This level of growth has brought changes in the way that Carters operates – not least in having to streamline and refine processes, to ensure efficiency as it scaled.
One issue was the way in which the company manages its proof of delivery (POD) process, as Richard Burke General Manager explains. “As a distribution provider, we have to accommodate the POD preferences of multiple clients. Some want to get a signature on an invoice, some have their own POD format, some use ours.
Some use paper and some sign on glass. We needed to capture all this POD data, store it internally and ensure that a copy is sent back to the client, in the right format. As our customer base grew, so did the diversity of requirements, and it became very onerous to manage.”
"We needed to cut down our POD processing time down from hours to minutes" - Richard Burke, General Manager
With the time to process PODs increasing, Richard knew he needed a solution that could automate the task, cope with the scope and which would deliver efficiency. “We needed to cut our POD processing time down from hours to minutes”, Richard explains.
In his search of the market, he spoke to an Account Manager at Toshiba, and was impressed with his knowledge of the logistics industry. The Account Manager introduced a Toshiba Solution Consultant, who was able to map Richard’s pain points, recommend the most appropriate solution and demonstrate how it would meet Carters’ needs having grappled with the issue over a long period of time, Richard was delighted that what Toshiba proposed was one that could be implemented very rapidly.
The solution utilises Toshiba’s print/scan technology which allows Carters to capture and interpret PODs in all formats and allocate the document based on the information in it. “It’s a really smart system”, explains Richard. “It knows what to look for based on the document format, by capturing, interpreting and appending meta data content, and uses it to kick off a workflow process, combined with automating the customer notification and filing process.”
Toshiba provides the solution as a managed service, with a single monthly payment based on usage, making it very easy to administer.
The Toshiba solution has had a big impact on the business – it has reduced the time spent processing PODs by 3 hours a day, or 15 hours a week. “It streamlined the current unscaleable and resource heavy process and supported increased business”, says Richard. “With the automated system I can push through more and more PODs without needing additional resources.”
Support is very important to Richard – “You need to know you can always ask a question or get the necessary upgrades”, he explains. “Everyone says they provide good support, but I’ve dealt with vendors where the account manager disappears after the initial sale and the lack of support cripples the solution.”
“That’s certainly not the case with Toshiba,” he continues, “their support and responsiveness is second to none. If we ever do have a query or issue, they are on to it really quickly, which is essential, because we’ve come to depend so heavily on the system.”
Richard is particularly impressed by the accessibility of his Account Manager. “In other organisations, you have to log a support call just to get to speak to someone”, he says, “but I can ring for any post-sales questions.”
The Toshiba system has transformed the POD processing that is at the heart of Carters business. The smart scanning and workflow technology has dramatically improved productivity and the scalability of the solution gives Richard total confidence that it will match the continued growth he envisages for the A Carter and Sons business.
A Carter & Sons
Tel: (02) 8775 9000