Connected Mandata transport management systems are still supporting Sheffield-based haulier Shepherd Distribution Services after 20 years. The Palletline member and heavy haulage operator is marking its Platinum Anniversary in 2016 as it celebrates 70 years of success in the haulage industry.

Founded in 1946 by Jack Shepherd as a full-load steel haulier, the company specialised in transporting steel throughout-post-war Britain from its base in Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire. Throughout its 70 year history, the company has seen a number of significant changes to its operations and as a result, the business has grown dramatically over time.

Now in the very capable hands of proud owners Laurence Abel and Ian Davis, the company looks set to continue to go from strength to strength thanks to its honest, hardworking, customer-centric work ethic, and the capability and efficiency of its transport management systems.

Shepherd’s are a long-standing customer of Mandata, having been using the company’s transport management solutions for the past 20 years.

Managing Director at Shepherd Distribution Services, Laurence Abel, said:

“As a business, we’re very technology-focused. We first adopted a computerised transport management system to help us manage the business through a period of growth, and it has been helping us to achieve tangible results ever since.”

“In the last 70 years, we’ve more than doubled the size of our fleet, we’ve re-located our operations to accommodate a new 50,000 sq ft warehousing facility, and we’re actively working with over 500 different customers now we’re part of the Palletline network. If it weren’t for the visibility provided by Mandata’s integrated systems, we wouldn’t have been able to manage the increased workload.”

Shepherd’s use a server-hosted Mandata TMS, complete with a bespoke EDI link to integrate its TMS to its Palletline carrier system, which effectively enables the smooth transfer of job information between the two systems and manages its workloads. Shepherd’s also utilise Mandata’s Web Services Customer Portal; an add-on module which enables their customers to log-in and book jobs on-line, as well as view job status updates and POD information. All of the data within the Web Services Portal is mirrored into the company’s Drag & Drop Traffic Pad within the Mandata TMS, and is updated in real-time throughout the day for complete operational visibility.

In addition to the company’s Web Services modules, Shepherd’s have also equipped all of their drivers with handheld PDA devices to enable them to capture digital signatures as proof of delivery. The POD information is automatically time and date stamped by the device and then uploaded to Shepherd’s Web Services system for customers to view almost instantaneously, radically reducing the time customers have to wait for POD details and invoices to come through.

Shepherd’s PDA devices also track the GPS locations of its vehicles, using the data captured to create a real-time visual map so the traffic office can retain full visibility across the fleet. The software maps each vehicle’s route and generates job status alerts and traffic congestion alerts which automatically updates the information in the company’s Mandata TMS.

“For Shepherd’s, the Web Services Customer Portal and our PDA devices have been a worthy investment. The systems we have in place push us to the forefront in terms of the latest technology, and allow us to focus on delivering operational excellence and the highest standards of service to our customers,” Laurence said.

“The level of visibility provided by our Mandata systems enables us to react quickly to the everyday requirements of an often challenging sector, and provides our customers with added confidence that their goods are in safe hands.”

As the company prepares itself for continued business growth, Shepherd’s is now offering specialist groupage services to the metals and engineering sectors, and is a shareholding member of the Palletline network, enabling the business to offer an even broader range of services to both new and existing customers.

Ian Davis, Director at Shepherd Distribution Services who took over the business with Laurence back in 2010 said:

“Since the turn of the century the company has gone from strength to strength, and as we celebrate 70 years of service it’s exciting to look to the future and see what it holds for Shepherd Distribution Services.”

Laurence concluded:

“It’s an extremely exciting, extremely proud time for the business and we have lots of events planned to mark our Platinum Anniversary. Looking back it’s great to see how the company has evolved and just how much it has achieved in the last seventy years – I prefer to think of us not as 70 years old but seventy years young!”

Not just a pallet carrier?