It’s increasingly challenging for distributors to be profitable. How can distributors differentiate themselves without having to drop their prices to unprofitable levels to remain competitive? One way is to scan proof-of-delivery (POD) documents and manage them electronically. This helps improve their bottom line by making proof-of-delivery documents instantly available:
- When needed for invoicing
- To answer customer questions
- And to resolve disputes
Below are two example distribution scenarios where document scanning and electronic management of PODs leads directly to happy customers and increased profitability.
Scenario A: Proof-of-Delivery Gets Lost
Upon returning from their deliveries, a driver drops off a stack of proof-of-delivery documents at the warehouse. One POD is lost for a delivery that was successfully made in full. Following receipt of their invoice, the customer calls in and complains about the incomplete delivery. Upon searching for the POD, neither the warehouse nor accounts receivable can find it. This puts the distributor in the uncomfortable position of having to make a second shipment or crediting the customer—each of which results in lost money and an unhappy customer.
The alternative: Each driver drops off all PODs at the office at the end of the day. They are either scanned internally or picked up by a document scanning company. The resulting electronic proofs-of-deliveries are uploaded to the distributor’s document management system which is integrated with their ERP system.
When a customer calls to complain, accounts receivable quickly logs into their ERP system, retrieves the POD within seconds and emails it to the customer to prove the shipment was made in full. Now, the customer knows exactly when the shipment arrived and who signed for it so they can track down what went wrong with the shipment on their end instead of blaming the distributor. The customer is made aware of their internal problem, corrects it and appreciates the rapid distributor response.
Scenario B: Partial Delivery
As in Scenario A, a driver drops of a stack of proofs-of-delivery at the warehouse, but in this case, he notes that one of the deliveries was only partially made. He makes a handwritten note on one of the PODs to let the warehouse know, but has to leave it on someone’s desk.
When the warehouse employee finally gets the note, they realize that there’s been an incomplete delivery and the customer is still waiting for the rest of their order. By this time, the customer has angrily called accounts receivable after receiving a full invoice, only to find that AR has no idea what happened. Because they needed the shipment made in full as soon as possible, the customer is upset, at risk of losing business themselves and now wondering if they should place their next order with another distributor.
The alternative: Each driver drops off all PODs at the office at the end of the day, they’re scanned into the document management system and made available in the distributor’s ERP system.
An index field indicates whether the shipment was made partially or in full. In the case of a partial shipment, the document management system’s workflow module automatically notifies the warehouse that the remainder of the order needs to be picked and shipped as soon as possible.
Once the shipment is completed, accounts receivable receives notification that they can invoice the customer. The customer appreciates the quick resolution.
The Benefits Are Clear
With a manual and paper-based system, proof-of-delivery documents can easily get misplaced or lost, leaving key people – warehouse staff, accounts receivable staff, and worst of all, the customer – in the dark when problems occur. Document scanning and document management help avoid these mistakes and help correct them quickly when they occur.
“In food distribution, deliveries are often made to the kitchen, so invoices and delivery
receipts often get lost or never make it to the front office for processing. Digiscribe
gives us more efficiency and speed in finding the information we need – it’s right at our
fingertips. If there’s a problem or dispute, I can easily find and email the invoice directly to
the customer. There’s no more misfiling, we use less filing cabinets and we were able to
redeploy two part-time filing employees.”
-Michael Endico, Vice President, Ace Endico
Scanning proof-of-delivery documents prevents unnecessary shipments and product credits, enhances customer service and increases cash flow as satisfied customers tend to pay accurate invoices faster.
Want a detailed example? Document scanning helped one company reduce document retrieval time from 30 minutes to three seconds. Read the case study now!