6 November 2021 - case-studies

Coates - Planning and transport management solutions delivering benefits

Coates implemented Descartes Route Planner and Transport Management to manage the delivery and pick up of hire equipment and have has realised significant financial, customer service, operational and other benefits.

With over 150 branches across Australia, 2,000+ employees and over 1 million pieces of equipment across 21 equipment categories - Coates is Australia’s largest equipment hire provider.

Transport operations which includes the delivery / pick up of hire equipment to customer locations is a critical part of their business, with the total transport spend per annum representing around 12% of total Revenue.

With a modest internal fleet of vehicles, Coates rely on 350+ external transport carriers to provide this service.

The Transport Management solution utilised by Coates is built on the logistics specific software system provided by Descartes Systems Group, and implemented & supported by the Bestrane Group.

Descartes Transport Manager (TMS) is the software application used to manage our external carrier supply base.

Coates - Dandenong

Coate's branch located in Dandenong, VIC is their busiest location nationally from a transport perspective.

For this reason, coupled with their heavy reliance on external providers, Coates have focused heavily on ensuring Descartes TMS is used across their transport activities.

The Dandenong branch has realised significant financial, customer service, operational and other benefits from the use of the Descartes Transport Management System.

Financial Benefits

Descartes TMS has delivered financially significant savings to Coates.

Using Descartes TMS, the Dandenong team were able to identify and execute a range of efficiencies that allowed them to effectively absorb the combination of

  • Average rate increases from suppliers of around 13%, and
  • Reductions in freight revenues (as charged to end customers) of around 20%

Further to these savings Coates Hire used the Invoice Reconciliation capability within Descartes TMS to ensure that the external providers are invoicing accurately.

This process ensures that invoices received via direct EDI link are in accordance with agreed rate cards removing the need for resources to manually audit the often lengthy, detailed invoices.

It has resulted in a significant improvement in the accuracy of our external provider invoicing.

Customer Service Improvements

Descartes TMS has allowed Coates to accurately measure the ‘customer promise’ for delivery/pick up timeframes.Historically Coates had measured this based on the number of enquiries from customers on the whereabouts of their delivery.

With the introduction of Descartes TMS, they now accurately measure and report on ‘Delivery in Full on Time’ (DIFOT) as one of their key KPI’s to ensure they are operating an efficient and effective transport service.

Their DIFOT performance on selected projects has increased to well over 90%, a significant improvement.

Operating Efficiency Improvements

The Dandenong team also utilised the data available in Descartes TMS to gain a better understanding of the difference in load/unload times for a variety of asset types.

They found that certain assets (e.g. light towers and smaller generators) took the longest time to load and/or unload.

The primary contributors to this increased time included:

  • Requirement for Forklifts
  • Assets were forced to wait, as they had no allocated spot on the “Go Row”
  • Load/Unload safe zones needed for the task (additional space required due to operating a forklift)

The team introduced the following changes to the operating processes and procedures:

  • Designated Forklift Load /Unload safe zones were established permanently
  • A staging area was created for high volume light tower jobs
  • Yard staff staging assets prior to the assets being collected

As a result of these changes, the load/unload times were reduced by 37% from around 37 mins to 23 minutes.

Coates were only able to realise these benefits through the analysis of the data provided by Descartes TMS.

Further Advancement and Opportunities

The ability to provide improved management of their external transport providers has also led to increases in compliance across many aspects of their service offering.

With its market leading capabilities Descartes TMS, Coates can accurately measure the performance of the external transport providers across

  • Timeliness of service,
  • Invoicing accuracy and
  • Pricing competitiveness.

When coupled with data from their safety systems Coates can map each provider’s compliance and safety performance.

The ability to track such performance has become increasing important with the introduction of the Chain of Responsibility (COR) legislation.

Coates have adopted their management and approach to transport operations with the implementation of Descartes TMS.

Their focus on clearly definable and measurable data driven outcomes is providing benefits for the whole business.