Boonstra Transport is a third-generation family business that has been active in the transport sector since the 1920s. At that time, Boonstra was related to the cattle trade, where they took care of the transport. Over the years, the company increasingly focused on transport activities. Meanwhile, the organisation has grown into a sizeable company with 110 units on the road and more than 150 employees. The transport company has a large and dense distribution network within the Benelux and Western Europe, which means that deliveries within 24 hours and home deliveries are among the many possibilities.
Boonstra transports all kinds of products from commodities, machines, flowers and plants to live poultry. The innovative company uses modern, ultra-light vehicles that can not only can be fully laden but are also suitable for many different types of loads such as pallets, long lengths of aluminium and concrete slabs. In addition, Boonstra has had multi-functional containers developed for loading and unloading both commodities and semi-finished products. These are lightweight containers and have various loading options which enable the transportation of larger equipment or freight with unusual dimensions. By using these containers, it becomes unnecessary to use different types of vehicles for different types of cargo. Boonstra has a number of market-leading specialisms, including the transport of aluminium within Europe and the provision of transport in the horticultural sector. Also, in the field of warehousing, Boonstra offers a wide range of storage and warehouse activities such as packaging and repackaging and labelling. In total, Boonstra has 7500 m2 of warehouse space a large part of which can provide heated storage options.
As a company you can’t stand still. We are now focusing on providing secure transport that complies with TAPA guidelines. (ed. TAPA provides certification for secure transport, comparable to ISO in terms of stringency and regulation). Unfortunately, in recent years there has been an increase in the number of cases of theft in the transport world. Therefore, we have equipment that is fully resistant to this, and we can offer secure transport as a service. Not just the hardware has extra security, but software is also used, for example, to monitor the route taken by the transport from end to end. All aimed at ensuring the safety of our customers’ goods and our own staff. The aim is to achieve the highest level of TAPA certification, so that we can also distinguish ourselves in the market with this form of service.
The company has a strong focus on CSR, or as Boonstra refers to it: Environment, Safety and Good business. For example, we try to ensure our fleet meets the highest level of Euro environmental standards, and when investing in vehicles we consider their long-term environmental impact. By making use of innovative products such as lightweight containers, the number of “empty kilometres” is pushed down, resulting in lower CO2 emissions. Boonstra was one of the first companies with its own filling station where you could fill up with AdBlue as well as diesel (AdBlue is an additive that makes for cleaner driving with diesel). Something different, and future-oriented, is the heating of warehouses, which is done using geothermal heat, making all the warehouse heating CO2 neutral. The new warehouses are also being equipped with solar thermal collectors.
The wellbeing and health of employees is an important issue for Boonstra. Vehicle technologies are installed, such as monitors of the distance to the vehicle in front and cameras for blind spots, to provide greater safety while driving. Working conditions and the health of employees both on the road and in the office are carefully monitored. Boonstra also invests in the development of its employees by providing training opportunities.
The management is the third generation of Boonstras, and transport is in their blood. They have grown up in this industry and know the organisation and the market better than anyone. That perfectly illustrates the strength of a family business; management that is passionate and involved, creating mutual commitment and inspiring customer confidence. Boonstra has a strong vision when it comes to investing in quality with an eye on the future. Sometimes, investing in modern equipment, for example, seemed a bold choice in times when the transport sector was not doing well. By sticking to this vision, the organisation has not only managed to stay afloat, but has also continued to grow in recent years..
Investing is necessary in this sector. Investing in equipment is one thing but investing in ICT is tricky business for many organisations. Luckily, this company sees things differently; you also need to invest in the tools that make sure that processes run more efficiently. That has brought us big benefits. For example, in a few years we grew to have one hundred and ten vehicles without us having really noticed much here in the office. We were able to accomplish more work with the same number of people, by being efficient in our processes. Eventually, we were able to compensate for the natural wastage (i.e., employees retiring) at the office through automation. This meant a reduction in staff of 40%.
Selecting a scanning solution
The growth of the company was the reason for looking for a scanning solution. Every week they received over a thousand orders with different freight documents, such as CMRs, packing vouchers and transport orders. Just the manual process of sorting these out was time-consuming. In addition, all documents had to be filed in folders and the archives were bursting at the seams. The TMS system (Transport Management System) used at the time no longer met the requirements of the ever-growing organisation, so the search began for a new TMS system and a scanning solution to match. Currently, Boonstra Transport receives approximately 1500 orders per week. The orders often consist of multiple order lines and each order creates a freight document that must be processed in the administration.
It happened more frequently that all the transport documents still needed to be tidied up in the evening. The filing cabinets for storing everything were full within six months and then the folders had to be moved back to the archive. Something needed to be done. By digitising, the invoicing process could also be speeded up. The combination of reducing the amount of work and speeding up the invoicing process were the most important reasons for starting to digitalise the processes.
Finally, they chose Transpas, the TMS system from ArtSystems, combined with ImageCapture for Documents software for the digitalisation of their freight documents. A few years later, Boonstra started working with Exact Globe and Synergy as their financial application, and they also started using ImageCapture for Invoices for the automated processing of their invoices in Exact Globe with a connection to the approval workflow in Exact Synergy. Every year, Boonstra processes around 8,000 invoices, which are partly purchase related invoices, and partly overhead invoices.
We take our time when making decisions. As a result, we rarely regret a decision we have made. So far, we have never regretted choosing the scanning solution offered by Scan Sys and our TMS system Transpas. The reason we chose Scan Sys is that its vision was in line with ours, namely the optimisation and automation of the process rather than a hardware-based solution.
The consignment notes are processed using ImageCapture; the process starts with the incoming orders. The orders are assigned to different routes in Transpas by the planners. A so-called route plan is created that is passed to the driver. A barcode is printed on the list with the route number, registration number and driver number. At the end of the route, the driver hands in his documents and these are scanned with the help of the barcode. The route number is recognized immediately in ImageCapture, using the barcode. This means that the freight documents are automatically linked to the right file in Transpas. If unattached freight documents have to be scanned, ImageCapture will first propose a selection of transactions that are currently still open in Transpas. So, there is no need to search through all the transactions, which saves a lot of time during the processing. The freight documents can be retrieved digitally from Transpas. The rapid processing of transport documents has also made the subsequent invoicing process many times faster. The CMRs are automatically sent along digitally with the sales invoice.
We issue many CMR notes ourselves. We print a barcode on them, and they go through the scanner, then they are directly recognized and linked in ImageCapture. We also receive consignment notes that are written out by the driver while on the road, for example because someone asks him to collect a load when he is already on his way. If we had to search our database for all these separate documents to link them to the right file, we would waste a lot of time. That is why the software has the option of performing highly targeted searches and only offers orders for selection that relate to that route, and which therefore could be relevant.
Boonstra receives two kinds of invoices: overhead invoices such as fuel, phone and electricity, and the purchase invoices or charter invoices from external transporters. Prices are agreed upon in advance with external transporters and are recorded in the Transpas transaction. The purchase invoices are recognised in ImageCapture and linked to the transporter. Then ImageCapture uploads the associated trip data from Transpas and compares the prices agreed in advance with the amounts on the invoice. If the invoice matches the data in Transpas, it can be approved for booking, and is automatically created in Transpas. From Transpas, the entry is exported to the back-office financial application, Exact Globe.
The transporter states the route number on his invoice. Based on this, the software can tell which data needs to be collected from Transpas. The invoice is compared with the order lines in Transpas, and if it matches these, the invoice is booked in Transpas and exported to Exact. Once the invoice and order have been matched, this means that they cannot be booked more than once by mistake.
In Image Capture the overhead invoices are linked to the right creditor, after which, based on the master data in Transpas, an automatic entry proposal can be generated, with the ledger account code, cost centre and description of the invoice. At this step, the workflow is also selected to decide which people need to approve the invoice in Exact Synergy, and in what sequence this needs to be done. The booking is then passed on to Transpas and Exact Globe. The entry is made in Exact as blocked for payment in the IIR (incoming invoice register), after which Exact Synergy automatically starts the approval workflow. Once the invoice has been approved, the booking is unblocked in Exact and included in the purchase journal.
The result of working with ImageCapture software
No-one should be surprised that this led to gains in processing time; 1500 orders per week are linked (mainly) automatically to the right transaction in Transpas. Where previously, hours were wasted by manually searching, before being able to invoice, it is now done in a matter of minutes. Also, the approval process supported by Exact Synergy is a great way to save valuable administrative time:
We have seen the greatest win in the automatic processing of our transport documents, but our accounts payable department has also benefited greatly from the automation of the processes. Previously they had to pick up the invoices and go to the warehouse and to different offices to get them approved. Then the invoice was initialled, and it was placed in a folder. A few weeks later the invoice was taken back out of the folder to pay it. The traceability of the financial processing especially is much improved nowadays. Currently, we don’t even need to look at it any longer. We just run the payment proposal list and there are all the invoices that are approved in a neat list.
Experiences with Scan Sys
Scan Sys is a great partner to do business with! They put themselves in the customer’s shoes. Instead of using their own product as reference point, they try to match the customers wishes as closely as possible.
Ron Langeveld, Controller at Boonstra Transport