November 29, 2021
John Mitchell Haulage and Warehousing puts technology at the forefront of its futureproofing

With roots going back to 1956, Grangemouth-based John Mitchell Haulage and Warehousing have made futureproofing its haulage and warehouse operations its business imperative.

Investing in a young new management team in 2019 to pave the way for the next phase of the company’s development, John Mitchell Haulage and Warehousing also commissioned Fargo Systems to undertake a full review of the transport management systems currently in place and advise on its optimisation for the future.

Steve Collins, Director at Fargo Systems, says: “Jim Slade, projects team manager, and I spent some time up in Grangemouth working closely with the team. Identifying better processes in TOPS and new areas for development and enhancement projects to yield further business efficiencies.”

Transport Operations Director Ross Mitchell takes up the story: “Having Steve and Jim here to review our daily operations was invaluable. We’d invested in Fargo’s TOPS and CYMAN systems back in 2007, and 2010 and whilst the technology was serving us well, the review quickly highlighted that both systems had far greater functionality than we had been using.”

Post review John Mitchell Haulage and Warehousing readily accepted its recommendations. In 2019 the logistics specialist increased its investment in TopsTMS® technology to include TOPS…on the go, TOPS Anywhere closely followed by CYMAN.WEB and projects to review the fleet management and purchase order processes.

Angela Martin, Business Support Manager at John Mitchell Haulage and Warehousing, says: “Our strategy is to ensure every aspect of our business is as robust as possible and that we’re working as smart as we can. Armed with a better understanding of our existing TOPS solutions’ capabilities plus our new TOPS investments, everyone in the business can view day-to-day activity in real-time. Benefits are being reaped across every part of the organisation, from fleet to our drivers, the accounts department, yard operatives and lifters.

“Another stand out benefit for us is that every one of our TopsTMS® solutions is constantly evolving and regularly updated – keeping us at the forefront of the industry.”

Steve Collins adds, “The benefits and efficiencies the team at John Mitchell have made have been astounding. Working with a management team with the strategic foresight to utilise technology to achieve their goals and challenge the Fargo Systems team to deliver best-of-breed solutions has been very rewarding and pleasing. The project’s success is a testament to what can be achieved from a close working relationship and collaboration.”

John Mitchell Haulage and Warehousing’s TOPS use enables the company to monitor its inland container movements and plan all jobs and create purchase orders.

Finance coordinator Tracey Birkett explains: “Before TOPS, it’s hard to believe that each person in the business had a paper book where they were recording their PO’s. Now the whole process is digital; it has completely streamlined the month-end process with all the data accessible in one place.”

TOPS has also transformed the data held and managed by John Mitchell Haulage and Warehousing’s 150+ vehicle fleet.

Jordan Lumsden, the Workshop Administrator, continues: “With TOPS, we’ve been able to digitalise our mechanics’ service documents. Removing the need to complete manual paperwork, the operator now inputs everything straight into TOPS. Providing greater checks and controls, and the system has a validation function that ensures necessary authorisations have been made. With the old-fashioned clipboard and pen, potentially, this does not happen.

“What is exciting is that our TOPS investment has enabled us to apply to join the DVSA’s Earned Recognition programme. We are also Fargo Systems first client to be involved in the project.

“Earned Recognition is a scheme for vehicle operators to prove they meet both vehicle and driver standards, with participants regularly sharing performance key performance indicator (KPI) targets with the DVSA. In return for involvement, participants are less likely to be stopped for roadside inspections. And they won’t be subject to DVSA enforcement staff visiting their premises as real-time information is held regarding the fleet.”

When it comes to traffic operations, TOPS…on the go has it covered for John Mitchell Haulage and Warehousing. Ross Mitchell continues: “With our current fleet standing at 150 plus trucks and future vehicle investment planned, we must provide the tools for our drivers to do the best job possible.

“TOPS…on the go provides a seamless service, defect and repair management, job management, sign on glass PODs and camera capture, the latter both being transformative to how the industry does business during these COVID times. We’ve had significant buy-in from our drivers as all aspects of their admin is now paperless, with automatic ETA and actual time arrival updates as well as instant communication, which enables us to message them any time at the touch of a button. Then, when you factor in TOPS Anywhere implementation, which allows remote and instant access for our traffic operators, we’ve already seen a significant return on investment.

John Mitchell Haulage and Warehousing’s fleet operation is not the only beneficiary of Fargo’s game-changing logistics software. Using FSL’s container and yard management system CYMAN for over ten years to integrate container movements and availability into TOPS, pre-arrival notifications, and pre-container releases, the logistics review recommended introducing CYMAN.WEB into the company’s suite of transport technology solutions.

Angela Martin concludes, “CYMAN.WEB is designed for smartphones and tablets and brings benefits on two fronts – jobs and interchanges. On the job front, it enables our warehouse team to view the tasks assigned to them in advance, ‘complete’ their jobs and report status updates back into CYMAN automatically and in real-time, using the industry-standard ISO codes. Invaluable to our warehouse division, CYMAN also plans the workload, calculates efficiencies, and allows documents and photographs to be attached, instantly accessible for others to view and act upon. It’s a win-win all around; customer reports are sent automatically, saving even more time within the operations team.

“These days, our lifters are significantly more efficient managing waiting time as working ‘live’ from the tablet they can plan and manage our own vehicles and customers, making yard-to-office radio communications minimal. Every team member can record all aspects of the role, including devanning and preparing containers for re-use and lining containers.

“From the interchange perspective, CYMAN.WEB not only reduces the manual/paper in and out gate process but records empties and full container loads, whilst also automatically transmitting details of interchanges out to hauliers and customers.”

Steve Collins, Director of Fargo Systems, says of the review and its outcomes: “Working with the John Mitchell team is a total pleasure. With everyone collaborating to achieve a common goal of an accessible, flexible, and agile environment to pave the way for its future success, the whole company was open and receptive to our proposals and prepared to act upon them.

“As has been too clearly demonstrated over the last twelve months, it’s those companies that are prepared to innovate that will be the success stories of the future. John Mitchell Haulage and Warehousing’s keenness to be involved in DVSA’s Earned Recognition Scheme exemplifies its commitment to taking a stance and leading from the front. It was also an excellent opportunity for us to get involved in the scheme, and we are hoping to announce further details of our involvement in this soon.”