One of the strongest sentiment which is gripping the transportation and logistics industry for a while is to go digital. In an effort to make transportation more connected and automated, problem solvers are looking out to integrate the units of the supply chain which is still not directly connected with the process digitally. Reinventing software for truck drivers is a step in the same direction. Truck drivers constitute as the most important entity in the transportation cycle which facilitates the delivery in the last mile. But we tend to often neglect the problems plaguing this segment resulting in less than the optimum efficiency of the complete supply chain. The industry is pivoting itself to change the scenario with focussing on needed regulations. It is also implementing the regulations which ensure that the needed software for truck drivers takes place in the mainstream and are given equal importance to the other software solutions used in the supply chain. One of the biggest changes which are making a positive impact on the driver efficiency is enablement of ePOD by the organizations.
For an instance, Chrysler group took the lead in implementing ePOD for its fleet in North America in 2014. Soon after that General Motors followed Chrysler by adapting to ePOD in 2015. With two of the biggest automobile manufacturers kickstarting the trend in North America for the auto sector, other industries also started considering ePOD as a crucial mainstream industry practice. With the changing vision and more emphasis on easing the burden from already stressed out drivers, software for truck drivers are now getting configured with advanced level ePOD solutions. This has helped in eradicating the cumbersome paper-based manual process by replacing it with an automated process for accepting proof of delivery. With the market gearing up to follow important regulatory mandates such as ELD, the forward-thinking logistics solutions providers are vying for more holistic software for truck drivers which are by default integrated with these solutions. They are also seeking custom solutions which are generally aimed at developing bespoke software functionalities suiting the unique requirements of the fleet.Chrysler group took the lead in implementing ePOD for its fleet in North America in 2014 Click To Tweet
Why software for truck drivers are embracing ePOD
Earlier the EPOD technology and the backend system which needs to accompany it used to be an expensive affair (Somewhere between $2000-$4000 per unit). Therefore, it was limited to those operations of UPS and FEDEX where the speedy settlement of bills can induce higher returns. But over the period of time technology has advanced to innovating cheaper alternatives to provide more affordable options. This along with the benefits of savings on carbon footprints with a paperless process has significantly accelerated the adoption of EPODs by software for truck drivers used in the logistics industry.The software for truck drivers which are using EPOD method is able to save approximately 6500 hours per annum for each driver involved. Click To Tweet
One of the most common methods used to provide EPOD functionalities in software for truck drivers is a SAAS based app which helps the driver to communicate with the customer as well as the backend operations simultaneously. When we talk about the higher efficiency induced by EPODs, we will be closer to understanding the impact if we see the quantified statistics about the improvements that the logistics businesses are able to achieve. The software for truck drivers which are using EPOD method is able to save approximately 6500 hours per annum for each driver involved. This along with the other major benefits such as 10-15% reduction in mileage costs means that the drivers would be able to cover a larger area to deliver more orders. To summarize the most important benefits obtained with EPODs, we can focus on the following improvements which come with an advanced EPOD system.
- Proactive performance analytics.
- Digital time stamps for dispute management.
- Configurable settings to customize the POD.
- Unmatched connectivity between carrier and backend operation.
- Higher efficiency obtained with an automated process.
- The paperless process improves data security and reduces carbon footprints.
How ePOD works?
An Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) is essentially a digital receipt as proof of delivery. Conventionally, proof of delivery is handed over to the driver as the acknowledgment of the delivery which proves that the delivery is accepted at the stated time and place. This plays an important role in the prevention of disputes and verification of deliverables between the parties. The only problem lies with the mode of generating proof of delivery. With manual process it becomes cumbersome and a tedious process in practice. The driver has to keep an account of all the paper PODs and has to put additional efforts in handling. There is a fair chance of loss of information with cases of mishandling of PODs, damage to the vehicle or human error. The information is not secured until and unless it is saved digitally and conveyed to the management which comes in the later stages in manual POD receipts.
To eradicate these constraints, software for truck drivers have started to implement Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD). These are the digitally generated copies with equal or more information logged to help the shippers. The EPODs could be attested with digital signatures by the station manager at the time of the drop of deliveries which serves as a valid acknowledgment of acceptance of the delivery. There are two ways software for truck drivers are implementing EPOD system. The most basic system gives the driver an opportunity to scan the manual receipt to create a digital copy and send it to the backend management system in the real time. After conveying the scanned copy vies with updating the system with the relevant values in the relevant sections. In case the driver needs any of the EPOD submitted earlier during the journey, he can retrieve it from the database or request for the same from the backend office. Though bilateral communication is not always a reality it helps the truck drivers to push any instantaneous requirements and get out of sticky situations easily.
However, the scanning method poses few challenges too. Since the EPOD here is a digital copy of a physical receipt, the value still needs to be updated in the system manually. This doesn’t solve the problems of paper wastage, data loss, duplication or scope of human error. The only purpose it solves is conveying the PODs in real time which facilitates the further operation.
There is another advanced method used by software for truck drivers which is much more integral to the system. The EPOD can also be generated by the TMS and provided to the truck driver. The truck driver can be provided with a smartphone or a tablet through which he can see the POD. Here no manual POD generation is required and everything is present in the form of electronic receipts. The truck driver can get the digital EPOD verified by the station manager and ask for his digital signature as validation. These days with improved technology in smartphones segment has made it possible for the truck drivers to easily take the digital signatures over the smartphone or tablet screen. A shared copy can be sent to the customer as well as backend office for the reference. The most beneficial aspect of this method is that the backend office doesn’t need to update the EPOD content into the system separately. The relevant fields are already matched as the system is updated with the latest status of the deliveries by the fleet automatically. This prevents the transport management system to involve in the data entry operations and automates the bill generation process for faster completion of backend operations.
Essential features of ePOD
It is important to understand that any software for truck drivers is going to impact the supply chain directly. The users here are the drivers who are employed for a stressful job and will be requiring software solutions built with a user-centric approach.
It is important to understand that the ePOD system is going to be carried over via digital mediums. This means that the driver needs to update the delivery status with the help of a digital medium which requires delivering a decent user experience in order to be successful. One of the most challenging aspects of migration towards a digitally savvy process is the adoption cycle which needs the active participation of the user as well as management. Depending on the user feedback the development team can also make vital changes in the solution to make it a more useful software for truck drivers.
Migrating from a paper-based proof of delivery system to electronic and automated acceptance of proof of delivery involves a decent level of integration for the software for truck drivers with the other segments of the fleet management system. Hence it is necessary to understand the compatibility factors and the type of development which can be more suitable for the carriers for seamless integration. With due precision, the solution can deliver a higher rate of acceptance and better performance.
Robust Data-driven platform
The fleet managers should be able to check the delivery status through an intuitive dashboard which eases the process of estimation about the performance of fleet. It helps in not only getting the status of the delivery in real time but also helps in planning the next stage for the carriers as the carrier status can be changed to available. It is crucial for operations as it gives a clear picture of the available carriers and status of different carriers to take instantaneous decisions pertaining to dynamic routing.
The accessibility administered by an ePOD is one of the most attractive features of the solution. It makes sense for the shippers to be able to process the proof of delivery as soon as possible for updating the customer bills and further intimating the distribution centers. Therefore any lag between the update from driver’s side and transport management system will result in the delayed process. The system needs to be updated in real time such that all the units involved can proceed for the next step seamlessly.
While providing hassle-free accessibility is good for the employees it also involves a decent threat from online malware to the company database. Surely, the internet facilitates the information exchange in a better way but it also makes the solution more prone to foreign attacks. Therefore cloud-based solutions which can shunt out the core database in case of any threat are highly recommended. They also help in dodging the cyber attacks and making database extractable and safe.
Support and Maintenance
ePOD is fairly new concept for the drivers to operate on and needs a support system to resolve instantaneous queries. Apart from this, the training assistance helps the workforce to adapt to the ePOD solutions with greater confidence and lesser queries during practice. Since the delivery operations might encounter unique user stories, prompt support can help in easing the process for the driver with an alternative. Required changes can also be included in the implemented solution if the fleet encounters a need to pivot the system for greater efficiency.
It is important to note that even after getting the above mentioned essential features correct for a particular ePOD solution, there is fair expertise required for the development related to integration, implementation, and support. Since most of the manufacturers and fleet owners are seeking this software for truck drivers as standalone offering integration of ePOD solution with the existing TMS solution becomes crucial. Most of the logistics solutions providers are providing scanning as well as electronic signature based ePOD solutions. At Dreamorbit, we try to understand the challenges as well as client expectation from the solution they are opting for. Depending upon these two important factors we suggest the most appropriate solution. For an instant, a scan based ePOD system doesn’t facilitate the automation of the process in the same way as a digital signature based ePOD system does. The later has a higher level of expertise involved and supports automation of the process at more intrinsic level. While the earlier tends to limit itself at faster submission and acceptance of proof of delivery. We try to learn more about the requirements from the customer before starting any development. If you are also looking out for dependable solutions for software for truck drivers, we can get in touch for a quick discussion.
DreamOrbit is a Logistics and Supply Chain Technology Development company. We have been creating meaningful and reliable software products for the industry which is “Always on the go” for the past half decade. We are highly motivated team aimed at innovation. Our philosophy is to “keep challenging the potential within”. With the support of our happy customers and dedicated team, we strive to provide best possible solutions to industry problems. Visit our website to know more aboutDreamOrbit.