Leading motor carrier and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) around the world improve the accuracy and efficiency of operations by teaming up with experienced business processing partners to streamline proof of delivery and other vital, yet often overlooked, back office functions. As cross-border trade heats up and 3PLs look to sharpen their competitive edge, they need subject matter experts who can navigate increasingly complex global markets and supply chains.
By teaming up with a team of back office experts, you'll gain agility and real-time transparency that empowers you with actionable insights. You can combat an ever-evolving series of logistics challenges, and rise above your competition.
In the simplest terms, proof of delivery is a receipt that proves a transportation company has successfully delivered goods with acceptance by the recipient, who has confirmed via written acknowledgment (signature) that the carrier has delivered the shipment.
Of course, most 3PL executives are familiar with the proof of delivery (POD) itself, but they don't always have a full understanding of the costs related to processing this necessary documentation.
The most widely used proof of delivery (POD) is a paper slip that a driver hands to receiving personnel for a signature. 3PLs may call their PODs “delivery notes," “delivery orders," or “delivery dockets." Nevertheless, they all serve the same primary function and contain similar information. PODs serve as proof that a driver has delivered a good and that a recipient received it.
The next step in the POD process is the digitization of manual proof of delivery. Companies must scan their manual PODs into digital images. Once this is completed, the organization can leverage technology for improved insights and operational efficiency at each point along the shipping journey.
When you opt to store your POD images in a centralized database, you can gain immediate access to information about your operation and benefit from your new ability to update your stakeholders in near real-time.
PODs are a formal recording that goods have reached their destination. It serves as evidence for all parties that goods have exchanged possession. In an environment where the distance between stakeholders is expanding, PODs are a critical part of doing business.
In concept, proof of delivery works. However, POD retrieval is time-consuming and can be inefficient when workflows are not built properly. With a secure and tech-enabled POD processing and image retrieval system, you’ll never lose a record and will always have the most valuable information for your shippers at your fingertips.
Manual data entry is tedious and labor-intensive. By streamlining proof of delivery (POD) processing and retrieval with technology, companies gain unprecedented insight into daily operations. With this new visibility, companies can improve the reliability and effectiveness of their back office operations from the inside-out. Instead of weighing down employees with the task of manually entering POD data into your system from handwritten forms, you can innovate with automated capture systems to convert information into digital, reusable formats.
By integrating an automatic data capture system into your enterprise resource planning software, or ERP, administrative operations become smart, scalable and strategic for sustainable business growth.
One of the most immediately noticed and long-term impacts of innovation in the back office is the rapid reduction of errors. Quality metrics in mean quality metrics coming out. In addition to higher accuracy data feeding into your system, you’ll also able to store and retrieve documents correctly with a standardized taxonomy- with ease. Your accounts receivables department will begin serving the rest of your company as a well-oiled, cashflow machine in no time.
What’s more, by automating your freight billing, you don’t just standardize your processes. You’re also freeing your finance and accounting (F&A) clerical staff to focus on more critical initiatives.
Here’s how: The “paper” will be taken out of “paperwork”, and your staff members have 24/7, secure access to digitally-stored POD images that have been indexed and from which the data has already been captured and relayed to necessary applications. Now, with the flexibility to search for documents using a range of criteria, chasing down PODs is one less thing you have to worry about.
With your new capabilities, your team is empowered to do more – and to do it faster. For example, time-consuming steps to getting business relationships off the ground - like onboarding new customers - are expedited significantly when you can automate the verification of customer information. By completing tasks in seconds rather than hours, you can train and utilize employees for the specialties you hired them for originally.
And, by pairing other technologies with POD digitization, carriers and 3PLs like you will strengthen your position as a best-in-class transportation service provider.
By digitizing proof of delivery, organizations build a wealth of information. Data enables logistics stakeholders to create visualizations that provide easy to understand explanations of supply chain performance. As a result, logistics executives who digitize manual processes enhance their ability to make mission-critical decisions while gaining a detailed understanding of how logistics partners contribute to the success of their organization.
By creating relevant, informative data visualizations, companies have the necessary visibility to respond to client concerns and opportunities quickly. Furthermore, data empowers organizations to improve over time such as identifying opportunities to improve inventory management, order management, supply chain execution, and other functions.
In the last decade, enterprises have significantly benefited from advancements in big data and artificial intelligence (AI) systems. This development has enabled businesses to share shipping ledgers, transactions, and logs as well as actionable, meaningful information. Often times, companies turn to administrative logistics providers to generate the information they need to manage the various channels that go into supply chain management more effectively.
Recently, researchers are evaluating blockchain technology for the next iteration of logistics data security. Blockchain may soon provide a new level of logistics auditing capability, transparency, and security. For now, however, digitization offers a level of accountability that easily eclipses that of manual proof of delivery alone. It’s the bridge between the proof of delivery of today and that of the future.
The business world is getting smaller – in theory. The borders of commerce are slowly fading away as the international marketplace gains steam, and global e-commerce continues to become the norm. As global trade ramps up, it’s more important than ever to guarantee delivery and provide transparency to clients.
It is difficult for manual PODs alone to meet this demand. Proof of delivery digitization is essential to conduct business and compete in the global marketplace. The free-flowing, organized nature of data empowers carriers and 3PLs to perform beyond expectations in an ever-expanding business environment. Competent logistics back-office service providers maintain POD data that is beyond reproach. Digitally-empowered companies are able to follow a data stream back to the point of origin if needed.
3PLs and shipping companies across the globe save millions of dollars by reducing their daily sales outstanding (DSO) by leveraging the data that results from digitizing manual proof of delivery. By going paperless, you save the costs associated with maintaining and working with manual proof of delivery files.
Digitization is especially beneficial for fast-growing companies and for those experiencing exponential growth. Over time, companies generate a massive amount of paperwork. Every time that an employee needs information, they must sift through a growing mountain of files which takes up time and energy.
By electronically capturing and storing POD receipts, you can integrate digital records into your existing legacy system. Once you've integrated your manual records with a database, you'll have the ability to access the right information on-demand. What this means is that you can grow without needing to grow your staff.
With digitized proof of delivery, your experienced staff members can stay on top of DSO with fully transparent recordkeeping which means you no longer have to experience week-long lag times between executing services and issuing billing statements. Digitized PODs reduce billing time from days to hours. Accordingly, you’ll witness DSO drop dramatically after implementing a system to electronically record manual receipts.
Technology is key to making the most of limited resources. By combining digitized proof of delivery with other technologies such as barcodes and RFID tags, you can free staff members from manual labor, allowing them to focus on important tasks that add value to your company. Moreover, with the spread of mobile technology, stakeholders can access information anywhere and at any time.
Digitizing manual proof of delivery receipts is certainly a viable solution for keeping up with a world that's in the midst of disruptive change. 3PLs and carriers that automate their proof of delivery process and retrieval are ultimately able to reallocate their resources to focus on strategic, core competencies – such as acquiring new business, keeping you ahead of the competition.
Example Of A Typical Manual POD Retrieval System
Logistics is a crucial economic driver for carriers and 3PL organizations. In the competitive marketplace, today's executives need effective logistics, transportation, and distribution data. Digitizing manual POD receipts give companies access to a full view of the logistics channel by combining that information with the wealth of data available throughout an organization. Now, all carriers and 3PLs have the ability to enjoy an overarching view of the supply chain. With this foresight, bottlenecks can be avoided and the sharing of information, in a sense, empowers stakeholders to look into the future.
An experienced administrative service provider can address a seemingly never-ending stream of logistics challenges. Through this partnership, carriers and 3PLs, in turn, are able to provide unparalleled levels of service and focus on value-added work. All companies need far-reaching supply chain visibility to navigate a labyrinth of complex modern logistics channels. Easily-accessible data is a solution for harmony between warehouses, manufacturers, receiving, and all other points across logistics channels.