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Problem Solvers: Solution: Innovative Data Systems Improves Information Flow for Paltech
When Paltech Enterprises was having trouble with lost paperwork, they turned to Innovative Data for help. The software provider found a way to digitize part of the paper flow by allowing company drivers to access delivery orders remotely.
Date Posted: 9/1/2012
Problem: Lost paperwork upon delivery led to problems, including routing, accounting and invoice errors.
Paltech Enterprises, which operates numerous pallet facilities in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri, used to struggle with lost paperwork and a cumbersome paper flow. But with some help from the staff of Innovative Data Systems (IDS), Paltech now utilizes smart phones to digitize part of its paper flow, leading to a faster and more efficient process.
Previously, Paltech’s delivery drivers carrying a printed packing slip or bill of lading (BOL) with them, received a signature upon delivery, changed totals by hand if the amount printed on the BOL did not match the delivered totals, and returned the signed paper to the accounting office. Problems arose when a BOL was lost in transit back to the office, or the changed totals were not entered into the computer. This is turn led to problems with accounting and sending invoices out to customers.
“We would need to get the signed packing slips back to the accounting department so they could invoice out things,” said Alex Rengers, chief operating officer. “And it was a constant battle where we were losing packing slips.”
They had the idea of capturing the signature on the packaging slip electronically and immediately emailing it back to accounting. So they brought their idea to Alan Miceli, president of IDS, for help and found that he was already thinking about a similar application.
“I was actually thinking along those lines and wanting to develop something like this,” said Miceli. “So it really worked out great because we were both on the same page.”
Paltech was already using IDS’s Pallet-Track® and Mill Manager software, so IDS created an upgrade for Mill Manager that allowed it to be accessed remotely using smart phones.
Pallet-Track® e-Signature for Mill Manager was born. Now, instead of worrying about BOLs being lost on the way back to the office, Paltech’s drivers carry smart phones with touch screens. This enables them to access Mill Manager while out on deliveries, adjust order totals, have the person who accepts delivery sign the BOL with their finger or stylus on the phone’s screen, and instantly email it back to the office as well as to the customer, signature included. Thus, eliminating the problem of lost paperwork. At the end of each day, the office staff can then pull that day’s batch of BOLs directly into their accounting program, which syncs with Pallet-Track®.
Paltech has been using the program for almost a year now with good results. According to John Swenby, president of Paltech, it has reduced the amount of time spent reconciling invoices and BOLs, therefore increasing the speed of receivables and billing. It has also resulted in other unexpected benefits. “Things that we used to do manually are now automated,” said Swenby.
The program combined multiple databases for tracking and logistics into one system that can automatically generate reports that Paltech previously generated manually.
Because it is compatible with IDS’s Mill Manager software, it is available to other Mill Manager users for a small setup fee and monthly charge. Installing the program is a quick and easy process that can be done in one day.
“All we have to do is schedule the install for them and within a day they can have it,” said Miceli. “We provide online training where we connect to the system and we show them how to use it. But it’s very, very simple. Combined with our new Trailer Tracking Module, this system is by far the most accurate and simplest method in our industry to track equipment and paperwork for what was once a daunting task.”
IDS is currently having a limited time special promotion where you can get Mill Manager and any of its features for a low monthly charge including unlimited licenses and no long term commitment.