The yellow S&K Haulage lorries are now a familiar sight on the roads and motorways of not only the UK, but most of Europe as well. The business is owned and maintained by the Kidby family and is based at Barry Docks, South Wales. They move from 1kg to 28T loads of liquid, gas and solid raw and finished materials between multiple chemical sites, production factories and end users across the whole of Europe.
We were called into S&K Haulage in 2011 as their legacy database written in Paradox was coming to its end of life cycle. Technology was moving at a rapid pace and S&K Haulage realised this and were seeking a new system that could process high volumes of data quickly and efficiently and be flexible enough to meet the revolving new demands of the haulage business.
Their original system consisted of two main parts, Job Management and Fleet Maintenance. At the time every logistics job was entered manually into the Job Management module and the vehicle and trailer required to complete the jobs were assigned. Jobs were priced with differing rates applied to loads that had special needs such as temperature control or hazardous goods. In addition, ferry and transportation costs needed to be considered as well as fuel, currency and various other surcharges. The system calculated the billing costs and also ensured that the vehicle, trailer and drivers allocated all had the correct up to date paperwork in order to make the journey.
Back then, it was a stand-alone system with invoices being manually created in Sage – this was quite common 10 years ago.
We were given the go ahead to provide a new system in April 2011. The first thing the team did was analysed at all the strong points in the existing system. Many of the existing screens and reports were working well and the staff were familiar with their operations. In developing the new system, the first thing we did was clone the best screens and reports from the legacy system and connected them to a Microsoft SQL database.
To this day the Microsoft SQL Server has provided a robust, solid database platform that easily copes with the peak high volumes of data that pass through it.
This allayed any staff apprehensions, as we understand, when you work with a system day in day out you become so familiar with it that you can sometimes fear it changing. When the staff saw the new prototypes had elements that they were already familiar with they bought into the new system project at an early stage.
With both management and staff fully engaged this brought in a whole new set of ideas for new functionality and better ways of working – a process that is still evolving today.
After 6 months the new system had been tweaked, tuned, and became fully adopted, allowing the legacy system to be switched off. The new system has run day in day out providing vital functionality ever since.
With the new system up and running we were able to add new functionality such as Stock Control, Customer Invoices, Proof of Delivery monitoring and even training, certification control for the staff and drivers.
We were able to then send all invoices electronically into the companies Sage Accounts system which is set up for multiple companies.
In 2016 as the number of daily transactions rose, S&K Haulage commissioned us to write EDI (Electronic Data Interface) functionality so that data between their clients could be transferred automatically. The new system needed to interact with SAP, Elemica, TMS and Procom systems used by their clients (some of these clients are the largest chemical manufacturers in World). The new functionality processes transactions for new logistics jobs coming in as well as providing updates/milestones on load movement to their clients electronically. This level of automation has saved a huge amount of time and money as well as reduced mistakes that can occur when data is entered manually.
We’re currently working with their trailer tacking company that provides real time status and GPS data. Together with the key staff, S&K are always looking to make the system efficient and we are always happy to provide timely and cost-effective enhancements to it.
Quote from David Kidby – Director
“It has been a pleasure working with Computerisation developing the system into what it is today, they listen to what our requirement needs are, go away and develop the system to facilitate the required function, most of the time the users don’t realise something has changed in the system which is a credit to Computerisation, as the database users prefer familiar screens & system operation, but with a multitude of different functionality happening in the background to allow reporting for management. We are worlds apart from our system prior to 2011 and we thank you guys.”