How important and efficient is a paperless manifest?
Back in the ’60s, the race to the moon was one of the most competitive, essential missions of
the United States and Russia.
Each launch, each orbit brought
each country one step closer to
achieving the greatest
accomplishment man would ever
know. Think of the millions and
millions of times men, women and
children would look at the moon in
amazement and imagination.
Headlines and TV reports documented
every step of the way.
So what does this have to do with
free pick-up and delivery?
Well, the latest challenges for all those whose routes have grown and continue
to grow is to
simplify the manifest and eliminate the pages and pages of printed stops.
Many POS systems are striving to achieve this, but even with today’s technology, there
appear to be hurdles or issues that are not achieving what many operators were
Several years ago, I met with Garmin to determine if there was a way to capture
data and convert it to the GPS device so that it becomes the actual manifest.
customer notes as well as clothes to be delivered were some of the hurdles, but
they did feel
that it would be a possibility.
Although some POS systems have the capability of transferring customer
information to a
GPS device, the actual route manifest would not be duplicated on it. Many
are probably more accurate and more efficient without them anyway. So we all
waited for our
POS systems to launch their own.
Fast forward to today and many now are promoting a paperless manifest for
and phones. Some are still in beta testing whiles others are looking pretty
The excitement of utilizing 21st century technology to make our service easier
mistakes provides us with the opportunity of making the customer service
experience better or
more accurate. Or does it?
I’ve seen various systems and here is my blessings and curses list, or in other
good, the bad and the ugly. Each has my top 5.
1. Paperless manifests are great for back-up route drivers or recently hired ones.
of them come with drive-by-drive instructions or a GPS element, anyone can drive
2. Some can accurately time stamp when and where the pick-up or delivery was made.
system is live, it can actually close out and bill the client on the spot.
3. No more printing of 20 to 30 pages.
4. Some of the systems allow you to add customers or make notes on the fly. New
can easily be added by the driver right there and then.
5. Invoices can be scanned when delivering, and the system will alert if you
wrong one or mis-scanned one. A couple of them also base this on the GPS
These are not deal-breakers, but…
1. Not all of them are “live”, so the changes and updates are not immediate or communicating
with your hosted system.
2. All the equipment can be cumbersome and handwriting in your van is needed.
3. If clothes are being scanned out on the truck, it actually can slow down an
driver. If it takes 30 seconds longer per delivery and you multiply that by 60,
that’s 30 more
4. A paperless manifest tends to be less detailed than one that has notes on it.
5. A manifest can be highlighted and some of the paperless options are not. This
driver down on deliveries.
1. GPS is not always 100 percent accurate, so misdeliveries occur when the driver
is at the right stop when he is not.
2. Drivers tend to be a little bit more rushed than other positions and they are
3. Jumping around if needed tends to be harder and slower for paperless manifests.
4. Many are still in beta testing and drycleaners would love to have them now.
5. Since some run on tablets or phones, updates tend to make the system crash.
Now, before you think I am bashing them all, I am not. I love the concept. Five
years ago I
wrote about how the race to a paperless manifest would make that POS system my
favorite. Most of them are really cool with neat bells and whistles that your
driver should use.
Just remember the drawbacks and determine if it is worth it. If your driver
doesn’t buy into it,
he may not use it or use it right.
I believe that many of them will get to where everything is right there on one
piece, with live
interaction and GPS directions and GPS tracking. Route optimization and
access to emails, etc., would take the cake.
Many are close, so be patient; they will get there. Just realize that if we
automatic with route servicing, what happens when, not if, your system crashes?
drivers must still validate addresses, not just assume they are at the right