While many forces had a profound impact on the transportation industry over the past decade, none were as transformative as digitization. The proliferation of ELDs (whether by companies acting of their own accord or simply to stay DoT-compliant) completely revolutionized the way firms managed their driver activity. And in recent years alone, GPS routing and asset tracking technology, has improved by leaps and bounds.
But despite all of that technological advancement, one aspect of transportation remains largely un-digitized—forms. From Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports to Job Hazard Analysis Forms, far too many transportation companies still rely on paper to carry out their operations. And much like how digitization enhanced how firms kept up with their logbooks, digitization of paper forms can also result in accelerated efficiency.
Looking beyond obvious benefits (e.g. reduced printing costs and the elimination of data entry) this blog post will focus on three benefits of digital forms that can be directly attributed to truly meaningful business gains.
Fewer Hours Wasted on Form Corrections
Anyone whose job revolves around forms will tell you that, no matter how intuitive a form may appear, customers will inevitably (and sometimes frequently) complete them incorrectly. When such errors arise, it becomes the responsibility of transportation company staff to reach out to their customers in order to correct them. Over time, the resulting back-and-forth phone calls and emails add up to significant amounts of time that would have been better spent on more productive tasks.
Digital forms greatly alleviate this common challenge. Most digitization solutions enable form creators to designate fields as mandatory. This way, even if a user overlooks an important space they need to fill, they won’t be allowed to submit the form until all necessary fields are completed. What’s more, digital forms can feature things like dynamic images, interactive maps, and drop-down menus to make the form completion process more intuitive to end users. Such options would be difficult if not flat-out impossible to replicate with paper equivalents.
Both of these factors serve to improve the accuracy of information transport businesses receive from their forms. And as a result of this improved data cleanliness, operations teams can spend less time chasing down customers about improperly filled out forms and more time generating value.
Faster Time to Signature
Unlike paper forms that are commonly lost, damaged, and need to be physically in front of someone in order to be resolved, digital forms can be accessed anytime and from (just about) any device. This universal accessibility (when combined with digital signature capturing), leaves customers with few excuses to not sign forms in a timely manner. In addition, many form digitization solutions support email notifications. Transportation companies can leverage this function to send automatic email notifications to their customers whenever their signature is required. By making the form signature process as convenient as possible for their customers, transportation firms can, in turn, make their own operations far more efficient and seamless as well.
Enhanced Data Preservation and Security
Even under the best conditions, paper documents are prone to being lost, damaged, and naturally degrading over time. What’s more, no matter how securely paper documents are stored, unpredictable events like fires, natural disasters, and theft can often result in sensitive business information being lost or stolen.
Digital forms are for more resilient and secure. While transportation companies should always conduct their due to diligence to verify the cyber-security of any software they intend to use, most digital form solutions employ robust user permission and encryption systems to maintain high security standards. What’s more, even in the event of a disaster, transport companies with fully digitized forms can rest safe that all of their documents can be easily accessed.