United Courier Services (U.C.S.), based near Basildon, UK was formed in 2006 to take advantage of 40 years of family experience in the logistics industry. U.C.S. provides traditional sameday transport along with specialist delivery for garment and print/display companies.
U.C.S. uses a mixture of permanent and subcontracted staff to deliver a personalised service to customers via a mixed fleet of vehicles from motorbikes to 17 tonne artics, including customised vehicles for delivering 3,000 garments per load.
In the early days of the business, accounting was carried out on Excel spreadsheets and PODs were paper-based. Many man-hours were spent scanning or faxing PODs to customers, which took senior management away from the lifeblood of the business – new sales.
Kevin Davies, Managing Director of U.C.S. takes up the story: “We used to use traditional carbon paper PODs which, by the time they got back to the office, many were either unreadable from bad weather or torn. We were unable to invoice until this hard copy POD was received, which, for drivers who are based on the other side of the country, sometimes meant days. This lead to delays in us receiving payments from customers”
Having seen the big players in the logistics markets using handheld computers, Kevin searched the internet for a similar system for smaller companies and found The PODFather. Kevin explains: “After trialling the system using Orbit XDA PDAs, I quickly began to realise the benefits. However, during our trial we had to key each job via a desktop PC in the office. As we are a growing business with new contracts to be fulfilled, sometimes everyone is out on the road, which makes keying jobs on a PC difficult.”
“Everything changed when my account manager, Tony Ward, demonstrated a module of The PODFather which allowed the driver to create new jobs on the handheld computer while out and about. So, not only were the drivers returning electronic signed PODs with photographs attached, if a customer needed a new job carried out in a rush, the driver could create the job on the PDA then and there.”
Tony explains: “The PODFather is more than proof of delivery, in that the backoffice system has a number of powerful modules, which not only let you import and create delivery jobs, but allocate them to runs or drivers in a number of ways, including visualising the jobs on a Google map. There are vehicle, product and tariff databases allowing vehicle/job rates to be stored per-customer, meaning quotes can quickly be prepared. And the invoicing module allows batches of PDF invoices to be created from PODs on a per-customer basis, which can be emailed out thus saving paper, administration time and postage expenses.”
Kevin continues: “The feedback I have received from clients is excellent. They have logins to The PODFather’s customer portal so, should they accidently lose one of the PODs that is automatically emailed to them, they can log into the portal and retrieve a copy themselves, thus saving us admin time and expense.”
“The PODFather gives me the edge over competitors still using old delivery notes, and is so user-friendly. I believe in getting value for money, and The PODFather has got to be the best investment I have made for my company.”