Key investment in new technology and warehousing facilities is laying the foundations for future expansion at George H. Kime & Co.
The General Haulage firm, which has been transporting FMCG goods for food manufacturers and suppliers in the Lincolnshire region for over 86 years, has seen some huge changes in the past 12 months. In preparation for further business growth, the firm has just purchased a new 6-acre site at Sleaford, complete with a 90,000 sq ft warehousing facility to add to its harem of existing depots at Boston and Lincoln; as well as a new Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Cloud-hosted Transport Management System (TMS) from Mandata.
For over 15 years, Kime’s transport operation had been managed by a bespoke TMS which was actually purpose-built for a different haulage company, and simply tweaked to work to Kime’s business model. Managing Director at George H. Kime & Co., Nigel Kime, admits that there was some initial hesitation to replace the system that they had used for so long, but now that they have, that they would never look back.
“It’s often difficult to admit that a new system is the right system, but since adopting the Mandata Cloud TMS, we’ve had no regrets at all, it’s the best thing since sliced bread!” Nigel said.
“We had been toying with the idea of upgrading our systems for about 3 years, our old system was starting to become unreliable and we didn’t have the support in place that we wanted. We initially looked at a few different suppliers, but I had always liked Mandata’s systems, so at last year’s CV Show, we took the plunge and we’ve never looked back; it makes our old system look absolutely abysmal!”
Kime’s opted for a Cloud-hosted Mandata TMS so it could take full advantage of the automatic software updates, and the additional security provided by Mandata’s enterprise-class data recovery platform and back-up services. The web-based system has also provided the company with the flexibility to integrate its 3 depots together, along with its TPN pallet network system, to aid more collaborative working, and simplify planning processes.
Despite only recently going live with the Mandata Cloud TMS, Kime’s is already starting to see tangible benefits from its investment. The integration between the TMS and Kime’s additional Mandata modules, such as the WMS and DIP (Document Image Processing) systems, as well as the automation of manual job entry between the firm’s TPN system and the TMS, is already helping the company to save admin time, reduce costs and drive efficiency across the business.
“The level of detail we’re getting from the TMS is brilliant. The job planning and load building functionality within the Traffic Pad works really well, and the way that we can scan PODs and attach them to invoices is helping us to save admin time. We actually have a member of staff leaving next week, and because the system is so competent, we’re not even having to replace him, so it’s saving us costs too,” Nigel said.
“I think the biggest benefit so far however is the way that the TMS has automated how we receive jobs from our pallet network system. Before we adopted our Mandata TMS, we had to manually copy all of the job details from one system to the other. Now, our TPN customers put their jobs on the TPN system, then we export them directly into the Mandata TMS, its so much easier. By automating our data input, the system minimises the room for human error through double-keying, so the information is more accurate; it even de-dupes the data as it imports it back into the TMS, so any duplicate jobs don’t get processed. It’s very intuitive.”
Over the coming weeks, Kime’s will be going-live with the second phase of its Mandata implementation, and will be starting to allow some of its larger customers to book their own jobs and full-loads online through its new Web Services Customer Portal.
“I feel that our bigger customers will start to see the benefit of the new system really quickly once we start letting them book their own jobs online,” Nigel said.
“The Web Services Customer Portal will also make a huge difference to the staff in the traffic office, and will help us to save even more admin time.”
Looking to the immediate future, having made so many operational changes to the business over the past 12 months, Kime’s is ready to sit back and take stock for a while before furthering its plans for expansion.
“So much has happened in the last year or so, it’s time to sit back, consolidate, and get all of our new systems working as they should be before we expand any further. The long-term plan is definitely to continue to grow, we just need to ease up for a little while and make sure that we’re ready for it,” Nigel said.
As far as our working partnership with Mandata goes, it’s early days, but our Mandata systems are going to be instrumental in our plans for growing the business, and we hope that this is the start of a very, very long relationship.”
“The plan is that over the next one, two, maybe ten years, we can continually improve our systems on the back of what we have just recently put in place. As far as I see it, we’re not going anywhere. We’ve been in business for 86 years, and we plan on being here for another 86 years, and having an effective system in place is what is going to help us to move with the times.”