Define Your Workflow & Improve Processes
Why are operational processes important to define?
Have you considered the possibility of purchasing or switching operational software for your intermodal trucking company, but don't have a clear understanding of how to define your needs? Without a roadmap of your daily processes, it can be difficult to understand how to choose the right trucking software for your unique needs. As you begin to look at capabilities of different software packages, it is highly recommended that you map out your day-to-day workflow. As you know, your daily operations can be so complex and intricate, it can be easy to forget or miss steps that are critical to keep your trucks moving every day. By determining what it takes to get the job done, you will have the confidence to adopt the right operational software to fit your unique intermodal trucking needs.
Where do you start the process?
A simple way to get started is to think about your trucking company's major services, then break down each service into what it takes to get the job done. Here is an idea of the basic steps for an inbound container move:
- Receive delivery order & record shipment information
- Manually track shipment & confirm shipment availability
- Schedule pick-up appointment & dispatch driver
- Invoice the customer & process payment
Now, if it could only be that easy...the reality is so much more complicated. Dealing with exceptions, customers calling for updates, waiting time, calculating accessorial charges, short pay, and the list goes on. All these things end up being time consuming and manually intensive, but vital to your business.
To help you begin organizing your thoughts into workflow steps, we have created an easy to follow template as a guideline. This guide will become a valuable tool when you begin comparing the capabilities of various software packages.
What should you do now?
Now that you have considered all the steps needed in your daily workflow, you can use your new "checklist" to eliminate software vendors that clearly do not fit your needs. Using the checklist, you can inquire about what features the software can offer to meet your specific needs. Once you have narrowed down your choices to 3-4 potential vendors, you can begin to evaluate each one based on their ability to meet the requirements in your workflow. You will want to set up product demonstrations with each of your top vendors. Also, if you send each vendor a copy of your workflow outline prior to the demonstration, the vendors have an opportunity to tailor each demonstration to your operational requirements. This way, you should be able to clearly see which of your processes can be replaced with an automated solution, which enables you to confidently adopt the right technology to fit your unique intermodal trucking needs.
How can technology help?
It's no secret that the transportation industry will continue to add complexities and requirements (EDI, EOBR, Visibility Demands), which will increasingly make it difficult to get the job done. By automating many of the repetitive and manual daily steps, labor-intensive tasks can be replaced by extremely efficient and accurate software applications. Automation does not replace human skill, know-how, or opinion, but it can replace monotonous and manual tasks with quick and seamless processes.
Are you ready to integrate technology into your workflow process? Learn more about the Profit Tools advantage!