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Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Victoria, Australia, Kings Transport is a transport and logistics provider specializing in contract logistics and express services. The company’s operations extend to Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and New Zealand.
Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Victoria, Australia, Kings Transport specializes in contract logistics and express services. The company’s operations extend to Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and New Zealand. “Our services operate from warehouse-to-business, business-to-business, or business-to-consumer,” says Bill Esteves, Group General Manager HSEQ, Kings Transport. “We own about 40 percent of our fleet, with the remainder being driver-owned trucks, bicycles, and motorcycles.”
Both as a business and as a transport operator, Kings Transport needs to manage extensive regulatory and safety challenges. “You have insurance premiums activated by the risk involved in any business activity,” says Esteves. “Then you have the risks and costs of complying with workplace health and safety regulations.” Kings Transport also operates under national heavy vehicle legislation governing safe operations on public roads, property, and the environment. “On top of those requirements, we face competition from market entrants and incumbents,” he adds.
To succeed, Kings Transport competes in a range of areas, including price, safety management systems, and now the use of new technologies.
Earlier last year, Kings Transport appointed Liam Mallett as the company’s first Chief Information Officer and gave him a mandate to digitize the business. “While we have locations in every capital city in Australia, site supervisors at customers sites, and operations in New Zealand, we had no way of communicating or collaborating other than sending an email or picking up the phone,” Mallett says.
This lack of communication created inefficiencies. For instance, the senior executive team would often reschedule regular meetings if team members were traveling or otherwise unable to be in the room due to issues with voice only conferences. As Mallett toured the business to introduce himself and learn about operations, he found Kings Transport’s Queensland operation had already solved a problem that its South Australian team was still working on. At the same time, the New South Wales team had fixed an issue in a way that would be highly beneficial to the company nationally.
Mallett’s review also exposed the fact that key Kings Transport clients were making great strides in deploying new technologies and expected suppliers to match their efforts.
Mallett quickly secured agreement from the executive team to adopt a cloud-only strategy. “We wanted all our operational tools to reside within the browser,” he says. Kings Transport conducted a review, determining G Suite met this requirement and was available at about one third the price of a comparable solution for business users. With assistance from Google partner OniGroup, the business deployed G Suite to about 400 of its white-collar workers in the middle of last year.
“OniGroup provided subject matter expertise, change management, training, and licensing advice throughout the project,” Mallett says. “They were excellent in all areas, including visiting all of our offices to conduct face-to-face trainings and in producing relevant content to support the transition. They also helped us work through nuts-and-bolts activities, such as transferring documents from our previous email and document systems to Gmail and Docs respectively.”
For Esteves, G Suite supported change management and gave Kings Transport team members access from any location to the same information they could access from the office. “I found the G Suite integrated suite of applications could help me realize those goals,” he says. “For example, when introducing policies and procedures to our business, for reasons of accountability and governance, we needed to make sure key people had looked at and endorsed them. Using Sites, Drive, and Docs, and providing clear instructions, we created a case management system and built a document workflow and lifecycle in just one hour. The combination of products was incredibly effective and we really benefited from it.”
Deploying G Suite has also enabled Kings Transport to boost its occupational health and safety performance – a key focus for the business. The business maintains AS 4801, ISO 9001, OHSAS 18001, and models International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard ISO 45001, to underpin a framework which improves employee safety, reduces workplace risks, and creates better, safer working conditions. “The ability to centrally locate and control documents is the cornerstone of many international standards,” Esteves says. “Google does that remarkably well.
“I can now more securely develop a form or document and changes are introduced seamlessly and transparently. Furthermore, the discovery process around documents is as clean as one can get,” he adds.
The lack of communications between individuals, teams – including Kings Transport’s senior executive team – and offices is now all in the past. Individuals and teams can now collaborate at any time, from any location. “Earlier this year, we held an executive leadership team meeting with myself and the Chief Financial Officer in a meeting room, our Chief Executive Officer in a taxi, our Chief Operating Officer in a hotel, our Sales Manager in Brisbane, and our New Zealand Manager across the Tasman,” says Mallett. “We were all able to communicate in real time – to the point someone presented a slide deck and we made an important decision right there and then.”
“As another example, just two weeks ago, I was in a taxi for the first half of a meeting and sitting on a pier near the water in Sydney for the second half,” he adds. “I was able to present a slide deck from my phone to the meeting in real time and get a key decision made. Suddenly this concept of working outside the office becomes real. We have no connectivity issues, we have proper authentication, and we can log on anytime to work with other people.”
Workers can also use Google Meet via devices in meeting rooms, while the business has integrated the video conferencing service with the Calendar application on desktops and mobile devices.
The transport business has used Sites to create websites that operate as central hubs for safety and risk information. Drivers can log in to these websites to complete online forms using Forms to meet compliance requirements, and they can also receive content.
Kings Transport also uses Forms to manage travel requests, expense claims, and other standard workplace administration activities. “We’ve used some scripting to add attachments to Forms,” explains Mallett. “The value Google Forms delivers is in automating processes, so rather than manually submitting expense claims, our workers can simply take a photo of a receipt on their smartphone and submit it for approval.”
The business is using Sheets to run its most important administration task – managing its profit and loss statements. “Anyone with appropriate permissions can look at and review the P&L figures, which update automatically through some scripting that pulls data from a range of sources,” says Mallett. “We have a single source of truth, which empowers the teams to make critical financial decisions.”
Meanwhile, Slides allows Kings Transport teams to collaboratively pull together customer proposals and tender documents, without having to undertake the time-consuming task of managing multiple versions.
In addition, Kings Transport is using the Jamboard cloud-based digital whiteboard application to sketch ideas, create notes, and collaborate with team members at any location. “We can all log in to the whiteboard or the one ‘jam’ and contribute from our own tablets,” Mallett says. “In addition, because we have Google Meet devices in every room, we can effectively connect from any location to a digital whiteboard the size of a projector screen.”
Now fully deployed at Kings Transport, G Suite is changing the role of the technology team at the business. “With G Suite implemented, it’s about enabling people to do things like build a website or create a document store without coming to IT for help,” explains Mallett. “We are moving to providing governance and helping the business move from asking ‘can we do it?’ to ‘how best can we do it?’”
Kings Transport is now considering deploying Google solutions to connect about 1,000 drivers and warehouse workers. “We’re looking to give them access to services like Google Meet so they can share information, or to advise the operations center what time they will arrive with the next delivery,” says Mallett.
The business is also poised to press the button to move to Chrome Enterprise on Chromebooks. “This will mean we no longer have an operating system or a standard operating environment to manage,” Mallett explains. “The cost of patching, updates, servicing, and licensing and support all goes away. In addition, if someone loses their Chromebook, they can just go and get another one and start working, reducing security issues as no information is stored on the device.”
The business is now taking early steps to leverage Google Cloud Platform technologies to gain insights that support decision making. “We’re feeding all our truck GPS location data, our delivery data, and financial data into BigQuery and using Google Data Studio as our visualization tool,” says Mallett. “This is giving us the ability to identify, for example, the impact on profitability of not doing a particular run on one day. Next year, we plan to look into machine learning technologies to do predictive work around issues such as the cost of gearbox failures or tire blowouts.”
Watch the video and learn how Kings Transport is enhancing collaboration and compliance with G Suite.