document processing to be done.
As Transpro’s volumes increased, more paperwork and documents were flowing through the house. The company had always been technology-focused and a leader in automation, consistently finding innovative ways to customize and automate the data they give to their customers. They knew that a drastic change was required to effectively manage the increased volume of paperwork, and turned to a transportation management system integrated with Synergize to improve days to bill and increase efficiency in billing.
Transpro implemented TMW’s Truckmate transportation management system with Synergize for imaging and document management together in an integrated project, in a record 3½ months back in early 2012. “TMW and Microdea met aggressive deadlines that in turn met Transpro’s demands,” observed Eric Carusi, General Manager of Transpro.
Starting the project first with standalone scanning, and later adding barcoding of BOLs, Transpro’s goal was to manage all documents electronically and not have to print a single one.
The “Save to Synergize” function for emailed or faxed documents delivers one-step automatic attaching to the right order. For documents that still come in on paper, the barcode on the trip sheet identifies the document type and indicates that all paperwork following in the scan is for that order, then auto-assigns it. Indexing is done automatically, and the appropriate fields are populated.
For the drivers who use their smartphones to submit documents, it’s as simple as sending an email to a specific email address with the bill number in the subject field. Transpro is working now to implement the auto-assigning function for this method. Says Carusi, “Once we get this implemented, our working capital will become so much more flush. You’re billing earlier, your days to bill go down, and you’re receiving money quicker. The cash in your pocket just increases.”
Truckmate delivered big gains on the billing side. Once all documents are assigned to an order, billers follow a streamlined 2-screen process to verify accessorials and rate accuracy, post their orders to Truckmate’s accounting system, finalize them, and then send the invoices via email to the customer. Before, this process took three hours of manual work. Now, achieving the same accuracy, it has become a one hour job, a 66% time savings.
Carusi’s team has been able to re-allocate some of that time to the verification process, so that no paper goes out uninspected or improperly. It’s crucial to ensure that carrier invoices don’t go to the customer by mistake, disclosing confidential margin data. By having more time to do this “safety check” at the time of billing the order, Transpro ensures accuracy in billing and upholds their reputation.
By streamlining processes and reducing daily time to bill from three hours to one hour, Transpro calculates that Synergize has helped them to save $10,000 annually. Even with a 5% increase in sales in recent years, there has been no increase to headcount. In fact, Carusi was able to redistribute responsibility in the business and redeploy one person to a more revenue-focused operations role.
Customer service has improved because Synergize attaches paperwork to orders earlier in the process. Even if an order has not yet been billed, the POD can be retrieved online in response to an inquiry, improving the customer experience. “Our business has come a long way on the billing side,” comments Carusi.
Next step for their Synergize implementation: Accounts Payable automation. By automatically reading structured vendor bills or utility bills, then automatically populating fields to create an invoice for payment, Carusi expects to gain half a day per week back for his billers.
Transpro was recently acquired by Kriska Transportation Group. Under the Kriska umbrella they operate 650 trucks and 2000 trailers, employing 900 people.