“Not just a software package, but a partner too”
D’hooghe Lifting & Transport has regained full operational overview, thanks to Qargo
“Outlook Diary, Excel, e-mail, etc. All these worked perfectly fine, but we always had to enter the same data four times.” Before Geert D’hooghe found out about Qargo, his company was mainly running on Microsoft Office. The process worked, but it was extremely time-consuming with a high likelihood of errors. The time for a TMS had come. “There are plenty of invoicing and planning programs out there, but we were on the lookout for an all-in-one. Qargo turned out to be just the thing we needed.”
"Without Qargo we would have needed much more time and people to realise this growth."
Before Geert D’hooghe found out about Qargo, he had already been searching for a new Transport Management System. Geerts says: “We were looking for a program that could do it all: compiling quotes, planning, invoicing, post-calculation and pre-invoicing for our sub-contractors. I only had two basic requirements: the system had to be fully cloud-based, and we did not want any servers or on-board computers.”
The latter seemed to pose the biggest problem for the main players on the market. According to Geert: “Most suppliers do not offer mobile applications, and their systems operate with on-board computers that cost EUR 500.00 per unit, whereas nowadays almost everyone has a smartphone. What’s more, we work with self-employed sub-contractors, and they do not have any on-board computers.” This last requirement considerably restricted Geert’s options.
Even the cloud requirement did not seem all that self-evident. “We were often offered to switch everything to cloud computing, but that meant paying a fee of tens of thousands of euros.” Finally, Geert whittled down his choice to four systems to undergo testing. The test phase was still in full progress when Qargo came knocking on the door. “After a few talks and a demo, we decided fairly quickly to go ahead with them and I have not regretted that decision one little bit.”
The user-friendliness of the software was the deciding factor. “It is simple and accessible. Just imagine that you have someone new starting tomorrow. Well, that person would be able to forge ahead after just one day’s training. That was the main difference with all the other systems. To be able to get up and running and inputting orders in just a couple of clicks. With the other systems which we tested, you sometimes had to click six to seven times before you could even start. That’s when we knew Qargo was the solution for us.
From All-Over-the-Place, to an All-In-1
In the past, our orders came in from just about anywhere: by text on WhatsApp, or by e-mail or telephone. However, Geert was often on the road himself, so it was difficult to centralise all that information. “We did all that in Outlook diary, but it did not give us a good overview. And what about the customers themselves? “I had them all in my head. The fact that we did not have a central system was a particular problem with urgent orders. I would receive the order, and I would use the track-and-trace system to see who was in the closest vicinity. I would then call that driver, and that was it. Those orders were not written down, and when it came to invoicing that job some weeks later, we had to trace back exactly what had happened.”
With Qargo that problem is eliminated. “From the moment we create an order in the system, even if it is only at the quotation stage, it can no longer be deleted. In the past, we sometimes received invoices which we were unable to link to anything, and that no longer happens now. We can also add several attachments to the order, such as e-mails, assignments, some scheduling information, etc. This means that everything is stored in one place. Before, the site foreman might leave our planning manager a note on their desk, or messages would be sent by WhatsApp in the meantime, and at times orders would only be received verbally. Now all this information is centralised, and that makes it easier for us to cross-check everything.”
Now that everything is fully computerised, D’hooghe can invoice jobs much quicker. “The main feedback which I get from my personnel, is that we have regained a full overview of the invoicing process. We now know exactly what needs to be invoiced, and what has already been invoiced.” That speeds up the work process. “The period between the actual job and sending the invoice has been halved, because we are collecting more information. If something is missing, we notice that much sooner. We would not have been able to achieve that without Qargo. Our cashflow has vastly improved.”
"We are invoicing twice as fast as before, which has vastly improved our cashflow."
A Useful Helpdesk
Our members of staff who use the software 4-6 hours a day, quickly got to grips with the new system. According to Geert, this is mainly thanks to the helpdesk. “There are always questions to be asked, but they are always resolved promptly, and we are very happy about that. With other helpdesks it can sometimes be never-ending, but at Qargo they quickly help you out.” And if there is no immediate solution available, they will work one out for you. Geert chuckles: “We actually feel that we have custom-designed software. Whenever we ask Qargo something, they give you the feeling that it is all possible, and if it is not, they look for ways to meet your requirement as closely as possible. And if that takes a little longer, they will come up with a temporary solution in the meantime.”
"We actually feel that we have custom-designed software"
D’hooghe Lifting & Transport has changed a great deal in recent months, and this has required considerable effort. “Our turnover has increased by 40% since we have been working with Qargo. Without Qargo we would have needed more time and people to achieve that growth. Because we are doing so much more business now, we are still spending a lot of time on administration. However, if the workload had remained the same, I am sure that we would have done it in half the time.”
“Operational growth is one thing, but I did underestimate the administrative rigmarole despite my many years’ experience in the industry,” says Geert. “There are so many things involved, so we deliberately decided to join forces with Qargo to get the company computerised at every level. And we are very fortunate to have found just the right partner for that.”