With two wristwatches on his arm to remind customers of his commitment to on-time deliveries, James Ryder started his namesake company hauling concrete in 1933 with a single Model A Ford truck. The company hasn’t taken its foot off the gas since. Today, Ryder System Inc. generates $9.7 billion in revenue and, with a fleet of nearly 239,000 trucks, manages critical fleet, transportation, and supply chain functions for more than 51,000 customers in the United States, Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom. It also carries on James Ryder’s legacy of punctuality with a 99% on-time delivery rate.
However, that success didn’t come without growing pains, and executives realized that dealing with aging ledger legacy systems made it difficult to quickly access critical business data, and streamlining their human resources processes could result in real-time access for managers and employees.
Better financial organization leads to better results
Much of the challenge came from using 10 different platforms that didn’t interact well with one another. That meant executives had to analyze data among numerous sources to understand the critical details impacting their operations. Ryder saw immediate benefits by switching to Workday’s integrated financial and human capital management solutions beginning in March 2021. As a result, Ryder could better organize its accounts while accessing data in real time. Ryder’s ledger accounts alone decreased from 4,000 to 700 after the enhancements.
With more real-time data, the Ryder management team spends more time analyzing results and digging into the details—and less time jumping between systems to get information. It has also contributed to reduced days receivables outstanding—a key metric of cash management.
As a publicly traded company, Ryder files quarterly and annual financial statements. Prior to Workday, the creation of the consolidated reporting was manual. Leveraging the capabilities of the system, Ryder developed the SEC reporting in Workday.
“We can rerun our SEC reporting in hours, which used to take days,” says Jeanette McCarty, vice president, shared services center at Ryder.
The number one issue from a business impact standpoint is the ability to drill into detail. In our old legacy ledger system, we had a limited ability to do this.
Vice President of Shared Services Center
Improving the experience for valued suppliers
The new technology didn’t just help Ryder analyze its operations. It helped the company better serve a key partner—its suppliers.
Suppliers include transport companies, parts and tire businesses, uniform companies, and tow vendors, which are critical to Ryder’s success. “Without our suppliers, we’re out of business,” McCarty says. “We can’t fix trucks if we can’t get the parts. Or we can’t have our technicians working without uniforms or the right tools.”
Before Ryder moved away from its legacy systems, its suppliers had limited access to manage or review information in their accounts, including invoices. That meant Ryder’s help desk support employees had to spend time answering questions about things like the status of an invoice or when suppliers could expect to be paid.
Now suppliers have full access to sought-after information through a dedicated portal. “They can log in and do it themselves,” McCarty says. “That means I need fewer people on my help desk as we are seeing less tickets.” This allows Ryder to reallocate resources to more value-added tasks or reduce its expenses while giving its suppliers a better experience working with the company.
Suppliers can now review invoices by number or name to see if they were paid. They can confirm Ryder purchase orders have been issued and their invoices have been processed. They can also update their profile information, request a bank change or electronic funds transfers, and even run invoice and purchase order reports. The ease of use makes suppliers more likely to continue to work with Ryder and improves supplier relationships.
Ryder can also quickly view the entire life cycle of a supplier payment, from when it was issued to when it cleared the bank, which lets them more easily answer suppliers’ questions and better track their accounts payable info.
Giving managers and employees the tools to be more efficient
It wasn’t just the financial side where Ryder was looking for ways to streamline its operations. The company’s human resources department realized that legacy systems and practices weren’t giving managers timely access to information on their employees and the ability to run reports. Instead, they had to reach out to HR. Similarly, employees faced challenges finding key information on benefits and more. Moving to Workday’s Human Capital Management (Workday HCM systems) streamlined that process.
“Managers are empowered to manage their workforce for the first time,” says Maria M. Ruiz, vice president, human resources, operations and employee services at Ryder.
Existing Ryder employees gained a self-service center that lets them access manager dashboards, benefit information, record their time, submit an inquiry that an HR agent answers, and take HR and leadership training. This real-time access lets employees focus on doing their jobs while improving customer service for Ryder customers.
Now we actually reconcile daily. We could never dream of doing that before.
Vice President of Shared Services Center
Building and training a larger workforce
As Ryder entered 2022, it faced a new challenge: workforce management. The supply chain industry always faces attrition in the workforce, and Ryder’s business growth meant it needed to aggressively recruit new drivers, warehouse associates and technicians during the year.
As with any industry, Ryder always needs to attract new employees across all departments, and as Luis Zayas, vice president of transformation and the office of the CIO, points out, having an intuitive, cloud-based system like Workday is an enticement.
“By eliminating our previous antiquated systems—which meant new employees would have to do their jobs through workarounds and manual processes—Workday has allowed us to automate, giving our employees time to think, innovate and act.”