21 Apr 2016 / Mandata TMS helps drive growth at Drive Direct

Steve Jones MD2

Drive Direct, Mandata TMS, Vehicle Logistics

Efficient business processes and good old fashioned customer service are the key ingredients for success at Drive Direct, a company providing a unique service to the motor industry.

The company, which collects and delivers commercial vehicles for operators, manufacturers and body builders across the UK and Europe has been growing 20% year-on-year since its inception and now employs over 100 drivers, from its base in Cheshire.

Managing Director at Drive Direct, Steve Jones is rather secretive about what they do and how they do it, but he insists there’s nothing mysterious about why they’re doing so well; he puts this success down to the way its staff look after its customers.

“If we say we’re going to do something by a certain day or time, we’ll do it. We’ve had the same principles since day one; to keep customers informed, never get complacent and always provide a high level of service.”

Systems that support business growth

Growing from a one man operation in 1997 to employing over 100 today is no mean feat, but for Steve Jones and the team at Drive Direct its growing pains have been minimal, since it adopted a Mandata transport management system, as Simon Rainey, the firm’s General Manager explains.

“We started out with 4 regular customers, 6 drivers and a paper-based manual system. We now manage over 100 accounts and the TMS is actively helping us to manage our growth, without having to employ additional staff in our planning and administration team.”

“When I first joined the company, there was an extremely basic system in place, everything was run manually on spreadsheets. Because of the nature of the business, we found it difficult to find a transport management system which could work for us; but Mandata gave us the option to create bespoke functionality to suit our way of working, and we’ve never looked back.”

The TMS bridges the communications gap between back-office staff and drivers and provides the firm with the flexibility it needs to enable the system to grow along with the business. Updated and managed remotely by Mandata, Drive Direct is enjoying the benefits of its TMS, free from the worries of having to maintain it.

“We’re only a small company, so the cost of bringing an IT department in-house would have far outweighed the cost of having Mandata look after our systems,” Simon said.

“The level of integration between the TMS and our additional modules such as Sage 50 and Web Services has really helped to streamline our admin processes. The improved levels of communication between our drivers and office staff, and the effectiveness of having everything saved back to one central location is adding value to the customer experience because we can access all of our up-to-date job information at the press of a button.”

Systems that provide peace of mind

Supported by Mandata’s new enterprise-class Disaster Recovery facility, Drive Direct can rest assured that their data is in safe hands.

“We still have paperwork as a back-up which we can scan into the TMS if needs be, but with the added peace of mind provided by the DR strategy, it’s not really necessary.”

“If we didn’t have a system in place like Mandata, we couldn’t cope with the increased workload,” Simon explained.

“Our customers demand the highest level of service and want to see that we’ve got a full history of their vehicle movements on record. The Mandata system allows us to make that information available to them with full traceability for the customer. They can see if their vehicle has been picked up or delivered, and vehicle inspection data with supporting photos, POC and POD information is proving our reliability. Everything is there if they need it.”

“Mandata has given staff the tools to be able to do their jobs and do them well. From the moment an enquiry comes in, to the moment the invoice is sent out to the customer, everything is recorded in the TMS, we have the full job lifecycle saved securely in one place. The system is efficient, and it works.”

Systems that support the future

Looking to the future, Drive Direct is keen to expand further into the continental market and win more new contracts with larger clients.

“At this point, progression is at a sensible level, where with the system’s help, we can manage it effectively, so the sky’s the limit.”

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