The first in a regular slot, we check in with customers who have adopted Qargo to see if the solution has fully delivered on its promise.
Haulage and warehousing company Joda Freight is a special client for Qargo as it was our first in the UK. With a fleet of over 50 vehicles plus three warehouses, the Yorkshire-based company was previously struggling with outdated data management, an archaic IT infrastructure and an over reliance on manual work for trip planning.
The company’s then newly-appointed warehouse and systems manager, Luke Ryan, realised that wholesale change was required to bring Joda Freight into the 2020s. After being impressed by Qargo’s demo, he convinced management to sign up and the onboarding process began. The last time we spoke to Luke was in March when the system was just about to go live and expectations were understandably running high.
Fast forward to the end of 2023 and we’re sitting back down with Luke to uncover how the Qargo solution has performed over the past months, and whether it has fully delivered on its potential – or fallen short. To judge, Luke had four key expectations for the new system. The first was Qargo’s ability to auto-extract info from client orders directly into the system.
“It’s working really well so far but there were always going to be hiccups,” says Luke. “For instance, the positioning of decimal points for weights within their orders could confuse the system.” He worked with Qargo to iron out such idiosyncrasies as “we didn’t want the customer to have to change to fit us – it should always be about changing the system to fit them,” explains Luke.
This level of commitment to customers also saw a new Qargo-powered customer portal introduced, which is proving to be a hit. For instance, Gondrand said “it is very quick to use and will soon become second nature”, while Northern Labels says it’s “nice and clear to look at jobs” and Bababing states “it’s brilliant” and “really easy”.
The next vital capability on Luke’s checklist was automating trip changes to stop planners having to spend significant time adjusting them manually. Since Qargo went live, Luke estimates they’re now saving an hour a day on planning: “Being able to assign resources by simply clicking and dragging them to where we want means we can alter manifests in moments, making the whole process so much more fluid and easy.”
Finally, being able to access the system from any device and from anywhere was also a key expectation. “While not ideal on mobile for obvious reasons, on every other platform, it works really well,” says Luke. “Also, there’s no need to set up a VPN or any other security measures if someone is working off site as Qargo handles all the security for you in the cloud.”
Ultimately, Joda Freight is delighted with the system, the exemplary customer support and most importantly, the genuine partnership that has grown between the company and Qargo. The feeling is mutual as Qargo’s Business Development Manager Samuel Evans reveals: “‘Partnership’ is a word that often gets banded around but without much meaning,” he explains. “However, at Qargo we truly believe in the power of collaboration, not just as a team but as a collective from our developers through to our customers."
“Importantly, you’re only ever as good as your best partners. It’s why we're all thankful for the fantastic partnership we have with Joda. Luke and the team are forward thinking enough to embrace change when needed and level headed enough to give critical feedback and ideas.”
Because of the partnership’s strength, Luke has now become an official UK ambassador for Qargo. Our CEO Adriaan Coppens explains: “Joda Freight had accepted multiple visits from other transport companies that wanted to learn how it used Qargo. This made Luke and the Joda Freight team an ideal choice to be our official ambassadors.”
From Luke’s point of view, “this means any potential new customers that want to speak to an existing client can come to us.” As a result, he has now spoken to over 10 customers with many of them going on to sign up with Qargo.
Such a collaboration has also been important for highlighting any issues. “As a developer, Qargo was sometimes looking at the whole process from a system rather than operational point of view,” recalls Luke. “The team needed to learn more about how to communicate with transport departments and planners in a way that would help prospects understand Qargo’s concepts instinctively.”
To achieve a positive outcome, Adriaan explains, “we spent a lot of time with Joda Freight to understand its planning and operations so that we could identify where we could help the company save the most time. In turn, this deep dive helped us to further hone our communication strategies with other potential clients. It means we can now speak to prospects in a language that more directly addresses their existing operational pains – and how Qargo can help resolve them.”
Another issue was with Qargo being, well, too good. Luke explains the majority of customers come from a SQL-based system, which utilises multiple colour-coded statuses. It means when they’re presented with Qargo for the first time, “they can look a bit like rabbits caught in headlights,” says Luke.
“They don’t know where to go or what to look at precisely because Qargo is so simple to use compared to their old system. They think that it’s too good to be true so I have to reassure them that it is the real deal and super quick to pick up and understand”.
Luke has become such an advocate for the brand that some prospects have wondered if he’s being paid by Qargo (for the record, he isn’t). From Luke’s point of view, his advocacy is about something far more important, even profound: The future of the industry itself.
Big picture thinking
“We’re in an industry where historically the attitude has been: ‘We don’t work with x, y or z because they’re a competitor’,” says Luke. But Joda Freight and Qargo want to change that: “We want everyone in the industry to work together via the Qargo system,” says Luke. “It’s why we came up with the idea of the Qargo network.”
The plan is to bring existing customers together every quarter to talk about the industry and how they can help each other. Luke explains: “The sector is dog-eat-dog but it shouldn’t be. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to make ends meet and make our businesses better – so why not help each other so everyone benefits? Qargo can help us achieve that”.
Qargo’s Adriaan Coppens concurs: “We want to help bring the sector closer together, creating deeper partnerships while increasing everyone’s profit margins. It’s why we’re looking forward to many more years growing side by side with Joda Freight and our other clients as, together, we drive the next generation of Transport Management Systems.”
“The future is looking bright.”