If It’s Not Broken, Why Fix It? – Realizing the Room for Improvement in Bulk Material Operations

September 17, 2018 Karli Langner

Without even realizing it, many of us waste time during the workday. Out-of-date methods and manual processes tie up time, efforts, and budgets. Many tasks could be easily automated and further optimized. Yet, you are stuck in inefficiency because you may not be aware of the alternatives available. Options are definitely out there – digital solutions can do wonders for your business!

Changing your current manual process to a computer-based system can improve your commercial opportunity, deliver a greater transparency of operational costs, and provide full visibility of the business from a single, centralized software solution.

The dispatching and ticketing methods that are currently in operation in many businesses are not as efficient as they could be. Sure, this method works now and has worked for many years – but, what if you had a single, integrated software package that could improve these manual processes, maximize profits, and provide a substantial return on your investment?

With a system like this empowers your sales team to generate and send quotes directly from a device and then have it sent back to dispatch as a confirmed order. This keeps your sales guy in the field and can eliminate inaccuracies while quoting customers.

A computerized system is much easier than manual work. All that you have to do is search for the materials that were ordered and enter the address that they need to be shipped to. If there are any additional charges, the computer can calculate these and compose a formulated quotation that can be emailed directly to your customer. With a decent quotation package, you can set follow-up calls and analyze your win percentage against your lost opportunities. If you are operating on a paper system, it’s extremely inconvenient and time consuming to conduct this simple sales process.

Once the quotation has been accepted, your customer can call in to schedule their job. When using a computer-based system, you have live access to the dispatch screen and you can allocate the jobs correctly.

When it comes to dispatch tracking, having a truck tracking system to work directly with your shipping screen allows you to make educated decisions on the fly. This kind of system helps you to identify specific areas for improvement and gives you a clear, continual view of your entire fleet’s location and performance, including:

  • Monitoring frequency and length of breaks.
  • Viewing driver stops, starts, and in-cab attendance in real time.
  • Spotting route variations and deviations.
  • Examining unplanned delays.
  • Documenting driver safety practices.
  • Mapping truck location and status in real time.
  • Verifying hours-of-service compliance.

Once on site, there are two ways that drivers can check in their vehicles: an efficient way, and an inefficient way. Drivers can pull up to the weighbridge and either check in manually, or use the check in window if available. At this point, the dispatcher would enter his vehicle number in to the system and all of his details would populate on the computer. They would then inform the driver of his load and send him in to the quarry.

A more efficient way to do this is to install some form of AutoID and use the technology to guide him through the quarry. This configuration provides huge time savings benefits and would also improve the health and safety record by keeping the drivers in the trucks at all times.

After being loaded, vehicles proceed to the scale house. With a digital solution, the scale is linked to a computer system. The ticket would print the correct weight, and tickets would no longer have to be adjusted.

Automating these processes can improve customer service, provide a common system that allows your employees to manage the business from quote through to collection, reduce the risk of under and overweighs by having the scale head linked directly to the software, automate invoice on completion of jobs – and, from a management level, access the entire operation whenever you want.

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