PS Logistics trims monthly close by 80% and finds $2.4 million in cost savings with Planful
PS Logistics, one of the largest flatbed trucking firms in the U.S., has transformed its financial and management reporting with Planful. The company has long been recognized as an innovative, technology-driven provider of logistics solutions, and was able to modernize and drastically shorten their close process, and uncover fresh insights, all via Planful.
Founded in 2004, PS Logistics has grown from 35 trailers and 20 owner-operators to a fleet of 2,400 trucks and a workforce of nearly 3,000, including 2,400 drivers. Over the past five years, PS Logistics has expanded its brand from five individual companies to more than 20 providers across 26 locations, while also building out its brokerage and third-party logistics services. That rapid growth and acquisition pace exacerbated the limitations of their Excel-based manual reporting and prompted the company to choose Planful.
Before going live on Planful in late 2013, PS Logistics transferred trial balances from its McLeod ERP software into Excel. In addition to being time-consuming, the manual data transfer caused downstream issues as new accounts were added. A typical monthly close would drag on for three to four weeks, while year-end auditing with on-site auditors took up to eight weeks.
“We really had no time left for analytics,” said Dwight Lloyd, financial controller at PS Logistics.
Compounding their challenge was the goal to double their business by 2018, making their Excel-based processes even more unsustainable.
“We could either hire a lot more bodies to manage the close faster, or we could invest in good software that would not only speed up our close, but let us pull in operational data and improve our reporting to be more proactive,” Lloyd said.
PS Logistics initially favored an on-premise software solution, but soon realized it would mean high infrastructure costs and additional maintenance overhead for its IT team. An evaluation of the cloud-based Planful platform was an eye-opener.
In all, PS Logistics evaluated ten solutions before selecting Planful.
PS Logistics was live on Planful within weeks, and quickly began seeing tangible benefits, including:
Faster monthly close and auditing. PS Logistics has reduced its monthly close from up to four weeks to five to seven days, while year-end external auditing that used to consume up to eight weeks is now accomplished off-site in a week or less. The considerable time savings has enabled Lloyd and his team to focus on analytics and collaborating with operational teams instead of wasting time on slow, error-prone manual processes.
Insightful operational reporting. Reports that took days to prepare can now be generated in minutes. Many of those reports combine financial data with operational metrics such as miles per month, maintenance cost per mile, empty or partial load truck impact, and cost per recruited driver. This real-time data enables PS Logistics to immediately identify and address issues.
Data-driven cost savings. Robust multi-dimensional reporting has allowed PS Logistics to unearth previously hidden insights. In one example, the team identified $2.4 million in annual savings after using Planful reports to surface issues with its fuel surcharge model. The company also identified discrepancies in its ERP system’s mileage data which conflicted with truckbased GPS data, leading to significant fuel cost savings.
Going forward, PS Logistics is transitioning its budgeting from Excel-based processes to create a rolling forecast, utilizing more — and more insightful — dashboards, and will continue to leverage Planful to fuel business efficiency and growth.
Bringing in operational metrics enables us to spot things we couldn’t have seen before so that the financials make a lot more sense for our operational managers.
Since implementing Planful, PS Logistics has shrunk the quarter close time by 80%.
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