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The proof-of-delivery (POD) ticket is a cornerstone of the distribution business. A signed ticket is the basis for collecting payment and is often the key to resolving customer questions and accounting disputes. When one can’t be located, a distributor can lose both revenue and credibility.

To ensure swift, maximum cash flow and responsive customer service, PODs must be stored in an electronic database soon after deliveries are complete, and employees must have fast, easy access to delivery status. JJ Haines, one of the country’s largest floor covering distributors, recently turned to Advance to create a streamlined system for managing its PODs. The solution has eliminated excessive paperwork, shaving days off the company’s previous process, while reducing expenses and making it a snap to locate documents. As a result, JJ Haines is operating at peak productivity and can respond to customer questions in record time.

The Problem

Serving customers from New Jersey to Florida, JJ Haines is headquartered in Baltimore and has six additional warehouse locations.  Before implementing the new document management system, each location produced batches of PODs on expensive NCR paper with a dot matrix printer. Following deliveries, drivers gave the signed tickets to a manager who spent 90 minutes a day matching them to a reconciliation report before copying and filing the documents.

Next, the manager packed and shipped the original PODs to headquarters, where they were checked and adjusted for legibility before being scanned. To enable searching, optical character recognition (OCR) software converted images to text. Then, the data was stored in the company’s database.

Challenges

  • There was significant lag time between a delivery and the entry of its POD in the database. As a result, customers with questions about a delivery sometimes had to wait days for an answer.
  • The OCR software was not reliable. Errors in text conversion made it impossible to retrieve some PODs. Staff spent nearly $12,000 in time each year searching for missing tickets.
  • If a customer disputed a delivery and a POD could not be located, JJ Haines would have to write off the delivery as a loss.
  • Managers across the company invested approximately 15 hours a day—valued at more than $32,000 a year—just matching PODs to reconciliation reports. 
  • The dot matrix printers and NCR paper for the PODs were costly. 

Solution

Advance designed and deployed a highly efficient, automated proof-of-delivery process.  Tickets are now produced on laser printers and include a barcode with the delivery number to ensure accuracy. When they’re printed, a control image is captured and stored electronically.

After deliveries, drivers simply place a stack of signed PODs in a multi-sheet scanner. This activates the document management software to match each ticket to the control image and change the delivery status in the database.

Results

In just hours—rather than days—managers and executives now have access to PODs and the status of deliveries. That means JJ Haines can respond much more quickly to customers’ questions and, when appropriate, send them an image of a signed ticket.

Barcoding enables a highly accurate electronic record. As a result, staff members no longer consume valuable time hunting for misread PODs. With far less paperwork to do, they can dedicate more time to high-value tasks. Annual savings in staff time is worth a minimum of $44,000.

The company is also saving $10,000 a year in paper costs.

Chad Parson, Information Technology Manager at JJ Haines, believes the document management solution is effective because Advance “didn’t try to make the technology fit the system. Instead, we have a whole new process.”

On top of making POD archiving and retrieval more efficient, the system “builds a foundation for automating other aspects of our business, which will further enhance our productivity,” said Parson.

Find out more about Document Management from Advance >>

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