Estron is a versatile logistics service provider whose main activity is trailer transport to the United Kingdom. It has some 300 trailers constantly on the move. The company does its planning in a comprehensive Transport Management System (TMS) from Yellowstar. This TMS gives planners an overall view at all times, improves customer service and provides insight into driver performance. "We can now do 20% to 25% more with the same team. We are ready for further growth."
- Complete TMS, including customer portal and Star App Driver
- Comprehensive intuitive planning board
- Customer portal puts customers in control
- Star App Driver for instructions and real-time driver feedback
The heart of Estron's TMS is a comprehensive planning board, divided into separate sections for the EU and the UK. Planners always have an overall view. It is a simple matter to link customer orders that need to be scheduled to available trailers and drivers on the screen. General Manager Patrick Noordzij: "When a planner links cargo to a trailer, they can immediately see how many empty kilometres that will involve. If there are too many empty kilometres, an alert is automatically generated. The same thing happens when a load/partial load exceeds the trailer's capacity. This means our planners always arrive at the optimal combinations." Once a trailer has been scheduled, a booking with ferry partner Stena Line is made with one click from the planning board. Customs information also goes to the ferry company automatically via Portbase. Ward Groen, responsible for implementing the TMS at Estron: "By extending the TMS, we have dynamically responded to Brexit."
Improved and simplified customer portal
Thanks to a separate customer portal, the TMS also improves the customer experience and simplifies processes. Noordzij: "In the customer portal, customers can use a rate calculator to request rates, they can submit orders, view orders and track the status of their cargo themselves. Effectively, it works the same as at a shopping site like bol.com – you place an order and then you are automatically informed of every step along the way." As well as providing a better service, the customer portal thus cuts out a lot of phone calls and e-mail traffic for Estron. "Which means our customer service staff have more time to actively look for new cargo." Meanwhile, the customer portal continues to evolve. Groen: "Warehouse customers are also being integrated into the portal. Customers who use Estron for both transportation and warehousing no longer have to go to two separate portals."
Every step visible via Star App Driver
Much of the status information Estron offers customers comes from the Star App Driver that drivers now use when they are on the road. Noordzij: "The moment a planner links a driver to an order, they can immediately see the instructions for their trip in the app. Using the app, they complete all the steps: from the start of the route, arrival at the loading address, etc. The driver reports back on every step via the app and everything is automatically visible in the schedule. They can also send photos of the bill of lading, for example – all things our planners previously had to constantly chase. The status information is then also visible in real time in the customer portal."
A world of difference
The TMS is becoming increasingly sophisticated. The system is linked to Estron's ERP via an API, and API links are also in place with Stena Line and Portbase. Information goes back and forth at lightning speed. Groen: "Changes are automatically made everywhere simultaneously. That saves a lot of time and prevents errors."
Estron is excited about its partnership with Yellowstar, which now goes back several years. Further innovation is taking place step by step. Noordzij: "Our employees were a bit hesitant at first. But now people are seeing the benefits of using IT. Planning is a lot easier. The peace of mind that has created makes a world of difference. Before, everything always had to be done at once. Now there is one tool – now also incorporating order forwarding – that offers much greater transparency and adapts dynamically. The old systems really didn't lend themselves to our kind of work."