Every transportation company is familiar with the problem of getting documents to the back office as quickly as possible. In a cash flow business, every second counts. Every delay in processing proof of delivery documents means a delay in getting paid.
That’s why a bunch of different solutions have been tried. Scanning stations at truck stops. In-cab scanners. And most recently, smartphone apps.
Why they haven’t taken off
Over the years, some of these solutions have enjoyed some success. Some companies use one of them. Some use a combination of a few. And some use none at all.
The reason they haven’t taken off is return on investment. While cutting a day or two off the time it takes to get an invoice out sounds good in theory, in practice it’s hard to justify the investment.
Using scanners at truck stop stations wastes your drivers’ time. In-cab scanners can be clunky and expensive to maintain. And smartphone apps are great and all, but they can end up being hard for drivers to use and difficult to integrate with your other systems, which is where a lot of the big efficiency gains are made.
Driving Greater ROI
When we started developing LoadPal, Microdea’s new mobile capture app, we knew there were challenges to overcome and that we needed to figure out ways to drive greater efficiency. We had to strengthen the business case. Deliver the greatest return on investment possible.
To do this, we focused on three key areas: ease of use, powerful automation, and deeper integrations.
Ease of Use
If an app isn’t easy to use, drivers won’t use it. Technology is supposed to make life easier, not harder. So we knew the app needed to be as simple and easy to use as possible.
Because LoadPal is built exclusively for capturing documents, and speeding up all the work that comes after, it was easier to keep it simple. No distracting bells or whistles. No complicated navigation. No expert photography skills required.
To scan a document, a driver doesn’t even have to press a button. They simply hold the phone over the piece of paper or receipt and the app takes a photo automatically. It then increases the contrast, centres and crops the image to make it easier to read, and shrinks the file size to make it easier to send and store.
The driver then taps on the load they’re delivering and picks the doc type from a drop-down menu. No entering an order number or typing in the type of document, helping to minimize filing errors.
From there, everything happens automatically, which is where the real magic happens.
The second big part of figuring out how to deliver a greater ROI was powering the app with Synergize, our document management and automation system.
What that means is that we’re able to set up workflows around every document a driver sends in. Instead of simply having the documents waiting in a portal or folder, Synergize can send the documents exactly where they need to go.
Whether it’s matching proof of delivery documents to the correct loads in your TMS (more on this later), bundling all accessorials and other trailing documents together so billing can happen faster and more accurately, or ensuring all documents related to OS&D get sent directly to the right person, LoadPal helps eliminate manual steps in processing every type of document.
Instead of opening trip envelopes and manually sorting everything, Synergize sends the documents to the right people and sorts them into a nice, neat queue, where exceptions can be dealt with quickly.
This helps with return on investment because it provides lift across your entire organization. You need fewer people indexing, billing, sorting and scanning. You save on paper, printer toner, and storage space. You reduce billing errors, leading to better relationships with brokers and shippers. You speed up settlements and reduce payroll errors, leading to better relationships with drivers. You handle documents more efficiently, and when you do that, results improve across the board.
The final piece of the puzzle is integrating with your other systems. Without proper integration, gaps appear in your process, and those gaps lead to inefficiency. If you can eliminate manual gaps, everything can move faster and more smoothly.
The best example is in billing. LoadPal integrates with the leading transport management systems, which means that documents can be checked-in automatically.
Imagine being able to login into your TMS, clicking a button, and instantly seeing all the loads that are ready to be billed and being able to view all proof of delivery documents and accessorials from within your TMS.
Imagine then clicking another button and having all those invoices get automatically emailed out to your customers. Bulk or rendition billing becomes a breeze. That’s what’s possible with LoadPal.
We also integrate with almost every other piece of software you might have in your back office, whether that’s Microsoft Office, email, accounting packages, maintenance systems, or ERPs.
Depending on your exact process, these integrations are huge for increasing ROI because they allow for more steps to be automated, leading to a faster process, fewer errors, and greater efficiency.
Simple, Efficient, Profitable
To get the greatest return on your investment in a mobile capture application, you need an app that’s super simple and easy to use, that comes with powerful automation capable of providing lift across your entire organization, and that integrates with your other systems.
That’s LoadPal in a nutshell.
If you’re interested in seeing it in action, please schedule a demo below.
Steele Roddick is a Content Specialist at Microdea where he creates content that helps transportation companies drive their business forward. He’s endlessly fascinated by technology trends, chess, and discovering new places to travel with his wife.