David Claxton, CEO of Trivaeo (www.trivaeo.com) who provide cloud based solutions for businesses, explains how logistics companies can use the same technology banks use to streamline their business processes.
Banks and financial institutions have elicited much censure from the public and the media, but despite their very public failings, there is much that the transport and logistics industry can learn from them in terms of managing processes and back office tasks. So what’s their secret and how do they keep the cost of processing tasks so low? It’s simple really – automation.
Back office tasks are those that don’t require direct face to face contact with customers. In banks, examples of these sorts of procedures would typically include account servicing, setting up personal loans and applications and exception management. In fact, banks typically have between 300 and 500 back office processes to manage and monitor, leading the way in business process automation. Whilst your organisation won’t have the same issues of compliance or as many processes, there will inevitably be multiple tasks that need to be completed every day.
By the very nature of the industry, logistics companies are perfect candidates for reaping the benefits of automating the numerous back office tasks that are dealt with on a daily basis. From managing dispatch through to monitoring user mileage and collating trip reports, transport companies can deal with these essential tasks so much more quickly and efficiently through automation.
The more stages a job involves, the more likely errors are to occur with documents lost or misdirected – particularly when manually processed. It is also more difficult for managers to monitor the processes involved.
The benefits of automation
So what are the key benefits for a logistics company aiming to automate their back office processes?
• Firstly, it’s important to ensure that you have the right system up and running which can be tailored to meet your specific needs. Ideally, a system will integrate with the IT systems used by carriers and/or shippers to simplify and streamline processes such as the capture of proof of delivery documents. This will greatly reduce the time required for even the most complex tasks.
• In addition, improved access to information means more visibility in the status of requests and procedures for all relevant personnel. This is particularly important when transporting products so journeys can be tracked and delivery times more closely monitored and accurately estimated.
• Automation can also facilitate the dynamic distribution and prioritisation of workload between departments and offices, even when at different ends of the UK, Europe or the world.
• More informative reports can be generated more quickly and more easily, giving management information that is critical to determining the key performance indicators that will help drive the business forward. This in turn reduces the option of ‘cherry picking’ tasks by employees.
• Good software costs money, but the costs that are saved by using that software properly to automate complex and time consuming processes will more than compensate for the initial financial outlay.
• Faster, cheaper, more accurate – but ultimately it makes no sense to introduce automation unless it will result in an improved customer experience. With the right system you will be able to enhance communication and customer service, providing more accurate information about loading, pricing, transit and delivery, as well as a more efficient and competitive service.
Logistics companies face many challenges that are out of their control such as rising fuel costs and strict environmental targets. However, back office processes are one issue that can be actively managed – and the most forward looking companies automating their processes to do just that.