The days of paper documentation are rapidly coming to an end, but not everything has gone completely digital — electronic proof of delivery (and all of the associated documents with deliveries) is one example of a critical form of documentation that’s in the transition phase.
Electronic proof of delivery looks a little like this: A carrier will scan in a signed proof of delivery into their TMS or their website, and then your TMS will grab that scan electronically and make it available, almost instantaneously, to both you, the broker, and your customers.
Even better than proof of delivery alone – it’s all of the documents associated with successfully running your third-party logistics company. How much would your business benefit from each of your account managers (or dispatchers) having full electronic document retrieval for every document associated with each shipment?
The main reason why anyone would care about this is the time factor. When you’re running a brokerage (or any business for that matter), time is money.
One less minute that you’re spending tracking down documentation is one more minute you can spend on, well, whatever you want!
Having a TMS that automatically grabs all of your shipment documentation from common carrier websites saves you time in a number of ways. First, it saves you the hassle of having to track down or wait for a proof of delivery, bill of lading, or the re-weigh document. Hunting documents down is something that happens many times a day and that eats up more time than you’d think when you actually look at the numbers.
Another way that getting your shipment documentation delivered to your TMS instantaneously saves you time is by making all necessary documents available to both your employees and your customers.
This is huge. Of course, this assumes that your TMS has a customer portal like BrokerWare™ offers. The more information that your customer has access to, the more parts of the supply chain that your customer can see from their portal without having to contact you, the less time you spend on the phone or in an email chain with a customer.
And the more time you can spend on higher-level problems.
One of the hottest buzzwords in the world of logistics these days is supply chain visibility (SCV).
Supply chain visibility is a simple concept that makes a lot of sense from the standpoint of your customer — the more they’re able to see of exactly what’s happening with their shipments, the happier they’re going to be about the shipping process.
This makes sense from a consumer’s perspective. Amazon and other large B2C shippers have been doing this for years. When customers make a purchase, they want to see how that purchase is progressing.
A TMS with a dedicated customer portal is one of the best modern ways of making large portions of the supply chain visible to the customer. The more portions of the supply chain that are visible (and this includes things like your bill of lading or your proof of delivery), the happier your customers tend to be.
This is more true the larger the shipments are, the more often shipments are occurring, and the more important it is that the shipments are arriving when and where they need to. In many cases, shippers are shipping last minute, and the shipped items need to be delivered right on time.
The sense of anxiety that comes with deliveries like this can be overwhelming to a customer, which is where supply chain visibility comes in. If your customers are able to see things like electronic proof of delivery as soon as they’re available, their anxiety levels are reduced, which means they’re much less likely to bother you with questions.
Specifically concerned about electronic proof of delivery?
If you’re using that as part of the BrokerWare™ TMS, you need to make sure that your carriers are doing a few specific things when using the feature.
First, you need to make sure that the carriers aren’t writing “said to contain (STC)” or “shrink wrapped pallet (SWP)” on the delivery receipt.
Second, you need to ensure that the carrier signs for the number of pieces that are on each pallet.
Third, you need to make sure that the carrier is notating damage to the freight on the delivery receipt.
Fourth, you need to make sure that the shipment is refused if it’s extremely damaged.
Fifth and last, you need to make sure that any concealed damages are reported to the carrier within five business days.
TMS features like electronic document retrieval are only a small part of what a powerful TMS like BrokerWare™ can do for you.
Want to know more about the documents that can be retrieved – and best practices for electronic management of bills of lading, re-weigh documents, or other documents that you’ll want associated with your customers? We’re happy to help.
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