National Clothesline
The great paperless manifest debate
I have been contributing articles to National Clothesline for more than 10 years now and I
have witnessed the evolution of route sales, systems, management, motivation and
accountability techniques.
Times have definitely changed, as
noticed when I look back at my
previous articles, especially ones
geared to assisting those who look
to their current POS systems for
cutting-edge assistance in
maintaining the efficiency and
consistency of running routes.
I’ve been privileged to attend
many conferences hosted by various
point-of-sale companies and
watched many of them step into the 21st century and beyond.
Going back in time, I often would write on how the race to a paperless manifest would be a
game changer. As we step into the second half of 2017, I watch as some of the established
computer systems are being challenged by outside companies to step up their game.
It’s like the space race from the ’60s in my world as I listen to the feedback from many of my
clients on what they are experiencing with paperless manifest. Without singling out any of the
systems, I do see many blessings with a paperless manifest as well as concerns or hurdles.
Technology provides us with various shortcuts and efficiencies. It can also provide challenges
when it doesn’t work like it should.
With that being said, here is the most common feedback I am hearing and experiencing with
a paperless manifest.
The positives
1. Provides a solution for back-up drivers. Anyone can now jump in the vehicle and service the
customers when needed.
2. Communicates real-time information to both the company and the consumers. Now you can
see when and/or where the pick-ups and deliveries where made.
3. Text/email reminders can directly communicate with the paperless manifest and show pick-
up requests as well as opt-out options.
4. Saves paper, saves ink.
5. More appealing to millennials when hiring.
6. Managers can see where the drivers are.
There are several others, but this is the most common feedback.
The concerns
1. Slow connectivity can slow the process down, especially with more than one customer at a
business or residential complex.
2. GPS is not always accurate, especially during optimization.
3. An increased accident rate; more blown tires.
4. Some states do not allow phones to be in drivers’ hands. Fines have increased.
5. Uses data or forces owners to buy smart phones for drivers. I know, it’s 2017 but I still see
driver’s using flip phones!!
6. Drivers get frustrated and stop using it.
 Now there are various blessings and concerns that I didn’t list because some have features
that others do not have.
When asked about using a paperless manifest, I responded the same: “It all depends in what
you are looking for and how you plan to use it.”
Personally, I have always been a fan of using technology to enhance service and increase the
customer experience.
Again, just like your current POS system, what benefits do you want and what do you need?
The bottom line is that I am still a fan.
I strongly recommend that you purchase a magnet holder designed for cell phones in
vehicles. This will allow for the driver to easily take the phone off the magnet to update and
then put it back.
I also recommend you talk to others using the same system and share positive as well as
recommendations to your provider. You are the ones in the field and your computer companies
need to know of the hurdles you are having.
I’m excited about where the technology is going and I believe that the quality and benefits of
each system will continue to get better.

James Peuster offers
onsite training and all
aspects of routes.
Management, marketing
and maintenance are all
key components in
developing a million-
dollar route.  You can
listen to his radio
programs on
He can be contacted at
(816) 739-2066 or
James Peuster