Technology for digital real-time proof of delivery

March 28th, 2017, Published in Articles: EngineerIT


Strato IT Group CEO Cassie Lessing showing one of the many customised dashboard views.

Business practices are in a constant state of digital transformation.  The paper process for deliveries is one such development in digitisation.

Technology is continually on the march with many developments focussing on digital transformation of current business practices, such as the delivery note. For many years deliveries came with a piece of paper.  The items would be diligently ticked and signed off.  This would go to the back office and the invoicing process would start. Oops! One of the delivered items was broken and had to be returned. Now a whole new back office process would have to be restarted.

For many industries the paper process became a nightmare. Toyota’s National Part Distribution Centre management recently shared their frustration at the escalating cost of manual delivery note systems. Historically the company relied on manual processes for delivery documentation. These manual processes meant that any changes or amendments had to be actioned on a paper-based delivery note, often resulting in misinterpretation of information by staff responsible for capturing data, leading to delays in clarifying information, and ultimately lengthy delays in resolution of claims.

The Strato IT group – which had been involved in SAP implementations – became interested in the delivery note problem and embarked on developing StratoPod, a system that would digitise the whole process and add more functionality to the whole delivery and back office processes.  According to Cassie Lessing, CEO of Strato IT, the company looked at various digital mobile terminals but found that the use of a tablet was the obvious answer. He said  there were many sceptics claiming that delivery drivers would not know how to use a tablet and they would be careless with them leading to breakage and frequent costly replacements. This was found to be nonstarter excuse to implemening a digitised system, as most people have a cell phones and know how to use them.

Lessing said that it was important to create a digital delivery note that was identical to the printed version and to build in a complete back office system.  He said that the system developed provides far more control than any manual system; and that as long there is cell phone coverage – and that is just about everywhere in South Africa, there is full control. A company will know exactly where the driver is making the delivery,  and when the delivery note is signed by the receiver. Any damaged item can the photographed at the point of delivery. A digital delivery note is sent to the recipient, and all systems are updated including the invoice and any other records as may be required.

Developments are continuing and the system will also make provision for “back of the van sales”, recording sales, creating delivery notes to invoices and the whole accounting process.

What makes digital processes so much more appealing is that it keep everyone in the process, and instantly involved. Should the driver and truck be temporarily outside a cell coverage area, the system will update automatically when cell coverage is again available.

A dashboard is available which will show every step of the way and monitor where the truck is at any time of the day. This greatly enhances security and driver safety.

This home-grown system was recently shown at an exhibition in the USA and attracted interest from potential users as well as distributors.

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