As logistics carriers struggle to track the full scope of deliveries and returns, legacy paper-based systems simply can’t keep up. Carriers are turning to electronic proof of delivery (POD) applications, typically bundled with fleet management solutions, to provide instantaneous proof of delivery throughout the supply chain.

Transportation and logistics enterprises of any size value the oversight and analytics that come with electronic POD. However, not all businesses are so up to speed. Some carriers are still stuck in the world of fax machines, and their drivers use truck-stop services to fax confirmations and orders back to dispatch. This is hardly ideal, especially in today’s fast-paced transportation industry, where overnight shipments are the norm. To stay ahead, many leading operators are adopting cloud-based logistics systems designed for mobile devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active2.

Blue Dot, a leading global enterprise mobile software, products and services company, develops mobile field service and fleet solutions. These are built on its industry-leading technology platform, Cyan Mobile Platform, which runs on Android devices such as the Samsung’s Galaxy A series or Galaxy Note phones. These modern, lightweight mobile devices replace the proprietary “bricks” that were some of the first commercial mobile products on the market in the 1980s.

Electronic POD Streamlines Deliveries

Blue Dot rolled out its electronic POD solutions with small wholesale distributors that deliver products to construction sites and retail locations. Using mobile devices that run on the Cyan Mobile Platform, customers can quickly sign for shipments with a single digit, and the device shares the shipment information automatically with their back office.

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Blue Dot has secured similar mobile solution offerings for larger logistics companies by expanding electronic POD to pickup services, as well. Overall, the company’s pickup and delivery services streamline logistics operations by automating common driver tasks to ensure accurate, on-time and error-free pickups, deliveries and returns. By automating processes, carriers can better serve their customers, increase productivity, lower operating costs and increase margins.

Electronic POD Makes Pickups More Efficient

Blue Dot listened to customers to refine the pickup side of the transaction, which is much more complicated than simple deliveries. “We discovered there’s a very different process associated with pickups,” says Randy Starr, vice president of technology for Blue Dot. “We see that many companies want additional information about the pickup, so it’s critical to be able to capture all that information and take a photo if something is damaged,” Starr says.

According to Starr, Blue Dot’s pickup and delivery services were designed to accommodate returns from overage, shortage and damage (OS&D) operations. Drivers can use the mobile devices to record information about the packages and take photos with the built-in camera. The app can record where a shipment was delivered if no one was at the location to sign for it, and it can provide POD if the recipient reports shortages.

Android Devices Provide a Seamless, Cost-Effective Experience

Blue Dot developed the mobile application with a responsive design so that it would present properly regardless of the device, allowing drivers to move seamlessly between smartphones and tablets. It’s also developing the capability to sync its mobile app data across multiple devices for a single user. According to Starr, “Drivers would always be looking at the same data because they’re using the same application, and we want to make it so they can use whatever device is appropriate at the right moment.” For instance, a driver may use a tablet mounted in the truck for navigation and other in-cab activities, and then switch to a smartphone to record activity outside the cab.

When it comes to implementing an electronic POD solution, cost per unit is often a major consideration. Starr notes, “A company might have two dozen trucks, so cost is a major factor for them.” Using cost-effective Android devices and Blue Dot’s cloud-based solutions makes it economically viable for all companies to adopt the electronic POD solutions. In addition, because the devices can be removed from the cab with ease, the same device can service multiple trucks.

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Gary Wollenhaupt

Gary Wollenhaupt is a veteran of the transportation and logistics industry, with carrier-side experience in intermodal, rail and inland and ocean shipping verticals, managing corporate marketing and public policy initiatives. He's also worked as a reporter for a daily newspaper and in corporate and agency public relations. Follow Gary on Twitter: @gary_writes

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