Once you have made the decision to move toward a digitized workplace, it’s important to do so carefully and with all key stakeholders involved. Take a look at the September 2020 feature on digitizing documents for time and cost savings. Then check out a few recommended steps to start the document digitization process.
According to Brian Belcher, co-founder & COO for Vector, the basic steps include:
- Start with a well-defined objective for the process being digitized.
- Start small with a team of change agents who believe in the objective.
- Focus on the business problem first, then worry about the technology to support the process change.
- Run pilot that incorporates use cases for various stakeholders.
- Implement the solution in phases to minimize disruption and drive adoption.
- Consistently solicit feedback from all stakeholders to iterate and approve.
Create a Business Process Blueprint & Research
An important first step is to create a business process blueprint by sitting down with your management team, operations and drivers to map out your current processes from order to delivery.
“Secondly, you want to research and carefully review the different digital supply chain platforms available to determine which best suits your specific processes. Finally, it is critical that there buy-in exists across all levels of the organization and that expectations are managed,” shared Justin Newell, chief operating officer for INFORM Software Corporation.
To create buy-in, it’s important that each stakeholder understands the benefits the digital platform will provide to them.
“Drivers should recognize that they’ll have less paperwork to manage, will get paid faster and have the opportunity to get more business. Dispatch will know, in real-time, what trucks are available to make another delivery, streamlining their workload and maintaining schedules. Operations staff can immediately access customer documents and generate customer notifications quickly, thereby enhancing customer service. For customers, a digital platform helps them contain costs associated with paper, folders, document storage, and gain real-time information on a materials shipment to help them improve their production schedules,” added Newell of INFORM Software.
In fleet operations, data is typically digitized from telematics systems.
“Paper logs of work hours, maintenance checks, odometer readings, etc., can be eliminated by using mobile applications with proper and irrefutable time stamping. Companies that have been using paper logs for years may have a hard time convincing themselves to digitize the documents because the return on investment (ROI) to do so is not readily available,” noted Rajat Rajbhandari, CIO and co-founder of dexFreight. “Perform internal pilots to gather insights about the ROI. Compare the benefits before and after the pilot. Doing all this requires a commitment of resources.”
Build Your Information Pool
Digital documentation in a fleet operation starts with building a pool of information that is clean, standardized, and accessible by all stakeholders.
“This is usually referred to as ‘data lake.’ I prefer using the term ‘data river’ since the shared data continuously flows. Once this is established, the next step is to create a process where you identify how different systems will interact with each other to have a single data flow. Next step would be the conversion of paper documents to digital, for example, scanning or using a 3rd parties to do so. Finally, access experience according to the process created in the earlier steps should be tested, necessary adjustments need to be made. Ideally, a continuous improvement process should be in place to ensure quality practices,” said Matt Goker, chief operating officer of ATA Freight.