Don’t lose paper, go paperless
In all of my life, I have never lost anything, especially important paperwork. Granted that first sentence should be taken with a grain of salt, because it is not true at all. How many times have you, or an employee, lost something very important to you or your business?Simply put it is human nature, we can be forgetful. We all know that technology is integral to business and using it to your advantage can be extremely helpful. Converting your business over to an electronic order management software allows room for scaling and growth. The sooner you implement Electronic BOLs the easier adapting to growth will be.
What it means to go electronic or paperless:
“A work environment in which the use of paper is eliminated or greatly reduced. This is done by converting documents and other papers into digital form. Proponents claim that “going paperless” can save money, boost productivity, save space, make documentation and information sharing easier, keep personal information more secure, and help the environment.”
Let’s get into it!
Let’s talk about different ways to generate electronic BOLs and deliver them:
- Email: You can create a Microsoft Word template and input the information for every order. Once that is done save it in a directory on your computer, then email to your driver.
- File Sharing: Still create a template with Microsoft Word, but rather than emailing the order to your driver start using a file sharing program. Some good examples are Google Drive, DropBox, or OneDrive. The driver will have access to this on his/her phone. One down side to the top two options is that the driver will need a printer in their cab to capture signatures.
- Order Management Software: Last, but not least the best method would be to have a program that generates Bills of Lading for you after you input all of the order information. This is the most scalable option of all three, simply because you can work with the developers (most of the time) for needs that you might have. What if your client requires EDI, Electronic Data Interchange? Without paperless electronic BOLs, you will be 10 steps behind your competition. As far delivering BOLs to the driver, worst case scenario you email or file share your BOLs. Best case the software you are using has a companion driver application. This way your dispatchers can assign orders to a driver, the driver logs into the app, and viola there are all their orders. The driver can capture electronic signatures and email a receipt to the client. The icing on the cake here really is you can trust that your drivers will never say, “Oops… where did I put my paperwork?!?” Everything would be stored in the cloud and even if the driver loses or breaks their mobile device they can go grab another one and reconnect to your business.
Does this apply to me?
Depending on your industry you will need to find a company that provides software tailored to you. The reason being is that the rules and regulations are different for shipping cars, cattle and chemicals. Once you do find a service, give it a test drive. Also, see if their developers are willing to help you grow and if the software will work for your company goals. Having Electronic Bills of Lading and going paperless truly is the future of the industry and you shouldn’t let your company fall behind the competition.
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