EBE Financials Improved Billing Cycles, Reduced Staffing Needs and Lowered Total Operating Costs
Coastal Transport Co., Inc., a petroleum hauler based in San Antonio, Texas, operates 400 trucks and 530 trailers from 31 locations and 23 terminals throughout the southwestern U.S. The fleet's trucks handle an average of six loads per day, delivering to 150 retail operations in Texas, northwest Arizona and California.
Using a paper-driven and labor-intensive system meant Coastal's document management and billing cycles took too long. Loads were dispatched from multiple locations with multiple drops per day – with paperwork being collected and sent daily to headquarters for billing. Upon arrival, each load was manually entered into the Coastal information system, creating an opportunity for human error. Automation was key to improving the billing system. Integration to Coastal's new mobilecomm and dispatch system were mandatory.
Coastal implemented SHIPS Automated Billing Solution to manage the entire billing process. Compatible with both their new dispatch system and mobilecomm solution, EBE helped eliminate the need for a paper-driven billing system and provided load information in real-time. Billing became a completely automated function — through SHIPS and their dispatch system, access to individual load information was available to all personnel throughout the organization requiring visibility.
SHIPS Automated Billing Solution created a paperless system that has resulted in reduced costs and improved overall efficiency. Coastal has consistent execution of all their business processes. Speeding the flow of accurate information led to faster billing cycles. Imagine the amount of information that is associated with every load that Coastal delivers. There is information about the customer, the load delivered, the delivery time, the amount of product that was delivered and the cost of the product delivered. When this information is delivered in paper form, human error becomes the standard. Add to that the shipping of paperwork every night to headquarters for billing purposes and you have just added a day to the billing process. SHIPS Automated Billing Solution allows all paper in the billing process to be scanned and stored in one place and delivered in real time to the Coastal billing department. By increasing the speed of this information between terminals, the paperless solution adopted by Coastal has cut the billing cycle from two or three days to less than 24 hours after a delivery is completed.
Eliminating paperwork helped reduce staffing needs
When there is less paperwork in the system, there are fewer people needed to manage the system. SHIPS Automated Billing Solution helped reduce the amount of paperwork by 80 percent, enabling the company to employ 13 fewer people in its billing department. Coastal drivers send information about each load to the dispatch system. This reduces the need for staff at each terminal to collect paperwork, review it and send it to headquarters. It also reduced the need for headquarters staff to gather and input the load data into the information system. Reduced paperwork helped increase employee productivity and focus on what is really important at Coastal: increasing customer satisfaction.
Reduced expenses lowered total operating costs
SHIPS Automated Billing Solution has helped eliminate staff positions, but it has also removed delays in billing, improved the accuracy of billing and reduced the number of Days Sales Outstanding. Gone are overnight mail expenses, rework for billing mistakes and time needed to find load documentation. Coastal's new automated billing system automatically integrates with their accounting package and dispatch system. This has created improved operational excellence by allowing for system-wide accountability through the tracking and management of daily billing activities. These billing improvements have improved cash flow for the company, ultimately improving operating efficiency.