“What used to take all afternoon I now do in an hour”
Since he started using Qargo, Kristof Schiepers spends far less time on paperwork
“Ten trucks, ten drivers and no one at the office. I handle all administrative duties myself and I hope to keep it that way.” That is how Kristof Schiepers summarises his business. However, for this business owner who works long hours, office work is one of the main time wasters. Consequently he was the perfect candidate to become one of the first Qargo users. From a manual approach his desk work gradually shifted to a digital platform, giving Kristof his Sundays back and making the investment more than worthwhile.
Until recently Schiepers Transport handled all its administrative tasks manually. Follow up incoming orders, hand them to the right drivers, follow up all journeys, billing... It’s an endless procession of phone calls and email traffic, plenty of pen and paper and the odd Excel sheet. “I jotted down everything that came in on a sheet of paper and I would then draw arrows to the right drivers”, Kristof explains. Then afterwards he still had to manually enter the hours worked in the sheet of the customer in question.
A bit of a chore, he admits. “Fifteen-hour days are standard for me, from Monday through Saturday. On Sundays I only work half a day.” Because in addition to doing the paperwork Kristof also drives his own truck, he services his fleet and takes the trucks to technical inspection. As a result, all administrative duties have to wait until the evening and the weekend.
“It’s given me back my Sundays, which used to be reserved for billing.”
Times are changing
Over the last fifteen years this manual approach worked just fine for Kristof but he says the sector has changed in recent years. “In the old days there were fewer trucks and the work was more predictable because we had more repeat assignments. Nowadays there are more one-off orders. The work has become less predictable and therefore much harder to plan. Moreover, we increasingly work on an hourly basis instead of charging a standard freight rate and this complicates the administrative process.”
A faster and more accurate administrative process
In January Schiepers Transport switched to Qargo for its administration. For the time being the software is mainly used for billing purposes and that alone saves Kristof loads of time. “Last Sunday I made 25 invoices in one hour’s time, sending included. Until recently that would easily have cost me all afternoon.” He adds that billing is also more accurate now. “There are no more calculation errors because we use fixed price lists per customer.”
In addition, Kristof also has a transparent overview of all completed journeys. “Now I can easily see the turnover per truck or per driver. With today’s diesel prices that’s an absolute necessity.”
A joint process
The switch to Qargo was preceded by an extensive trial period. “We started together from scratch, making adjustments along the way. Whenever I had questions I received an immediate reply, even at the ungodly hours I spend behind my desk (laughs).”
As a result the software gradually became geared to the needs of the industry today. “Hourly billing is often a very laborious process in other software packages whereas in our business this is increasingly becoming common practice. Qargo keyed into this and made hourly billing easy.”
Even conservative companies can no longer do without TMS
Although Qargo is the first software package Kristof tried, it was not an unexpected move. “Haulage is a funny industry. On the one hand there are major players that use the old familiar packages and on the other there are businesses like ours that still use a conservative approach. It’s not a high-tech industry but it was always my plan to invest in software somewhere down the line because soon you won’t be able to do without it.”
The new system has also opened the door to administrative support. “Now I would be okay with someone working at the office. Until recently I didn’t want to hear of it because from a financial standpoint a whole lot more can go wrong behind a desk than in the actual trucks. Qargo has made it much easier for me to delegate aspects like billing to someone else.”
“We are not a high-tech sector but a TMS will soon become indispensable”
A digital future
Digitalising the billing process may save Kristof half a Sunday but he is aware the software has much more to offer. “Once we are fully familiar with the order input process
we can also start using the mobile application, allowing drivers to register their worked hours automatically because that would save a great deal of additional time.”