TokOpen, from Tokairo, a division of Corpora Software, is now being used by the Engineering Department of TNT Logistics to streamline its 4000 vehicle fleet maintenance operation. This involves 700 users at 160 different locations throughout the UK. The system stores all engineering documents electronically and is linked to the in-house developed Fleet Management System which administers document access for remote users as well as staff at engineering sites.

TNT is a world leading provider of logistics supply chain solutions and express delivery services. TNT Logistics UK Limited is part of TNT N.V., one of the world leaders in logistics, express and mail services. The system's adoption by TNT Logistics Engineering follows its earlier, initial adoption by the company for use in other areas of the business, including Human Resources, Payroll and Accounts.

Integration of the vehicle compliance documentation in the Fleet Management System and TokOpen has enabled TNT to achieve full VOSA (Vehicle and Operator service Agency) compliance approval and significantly improve the administration process. The success of the implementation and the effective use of the system won the company a position of finalist in the IFW Innovation awards .

TNT Systems Manager, Derek Keeble, stated: "With safety, customer service quality and regulatory compliance established as essential prerequisites in our business, there has always been a strong focus on the need to document and archive a very wide range of information - in addition to statutory documents."

"These include over 30 different forms. For example, operators' licences, logbooks, MOT and tachograph certificates as well as service inspection and defect sheets - and a host of others. For any typical vehicle there would be around 300 active documents to which we would need access both at head office and remote sites for at least 15 months before archiving."

"We have over 4,000 vehicles and trailers and we need to service lorries and trailers, respectively, every six and 10 to15 weeks. The volume of paperwork was very high - and increasing all the time as the business grew and government regulation became more comprehensive."

Derek Keeble continued: "Previously, all this was handled by a traditional manual paper system. Piles of paper and forms and banks of filing cabinets with the usual problem of losing or mis-filing some. Not the least problem was distributing relevant copies to up to 160 different sites to ensure compliance with spot check inspections by VOSA personnel. This was achieved by photocopying, posting and faxing."

"It was time-consuming, inefficient, slow and a waste of resource. And as the scale of our operations grew it became clear that we needed a radical new solution. Tokairo's TokOpen document management and workflow system had already been adopted by the Finance, Human Resources and Payroll departments of the company and so there was a body of existing experience of the product that we could confidently consult."

"It was not a difficult decision to go for TokOpen. The system is industrial strength, is scalable for increasingly heavy deployment, and its user-friendly. Screens and functions have a familiar look-and-feel. We also liked the way it comes as a full solution with users able to "cherry-pick" system features as and when required," added Derek Keeble.

"The way TokOpen is structured means we can choose to pay only for what we need at any particular time - but have instant access to other elements as and when necessary.

"Essentially, we took the Tokairo product and integrated it with our corporate Fleet Management System (FMS) for electronically managing the whole engineering operation. The product's flexibility lent itself well to achieving this and the end result solution works well."

"The database is an SQL back-end with Citrix-compatible applications running on a Windows 2003 server. The combined TokOpen/FMS solution has a high degree of intelligence. For example, on average, we raise 200 vehicle defect sheets every day. These are generated by depots in the FMS system," he added.

"This is cross-referenced in TokOpen and confirmed, for example by a garage or workshop that has completed repair work on a vehicle. When the vehicle is signed-off as roadworthy, this triggers a confirmation to pay the garage - representing an improvement in our response to supporting suppliers, with the benefits that such improved relationships can provide - quicker response, higher quality service, enhanced loyalty."

"When we get the document back centrally we can scan it in to the system with the required approval signature. One of the system "smarts" is that when we get the document back, TokOpen optionally reads a unique defect number and performs a query search against FMS to confirm a correct and satisfactory workflow status," he continued.

 That information is then scanned into the system and the paper is thrown away. Whilst previously took one person a whole day to process and file defect sheets, now it's the work of just 20 minutes. Once the information is in the system, FMS is constantly reviewing the TokOpen data".

"We have FMS in over 100 sites and any of the 600 authorised users can view any document instantly. Other elements include TokOpen Sorting Office and TokOpen Web which offers the same document access remotes via any standard Web browser with no reduction of functionality or security," says Stuart Wardlaw TNT Logiostics Fleet Director.

Benefits? "Very considerable improvements in actually handling the task of processing what used to be troublesome paper-based processing, but which is now welcome and easily accessible information. Easy distribution of that information to remote sites, more intelligent use of the data, cleverer reporting - and just more time for staff to focus on the important things instead of chasing paper," continued Stuart Wardlaw.

"Sure, we experienced the usual benefits of reduced paper storage, etc, but it's a lot more than that. It is about getting a firm grip on the business and opening horizons to those things that are now possible."

 Stuart Wardlaw concluded: "The hygiene factor improvements - time saving, convenience, reduced storage - great. But the real benefit is being able to actually move forward in how we run the business. We can now aim to achieve real advances in customer service, quality provision and cost reduction and have achieved really strong, improved control."

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