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Touchless Freight Documents - eBOLs & ePODs

Touchless Freight Documents – eBOLs & ePODs

Reading Time: 7 minutes

eBOLs and ePODs are one of the most talked-about and requested features in the trucking industry right now. Many companies are creating one size fits all solutions that aren’t quite right for everyone. The ability and functionality to create custom workflows around eBOLs and ePODs is already available on the Eleos Platform. Watch Scott Applefeld of ASR Solutions discuss different ways Eleos clients have implemented solutions that fit their business perfectly with the tools they already have.


 

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Full Video Transcription

Wes Pollock
So good morning. I’m Wes Pollock, Vice President of Sales for Eleos Technologies. And with me I have Scott Applefeld. Scott’s one of the owners of ASR Solutions. Hi, Scott.

Scott Applefeld
Hi, Wes.

Wes Pollock
So ASR is both an integration partner of ours as well as a reseller of our platform. One of the things we want to discuss today is the chatter we’re hearing in the industry about eBOL and touchless freight. We’ve had a couple customers leverage our platform to be able to answer the needs of their shippers. Scott’s going to walk us through that.

Scott Applefeld
Thanks, Wes.

Yeah, we’ve had a number of customers come to us recently to ask about how they could expand their use of the Eleos Platform to address requirements for touchless freight. And it’s really quite fascinating because the industry has always had something of a pipe dream to achieve eBOLs. Eliminate paper, do it all electronically.

Wes Pollock
I’ve been hearing it since I’ve been in the industry, trucking companies wanted to eliminate having to carry that paperwork. But one of the biggest challenges is the shippers. They all have different requirements, right?

Scott Applefeld
That’s exactly it.

So the problem that has always been the barrier is that each shipper wants to do it differently. Each consignee wants to do it differently. There’s just different requirements for different business models, different carriers. And so one solution was never really the answer. There was no consistency that could just get everyone on board. Now the pandemic has changed the desire for that. We’re finally seeing shippers and consignees come to the table and being open to adopting some of their processes and opening their processes up to achieve it, for their own protection and the protection of their employees. So I have two stories that I want to tell about specific customer instances where we’ve been addressing this. The first came to us a few weeks ago, and they had a much simpler version that they wanted to focus on putting in place. Their goal was to simply expose the BOL to the driver, because as you know, there is a legal requirement that when running down the road, the driver must have a bill of lading accessible to an officer in case he’s stopped and for first responders, that sort of thing. So they knew that they would have different ways of getting a BOL from different customers. Some would email it to them, some might present it to them, some work that they did repeatedly, they might have, you know, their own form for it, that sort of thing. So they simply needed to be able to very quickly provide the driver with an electronic copy, make sure they were legally compliant, confirm that they could do that and adopt various business models from the shipper. And that would allow them to have a competitive advantage in some of the bids they were doing right then. So we simply added the capability to expose a BOL that they had put into their system or shared on their network, and make it available to the driver the moment that they shared it. So however the shipper provided to them, they were immediately able to inform the driver, he could confirm it on his device, and he could legally run down the road without a physical BOL in his cab. And from the time they asked us to it until they had that feature in their drivers’ hands. I think it was the very next day. It was very rapidly able to be deployed.

Wes Pollock
Why so long, Scott?

Scott Applefeld
Well, we did have to sleep that night. So you know, it took a little bit of time. But it was a very, very quick response, and it successfully enabled them to get that competitive advantage and take that to those bids.

Wes Pollock
They were able to win some business off of this, right?

Scott Applefeld
Yes. And I can kind of demonstrate a very simple sort of model of what that looks like, a real simple app. So, what I have here is just my demo app. I’ve already signed in as a driver, so we can see what it looks like. But you can see how you know, in looking at the information about the load, as we normally would, I have introduced a View BOL button. So that shows up for them the moment that they put the BOL in the system on their side however they received it from the shipper. And the driver can tap on it, pull up the BOL, see it on their device, confirm the information about it, so on and so forth.

Wes Pollock
Nice.

Scott Applefeld
In the second story, I’ll tell you in just a moment, we’re talking about some further features where we can do things like e-sign a BOL as well, but we’ll get to that next. So that’s just a quick example of how using the dynamic nature of the platform and the dynamic nature of requirements on the shipper side, they were able to very rapidly address that issue.

Wes Pollock
And you were able to put that all together in about two hours.

Scott Applefeld
Yes, it took us about two hours of work to actually make the changes to the system, roll them out and then for them to test and confirm that it was good and prepare it for their drivers.

Wes Pollock
That’s great.

Scott Applefeld
So the other customer that we’re exploring this with has a much more dynamic set of requirements. Again, every shipper is different, every consignee is different. In their model they, the shipping clerks, are going to be producing three or four hundred BOLs per location per day. They just don’t have the time to send them out via email or scan them in on their end or any of that.

Wes Pollock
That’s the challenge I’ve seen with some of these other solutions is who’s going to want to sit there and scan with a smartphone 300 pieces of paper?

Scott Applefeld
Yeah, it can, especially with higher volumes, that can be very problematic. That can be a difficult answer, even though that does work in some cases, it doesn’t fit all. So the advantage, what they’re planning to do is they’re working with that customer themselves to have the customer automatically tie in their process of generating the BOLs. So when the shipping clerk clicks Print BOL, they’re going to also fire it back to the customer themselves, the form that they have generated for it, and provide it to them. So same sort of thing where the moment it’s received it will then be available to the driver and the driver can view the BOL, can sign off on the BOL, and we can send the signed copy back to them to confirm that they have the information they need. We’re also able to tie in a lot of other custom-tailored requirements that they had, so for instance, when they drive on-site using their telematics provider, which happens to be Geotab, we will automatically trigger an arrival notification and package up necessary paperwork which will include things like their self-certification health form, tank wash certification, showing that they’re ready to load the product, as well as trip information about who has arrived and they’ll be loading. That’s all sent to the shipper as soon as they arrive on-site so they can begin the process of getting them loaded. Same thing’s true on the consignee’s end, but we’ll also include the bill of lading so that they can e-sign the BOL and be able to complete the process and inform the driver they are ready to depart. So just a tremendous amount of flexibility using the tools of Eleos to automatically provide that information, scan those documents, sign it, inform the driver what those workflows are, and tie their actions to notifications on the shipper and consignees’ side.

Wes Pollock
Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing all that. I think the big point here is that we all know one solution does not fit all problems, right? And the Eleos Mobile Platform empowers our customers to be able to provide the right solution at the right time. So thanks again for your time today, Scott. Have a good weekend. And hopefully, we’ll do this again soon.

Scott Applefeld
Thanks, Wes. You too.

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