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Customer Revisited: Welch’s Transport

In a regular slot, we check in with customers who have adopted Qargo to see if the solution has delivered on its promise.

With 165 employees, 100,000 square feet of warehousing and a fleet of 70 vehicles, Welch’s Transport is a respected transporter with a rich 80-year history. To prepare for the future, the family-run company wanted to source a centralised cloud-based platform that offered exceptional TMS capabilities and would integrate fully with existing onsite systems.

It’s why Chris Welch, Commercial and Operational Director at Welch’s Transport, was intrigued when a colleague told him in late 2022 about a cold call they’d received from Qargo promoting its TMS solution. This discussion led to demos and soon, Chris was sold on the system’s customisable feature sets, user interface and its potential for exceptional productivity gains. And, despite Belgium-based Qargo being a relatively new company in the UK at the time, Chris remained convinced and Welch’s Transport signed up in summer 2023.

“Qargo was so clean, so refreshing, so intuitive. It was just so easy to use.”

Phased approach

After a busy few months onboarding, the platform was ready for rollout in October. However, to ensure any teething issues wouldn’t impact on the company, Chris adopted a phased approach, implementing Qargo in a smaller department initially. “The Specialist Movements operation only deals with 50 jobs a month so it was perfect for getting a sound footing before going live across the entire company,” says Chris.

The trial was successful so Chris green lit Qargo for Welch’s Transport’s two main depots on 2 January, which combined process 10,000 jobs a month. To deliver a successful rollout on such a large scale, “Qargo was on site between Christmas and the New Year to ensure a smooth implementation,” recalls Chris. “They then stayed with us after the New Year for a week, delivering training to our staff so they fully understood the system.”

“The Qargo team back in Belgium on live chat were just as amazing as the personnel onsite.”

Easy learning

This combination of in-person and digital support proved effective as, after only two days of training, Welch’s Transport staff were confident enough to be left to their own devices. Such confidence is well founded as Qargo has already begun delivering on the key benefits Chris wanted and expected.

First is the ability to track each and every consignment. “It’s TMS reimagined,” says Chris. “Qargo makes it easier to follow, investigate and add to each and every journey. All the things that our operations teams do day-to-day are now just plain easier – and that means it’s all quicker, too.”

Optimising operations

Operational activities are now benefiting from a 10% reduction in time taken every day with plans to get that up to 30% once Qargo is fully integrated. “Every single driver and their itinerary for the day can be monitored in the moment,” explains Chris. “So if we have 25 vehicles out delivering, we can optimise, for example, the load and unloading times for each driver on the fly.”

That might mean only saving, say, two minutes per load but that soon adds up over the course of a month. Crucially, key parts of the delivery process – from offering drivers access to Google Maps for ease of navigation through to taking a quick photo of the delivery plus any paperwork – can all be done in-PDA. Any data and images are then automatically uploaded to the Qargo platform for instant monitoring and analysis.

“Driver and journey issues are becoming less and less frequent because the system is so easy – you can see any issue happening before it happens!”

Calculating costs

Another key selling point for Chris was Qargo’s ability to calculate the costs and revenue from every job across multiple depots and bring them together into one centralised platform, “a capability not offered by other TMS solutions,” explains Chris. Welch’s Transport and Qargo are currently working on creating a tailored approach, moving away from a vehicle-based cost model towards a pence-per-mile one.

“Qargo gives you the potential profitability insights for every delivery as you plan it,” explains Chris. “You don’t have to wait for it to happen either – or until the end of the month. It’s right there on the live dashboard, giving us the autonomy and flexibility we need to create our own variables, parameters and unique approach – not the platform’s.”

Smarter business

The powerful tracking features and costs capabilities lead into the third benefit – the ability to glean real insights from across the business. “I can see how much revenue is being generated right there on my desktop,” explains Chris, “instead of wasting time on lengthy export processes. I can also click on tabs relating to operations, distances, invoices, pickups and more, all from within the dashboard.”

In turn, this raft of insights creates vital business intelligence. Chris and his team can now make strategic decisions much more quickly across all areas of the company. “I get BI insights in an instant, which means we have genuine business clarity from moment to moment, instead of from month to month.

“I used to take up to two hours to prep insights for a meeting. With Qargo, it now takes less than 10 minutes.”

Powerful APIs

Underpinning these services is Qargo’s integration capabilities, offering a suite of powerful APIs. However, there are limitations – but not ones caused by the platform. “Qargo has hit the glass ceiling of every integration we want to do,” says Chris. “So, for example, with the PalletLine system (see below), it’s now up to us to rebuild those APIs so we can enjoy fuller integration – and that’s already in the process of being addressed.”

There have also been unforeseen advantages that have surprised Chris. For instance, the simplicity of photo and paperwork uploading has hugely improved customer experiences: “It offers such a great experience that customers are actually thanking us,” says Chris.

But the biggest surprise for Chris? A TMS provider that has actually delivered on what it said it would: “In the TMS market, it’s a surprise when a company releases something within the timelines it said it would – and the software does what it’s supposed to on release,” says Chris.

“Yes, there have been instances where things got a little rocky, for instance, if an update falls over. However, Qargo simply reverts us back to the previous version and resolves the issue before giving us a refreshed update when it’s ready. We don’t have to do a thing.”

“The ability to resolve any issue almost instantly is a key benefit of Qargo being cloud-based.”

Advocacy matters

Ultimately, so impressed has Chris been with Qargo, he’s become an advocate for the platform, leading to six other local hauliers signing up based on his recommendation. Crucially, Welch’s Transport is a partner in Palletline, the palletised freight distribution network. Its TMS solution was reaching end-of-life and, because of Chris’s advocacy, 12 out of 32 members have signed up to Qargo so far compared to the closest rival that has secured three.

“It’s not about the recognition from my colleagues in the industry though,” explains Chris. “It’s the reassurance that everyone can now see what I saw all those months ago – that Qargo is the real deal. People have recognised the strength of the system and are now moving to it.”

Ultimate approval

Most importantly, the successful transition to Qargo is about family, the heart of Welch’s Transport. Jim Welch, Chris’s father and Managing Director of the company, had been uncertain about Qargo when he first heard about it: “To be blunt, he told me I was a nutter for deciding to move to Qargo before anyone else did,” recalls Chris.

“But he now appreciates that it was a strong move as all the hauliers from across so many generations are now moving to Qargo as well. It’s validated my decision, meaning I can now sleep better at night!”

“The next exciting step on the Qargo roadmap is its CO2-accredited calculator, which will be a massive benefit to us and our customers – and our journey towards Net Zero.”


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