In any trucking business of any size, the main goal is to increase profits to handle flux in the market and expand operations. For every expense that takes away from that goal, the business is in jeopardy. Yet there is one major expense of most transportation companies that could easily be cut out. We are talking about documents and manual processes for back-office operations.
In order to be a cutting-edge, cost-effective administration, you want to implement as much back-office automation as possible. This is where documents go from piles of costly paperwork to digitized formats that offer easy access to your big data. Not sure if business process automation is right for your trucking business? Here are three time-consuming activities that this system can eliminate for your company.
Time-to-Bill for Order-to-Cash
The quicker your transportation business can get the bills in the hands of shippers and customers, the faster you can be paid. This reduced time-to-bill increases your order-to-cash process. For a trucking company like TransPro Freight Systems Ltd., this is one of the most effective results of document management as part of back-office automation.
The way this works is accounts receivables are processed faster, and with less room for human error, thanks to an automated system. How is it a more expedient process? By using digital imaging for invoicing documents transmitted via internet-based communication, such as email, or by fax, there is no longer the issue of remote locations. Coupled with a document management system, this form of automation streamlines the time it takes to send out bills.
As the general manager of TransPro put it, “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.” How much cash? Well, in the case of TransPro the company has reduced its time-to-bill by a whopping 66 percent and saved more than $10,000 a year.
Filing and Processing Paperwork
Every aspect of paperwork costs your trucking business money. Sourcing the paper, printing documents, paying postage for mailing, and paying a paper shredder company to dispose of sensitive materials—this is a sizable chunk of your office expense report. Then you have to pay employees for spending the time necessary for manually covering these tasks. You are also paying to store documents, whether this is in filing cabinets or off-site storage providers. Fortunately, paper processing is one of those areas in your administrative system that you can eliminate.
Your business can significantly streamline the amount of money spent toward paper-pushing, while also securing the very documentation that is necessary to keep your business running. Consider how Cannonball Express took this automated action to the next level. This trucking company provides weekly deliveries to the Lower 48 states. However, back in 1970, the carrier was limited to local trucking deliveries in Nebraska.
As the company expanded over the last 45 years, the leadership looked for ways to increase operating costs. This is where business process automation came to the company’s aid. By using electronic documents in place of paper, Cannonball Express optimized its billing cycle. Electronic document processing in an automated format allows the company to save money on administrative and postage costs.
Searching for Documents
One specific area we’ve touched on regarding the cost of paperwork is filing. Focusing on filing, when you have mountains of paperwork to organize in an efficient manner, there is only so much a standardized filing system can handle. Yes, you can organize shipper information according to an alphabetical order. But what if you want to find all of the documents from a certain logistics stream? You would have to go and pull every single file folder and manually sort through these, document by document, to find the data you need.
This is simply inefficient and often seen as an impossible task for office workers to handle. In addition to paying these employees to handle this mammoth task, you are also taking them away from other more valuable areas of their job, such as creating leads and developing customer relationships. Rather than depending on old-fashioned folder systems to store documents, go with a modernized transportation management system that uses document imaging to digitize paperwork.
All of the information obtained through invoices, bills of lading, POS, employee onboarding, etc. is compiled in a digital OCR format. This gives you a systematic approach to sorting through all of your data. You are able to search for the most intricate pieces of data, just like you can search for files in your computer system by inputting a search word.
Berry & Smith Trucking Ltd. has put this method of document imaging to good use. This carrier out of Penticton, British Columbia has created its own document repository system. The trucking company has more than 20 types of documents often related to a single freight bill. Using document imaging software, the office administrators easily sort these at each step in the invoicing process, i.e., accounts receivable and accounts payable.
The sorting is managed using a barcode system in which barcodes are affixed to envelopes used by employees for freight documents. This cuts out duplicate processes and streamlines the number of days it takes to send out bills to shipping customers. In fact, the system has worked so efficiently that Berry & Smith has started using the system for other areas of its operations including Driver Safety.
Advance Your Knowledge About Automation
A well-defined transportation management system offers a wealth of opportunities in terms of cost savings and increased revenue. Read more about how you can make a case for business process automation for your trucking business.
Microdea is a rapidly growing enterprise software company focused on the development, sale and support of document management and business process automation technology for the transportation industry. Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Markham, Ontario, Microdea serves hundreds of customers spanning multiple countries and a range of transportation fields including rail, transit, truckload and LTL carriers, shipper private fleets, brokers and 3PL.