Did you know that each Australian, on average, uses over 230kg of paper each year? This creates a slew of files and documents for managers to sift through in the workplace. For those in transport and logistics, that means managing physical copies of order forms, logbooks, customer contracts, receipts, and reports.
But what if there was another way to manage all this documentation without using tonnes of paper?
For many businesses, the idea of going paperless is a daunting one, especially when so many of your processes are currently paper based. However, with the right technology, making the switch to a paperless workforce has never been easier.
Here’s what you can do to begin the transition to digital today.
Start From Within
Creating a paperless workforce takes time. You can’t expect to instantly switch all your paper-based processes over to digital.
Creating a paperless environment requires all your staff to be on board, so you should begin with setting clear benchmarks with all team members to kick off a gradual transition. Creating goals of monthly paper usage and encouraging staff to limit their printing will ensure the overall mission of a paperless workforce stays top of mind for everyone.
For all staff to buy into the transition into a paperless workforce, managers should focus on educating team members about the wider benefits of going digital – not only does it reduce spending, but it allows staff to complete jobs and access information faster. Look at what paper-based processes will be the easiest to swap over so staff can immediately see the positive benefits. Take the time to identify particular areas of inefficiency and potential bottlenecks in the business that can be improved by going digital, such as invoicing and auditing
To encourage all staff to get on board, nominate a monthly paperless champion who can motivate staff, keep track of progress, and take ownership of the project. This not only promotes discussion but also adds a personal element to the transition.
Implementing In-Cabin Devices
For paper-based transport businesses, each driver must manage stacks of paperwork within their cabin, such as customer requirements, permits, and work diaries.
The problem with these physical documents is that it leaves the business open to error. Incorrect working hours may be jotted down, providing admin staff with an incomplete view of a driver’s fatigue levels. There’s also the chance that these documents get misplaced or fall into the wrong hands.
Digitised documentation in the truck enables drivers to instantly pull up the information they need. No more having to flick through dozens of pages – going paperless ensures everyone stays legally compliant while completing jobs more quickly and efficiently.
You’ll also have peace of mind that the documentation in all vehicles is always up to date. Paper documentation requires you to hand the physical document to each driver each time it’s updated, which can be hard if they’re working in remote areas and a huge process if you’re managing hundreds of employees. By switching to paperless operations, admin staff can update all documentation in real-time across the entire fleet.
The same process applies to Electronic Work Diaries (EWDs). Managers and back office staff don’t have to wait weeks for paper-based logbooks to be entered into the system. All work and rest hours are immediately available to staff and are recorded by drivers with the touch of a screen. Being able to view this info as it comes in allows businesses to shift their fatigue strategies from reactive to proactive.
Streamlined Customer Experience
Removing paper from your operations isn’t just great for the environment. Digitising all documentation across your fleet creates faster, more efficient processes that ultimately lead to an improved customer experience.
Say an urgent job comes in. Instead of guessing the current location of each driver, staff can use GPS tracking to view exactly where each team member is at any time, allowing managers to assign the job to the nearest driver and provide customers with a realistic timeframe instead of a standard half-day windows.
Depending on the types of goods you’re delivering, some customers will have their own specific requirements. For example, they may request you to deliver equipment to a specific area of a large job site. If you’re required to deliver a piece of machinery to a specific site office, the in-cabin device will guide you through the site to ensure your customers are satisfied.
Staying on top of these requests is tricky when recorded on paper, but with in-cabin devices, drivers will be immediately notified if they stray from a prescribed route and will be redirected in real-time to deliver goods in a safe and swift manner.
Transport operators that make the jump to digital documentation will not only reduce costs, but make it easy for employees to complete jobs safely and more efficiently - in turn delivering a better experience for customers.