Complying with Portuguese regulations on the transport of goods by road without a huge burden of additional bureaucratic work, and speeding up delivery of products and services at the same time. That’s what Ferrovial Serviços has achieved with the implementation of technology.
Legislative requirements and implications
All goods originating from or with destination in Portugal must be reported electronically to the Portuguese tax office. The fine for not complying with this requirement can be of up to 3750 Euros per product not reported.
For a company like Ferrovial Services, which delivers all kinds of materials and equipment (light bulbs, Havac filters, fluoride gases…) throughout the country, this measure is an added burden for the operational team and can imply many hours of work.
According to our calculations, processing and printing the relevant codes could take between 5 and 15 minutes… per product! Considering the large number of articles that a company like ours moves every day, we can get an idea of what all this actually means.
Now for an exact calculation. Our company has 20 maintenance teams working all over Portugal (and projections are that this number will rise). If each team has to spend at least 5 minutes per day reporting on products to be moved, we would be looking at a total loss of 2 hours of work per day.
And this without taking into account the possibility that the system is down (as has happened before) and reporting cannot be performed normally.
The invoice application that changed everything
Given the context described, we looked for a way of making our teams independent, autonomous and responsible for the entire process of goods transport, so that they would not have to go via the offices and the service could be speeded up.
As an example, the service we provide to Millennium BCP, one of the largest private banks in Portugal (with 17 buildings and 695 branches throughout the country), where Ferrovial Services is responsible for preventive and corrective maintenance. We looked for a technological solution which would allow us to meet the goal of being quicker, more flexible and more efficient while moving goods in Portugal and complying with the relevant legislation.
Following a process of consultation, we decided to use iGEST, an online platform available also as a mobile app which allows us to issue transport bills, delivery notes, shipment docs or consignation guides in a simple and user-friendly way. All in real time and in direct communication with the Tax Office’s online system.
Communicating from mobile to Tax Office
This application was installed on our employees’ mobile phone. Through it, our maintenance engineers (irrespective of where they are) can report on each of the goods they are transporting directly from their smart phones or tablets. This additionally avoids the logistics centre being the one having to carry out such administrative procedures.
In the same way, the back-office team can access the same information and monitor the data instantly.
The use of iGEST has resulted in significant time saving and an improvement in management, since engineers can select the relevant data from the database rather than having to introduce the same information every time they need to issue a new report.
Moreover, given that every employee knows exactly how many products they carry in the vehicle, the risks that some may not be duly reported to the Portuguese authorities are minimised.
Another advantage in the use of this invoice app is that staff need only go to the company facilities when strictly necessary (when products need to be picked up or returned), thus avoiding unnecessary trips and speeding up deliveries.
This innovation has enabled us, in the space of six months, to save time on information and processing of goods movements, allowing us to be more efficient.
If you’re stopped by the police, don’t worry
As we said before, Portuguese authorities can issue (significant) fines for each of the products being transported on their road network where they have not been suitably reported to the Tax Office.
Given that support and service, engineers carry the invoice app on their mobile devices and if they are stopped by police at a control they can show that they are complying fully with current legislation.
Therefore, far from being a pilot or isolated experience, the company is extending the use of this solution to other business areas. Because if something ain’t broke, not only must you not fix it, but you should replicate it elsewhere to achieve even greater success.
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