Mandata’s transport management solutions are helping haulage specialists Freight 44 attain their company ethos as they make way for future growth.
The Kent-based firm, whose company strapline is: “We take the stress from express!” adopted a Mandata Cloud TMS with an integrated Sage Accounting add-on in 2014 to help them do exactly that. The new system has helped by automating manual processes, and enabling the company to manage increased workloads, as the company continues to establish itself as a dedicated express delivery service in markets across the UK and Europe.
Operating a mixed fleet of vans, trucks, and temperature-controlled vehicles, Freight 44 work across multiple sectors of the haulage industry; transporting high-value consumables, refrigerated goods, medical products, and hazardous and dangerous goods for a multitude of high-profile clients.
Committed to providing the highest standard of service to their customers, Freight 44 recognised the need for a more structured administration system during an extended period of business growth last year.
Having never used a purpose-designed transport management system before, Director at Freight 44, Richard Chappell was put in touch with Mandata through a colleague in the industry.
“Before we adopted the Mandata Cloud TMS, the business was entirely run on Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets, which we shared through Google Docs with the rest of the team. This basic system of working was good for operations, because we had created it specifically how we wanted it to be; but it didn't back-up, and it didn't talk to the back-office. As we grew as a business, the volume of administration became far too great, and we found ourselves duplicating information and spending far too much time doing it,” Richard said.
“What Mandata has done is mirror our original working process within the TMS software, to create a system that works with us, and for us. Of course, Mandata improved it by automating the manual admin processes and provided us with the added benefit of an automatic data back-up system through the Cloud. This has given us back a huge chunk of time, which we can now spend developing other aspects of the business.”
One of the key areas Freight 44 was keen to improve upon after adopting the Cloud TMS was their billing and accounting processes. Richard explained:
“Sage has always been our chosen accounting software, but managing the amount of paperwork was a huge job. The integrated link between Sage and our Cloud TMS has sped the whole process up and we’re saving 2 to 3 hours each day.”
“For us, the system is great, especially for billing. Every client is different, some are very easy to bill for services, whereas others require lots of different references and POD numbers. With the TMS in place, all of this data is captured in one place and I have one dedicated person who looks after the invoices. Without a TMS, how do you begin to centrally collect multiple pieces of important information like that?”
The decision to adopt a Cloud-hosted system instead of a server based TMS was calculated on the cost factor, however, it has proved efficient in more ways than one.
Adding value to Freight 44
In terms of adding value to the company, Freight 44 are committed to getting the very best out of their TMS, utilising add-ons such as the Drag and Drop Traffic Pad for planning, as well as standard features like the address book to manage both client and sub-contractor contact details, across their 4 UK and European offices.
“Because our data is stored in the Cloud, we can pull it down from anywhere; we don't all have to be in the same office. Having a computerised system in place to manage our admin and finances means we can retain consistency across the business, plus it’s safer and easier to manage our data because it is all automatically backed-up by Mandata,” Richard said.
Freight 44 has tripled their workforce in the past year and successfully opened new offices in Ruse, Bulgaria and Alba Lulia, Romania. Looking to the future, the firm are keen to open more branches and grow the business further.
“Because our TMS is hosted in the Mandata Cloud, we can integrate our new offices remotely. That’s the beauty of it! We can grow with Mandata because we're not restricted by physical servers. In just under one year, we were actually able to open new offices because of the Mandata system.”
“Obviously a computer is only as good as the information you put into it, but our TMS is very valuable to us, it really does the job. If you took it away from us tomorrow, I don't know what would happen, but I'm sure there'd be problems and a whole load of manual work, so I wouldn't want to go there, it would be a right pain!”