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Delivery Software Integration with the OnTime API and SDK

Delivery Software Integration with the OnTime API and SDK

We have always felt that it is essential to allow users of OnTime to make the software their own. We build flexibility into the system so that it can grow with the needs of an organization. An area where this type of flexibility is increasingly important for delivery companies is within system integration. Most software systems today allow for some degree of integration, meaning that they can communicate with other software by importing and exporting data.

We receive numerous requests asking if OnTime can integrate with a variety of software systems. We love this question because this is an area where OnTime really shines! Not only do we have built-in support for many systems, but we also provide a robust API and SDK to make almost any integration possible. Over 6.4 million transactions per month are processed through the OnTime API, representing a significant potential for delivery companies making use of it.

Using the OnTime API is a Smart Move

Here are just a few experiences that we have seen our customers enjoy time after time when using the OnTime API and SDK:

  • Where accuracy matters: Accounting systems require accurate and complete data. Automate the movement of data directly from OnTime to your accounting or bookkeeping system. This eliminates mistakes introduced by manual or human data entry.
  • Where speed and volume matter: Process bulk orders, or ASNs, quickly and accurately by connecting OnTime with your shipper’s software system. Automatically transferring thousands of orders within seconds, allowing your team to start working quickly.
  • Where marketing matters: Identify a popular line-of-business software system used in your target market. Using the OnTime API or SDK, integrate with that software and then advertise your ability to work seamlessly with any business using that software. This can lead to significant growth in sales with a low investment.
  • Where efficiency matters: Saving time is always a benefit to a company. Doing so can free up personnel to perform more valuable tasks. Automate processes such as barcode scanning at hubs or providing updates to shippers.
  • Where brand image matter: Project a strong technical competence. Customers will see that you are prepared and able to accommodate their technology needs. Move from being viewed as a value brand to a professionally competent brand.

An Unparalleled Developer Experience

The OnTime API and SDK each provide over 91 functions and 517 properties, offering an unparalleled developer experience. The API can be accessed via REST or SOAP endpoints and works with all major programming environments. The SDK makes it possible for a programmer to develop a plug-in, or extension, that can easily extend the functionality of the OnTime desktop applications. These platforms were constructed meticulously over a two-year period to ensure that programmers had the tools necessary to complete their projects. With over 5,000 pages of documentation, programmers have all the tools they need to get their job done quickly. In fact, we often see programmers who are new to the OnTime API able to finish their project within a few hours to a day.

Samples are provided to programmers in a variety of programming languages including C#, Visual Basic, JavaScript, PHP, Python, and Ruby. Both the API and SDK are organized uniformly, so if you learn one, you already know how to use the other. This standardized approach means that millions of programmers will feel very comfortable using this API. Our code samples are available on GitHub and SDK assemblies can be found on NuGet. We even have an extension for Microsoft Visual Studio that will help developers create OnTime Extensions with the SDK.

Not as Difficult or Expensive as You Think

Hesitation to start integration projects is understandable. We know that you are not in the software business, but instead, want to focus on your business. We have a suggestion: Try outsourcing your integration idea to a freelance programmer.

The team at Vesigo has worked hard to create an API and SDK that is easy to understand and use by other programmers. As a result, there’s no need to hire a specialist. Tens of millions of programmers across the globe already know how to use an API like the one provided by OnTime. Better yet, many of these programmers work as freelancers, which tends to lower costs. There are many websites where you can go to get bids on your projects, including freelancer.com, upwork.com, and fiverr.com. These programmers tend to be good at taking your idea and figuring out how to create the finished product.

The cost for such integration work may be far less than you might think. This is primarily because the OnTime API and SDK do a lot to simplify the job of the programmer. This can result in the programmer finishing a project within hours instead of the weeks involved with a traditional approach. For example, we’ve repeatedly seen examples of basic integrations and utilities developed for less than $200 USD. The cost to savings ratio can be very high with the OnTime API and SDK.

We Are Here to Help

We would love to discuss your integration ideas using the OnTime API and SDK. Feel free to give us a call to chat about your project. Where possible, we can offer guidance to help you take advantage of this great feature within OnTime.

Automation with OnTime - Part 2

Automation with OnTime

Did you find Part 1 helpful in automating your business? Continue reading to see two more ways that automation makes running your business easier.

Automating Routes

Each day dispatchers are faced with the same time-consuming task of assigning deliveries out to drivers. Setting up recurring routes that can be automatically sent to your driver's phone, on a schedule you design, puts your business into action within minutes each morning. OnTime includes mapping and routing services that enable managers to configure routes consisting of routine, scheduled collections. OnTime can also make suggestions for on-demand orders, showing you the most appropriate drivers, and even suggesting the fastest route for each delivery. Your dispatcher works hard to get every parcel to its destination within the agreed upon delivery window. Automation helps keep recurring and on-demand orders flowing smoothly and accurately.

Automating Notifications

In the delivery fulfillment industry, proof-of-delivery is a critical business requirement. Customers want to obtain instant status updates on their delivery: when the delivery occurred, who accepted it, and its condition at the time of delivery. Automatically triggered notifications when a driver updates the status of a delivery can provide this crucial information and give your customers the assurance they are looking for.

OnTime’s automated notifications and built-in messaging services allow you to keep customers up-to-date with the current status of their delivery via email, text, or push notification. As delivery drivers make changes to the status of each delivery in OnTime mobile, these changes will trigger your pre-made notifications to be delivered automatically to your customers.

OnTime is the only courier software system to offer this level of automation at this price point. We help you easily handle the increasing demands of your ever-growing, ever-changing delivery business.

Automation with OnTime - Part 1

Automation with OnTime

As your business grows, how can you efficiently fulfill demands and meet time constraints? OnTime provides the streamlined automation you need.

Automating Customer Requirements

Each customer has unique needs, and OnTime makes it easy to set options, such as collection and delivery points, notifications, and pricing. For example, order entry requirements may be set either across the entire system or for each individual customer. Following initial customer setup, their information autofills on future order entries. If the information in a required field is not completed an alert is issued. When the customer’s profile loads, all unique requirements are automatically populated. Your dispatchers are quickly informed of the customer’s specific needs, enabling them to offer optimal customer service. User-created hotkeys and shortcuts allow a typical order to be dispatched in about 15 seconds.

Automating Customer Pricing

Whether a customer places an order by telephone or through the OnTime Customer Web Portal, service levels and prices should be presented consistently, without difference. OnTime’s pricing structures are capable, flexible and reliable. A nearly unlimited number of pricing configurations are available, starting with flat rate, zone to zone, and distance-based pricing.

Automating Customer Invoicing

When it is time to bill, dependable invoicing tools automatically collect outstanding orders and generate invoices from the database.  This significantly reduces the time lost to human error and manual data entry, saving your business time and money. Invoices may be generated manually or using the billing cycle tools included in OnTime. The OnTime system seamlessly interfaces with QuickBooks Desktop Pro and QuickBooks Online, providing the ability to easily transfer your customers, invoices, and received payments. OnTime tracks transferred invoices and issues an alert if an invoice is transferred more than once. Once a payment is received in OnTime it may be transferred to QuickBooks. All of your information now corresponds/is complete.

In our next post, we will highlight how automation within routes and notifications saves your business precious time and money.

Push Notifications within OnTime Mobile

Push notifications within OnTime Mobile

We are happy to announce that the new OnTime Mobile apps for iOS and Android support push notifications. Push notifications are a faster and more reliable method of transmission than notifications sent via email and SMS text message. This helps provide the assurance your dispatchers need. Push notifications are sent directly to the driver’s device. You can be confident that your drivers receive all notifications they are issued with the most up-to-date information.

Whereas receiving a traditional SMS text message requires a connection to your mobile cell provider; push notifications can be received across any internet connection. If OnTime Mobile has access to any internet connection, such as mobile data service or WiFi, push notifications can be received. If your driver's phone is turned off or set to airplane mode, push notifications are staged and delivered the next time the phone is powered on.

Additionally, push notifications allow more customization, with up to 1,500 characters permitted. SMS messages are typically limited to around 160 characters.

Instead of forcing generic notifications upon you, OnTime's Workflow Notification Designer is a powerful tool for customizing notifications. Push notifications are built and customized within this tool, allowing a wide array of options. You customize push notifications to behave in the way you want, containing the information you want.

We are constantly looking for ways to improve communication between your workforce. The availability of push notifications within OnTime Mobile is another example of OnTime's commitment to your success.

Features of the New OnTime Mobile App for Android and iOS: Part 2

New features for OnTime Courier Software for drivers

Our second look at the features of the new OnTime Mobile app will focus on the processing of orders. We are confident that these features will save you time and money.

  • ATTACH PHOTOS: Save photos with an order at collection, delivery, or any stage in between. Proof of documentation is as important as it has ever been. Drivers can now include a picture of the person or location delivered to, damage upon receipt of the package, or any damage incurred in-transit. These photos are attached to the order, allowing the office to automatically see all pertinent information, no longer sorting through hundreds of photos to find the correct ones to match each order.
  • COLLECT SIGNATURES: Capture signatures using the touchscreen on your device.
  • EDIT ORDERS: Make adjustments to an order while on the go, without contacting dispatch. For example, the shipper may not have known the size and weight of the package being delivered. The driver can measure and enter this information into the app, making adjustments on the go, streamlining the future billing process.
  • SELF DISPATCH: Access the unassigned order list to assign an order to yourself, or transfer to another driver. This feature is especially beneficial to a small company with limited staff. A driver can now play the role of dispatcher, as needed, while on the go. Now your office can keep running, even without you there.
  • BARCODE SCANNING: Use the camera on your device to quickly read a barcode from any label, allowing for scanning of any tracking information. Scan barcodes generated by OnTime, or use barcodes and numbers generated by another party. The app will find the corresponding order on your list and offer appropriate actions. Barcode scanning allows the driver to quickly see instructions unique to each delivery. Drivers scan the barcode and partial or complete matches are made against the following order fields: Tracking number, Reference number, Purchase order number, Incoming tracking number, and Outgoing tracking number.

We believe your company will have great success using the features introduced in Parts 1 and 2 of this series. Go download yours today at the Google Play store and the Apple App Store!

Features of the New OnTime Mobile App for Android and iOS: Part 1

New features for OnTime Courier Software for drivers

Using the new OnTime Mobile app will contribute to greater productivity and an operational edge in the courier field. Let’s introduce you to some of its features.

  • SIGNAL AVAILABILITY: A driver can quickly and easily set their current availability, and can include a description of their current status, and when this is expected to change. This can be done as often as necessary.
  • GPS: Let dispatch know where drivers are with accurate and consistent location tracking. The GPS tracking is reliable, allowing the feature to work even when the phone or device is asleep. Customization of the GPS features allows the ability to set how frequently the GPS information is tracked and sent, enabling users to save battery life of their devices. No longer worry about a device dying in the middle of the day. The control is in your hands. Set the transmission of location down to 5 seconds, beating our competitors’ claims that 12 seconds is the industry best.
  • MAP ROUTING: Use Google Maps or Apple Maps to plot a route from your current position to the address of your next stop.
  • OFFLINE SYNCHRONIZATION: Continue to work quickly with or without an internet connection. Features continue to work even when offline, and will automatically synchronize the results once an internet connection becomes available. This is especially useful during deliveries to locations where connections are limited or unavailable, such as in hospitals. Now drivers can enter delivery information into the app as usual, and then sync within seconds when an internet connection becomes available again. No longer will they have to keep track separately and enter upon connection.
  • SECURE: Data is transmitted to and from the app securely with encryption. This added protection helps you to meet regulatory requirements, for instance, HIPAA compliance. Financial and legal firms will also appreciate the privacy afforded by this added security.

Download the app today on the Google Play store and the Apple App Store. We are excited to see the benefits these features will bring to your business.

Now Available: OnTime Mobile for iOS and Android

We are pleased to announce the release of the new OnTime Mobile app for iOS and Android. We’ve designed and built these apps to be faster and more dependable than ever before.

OnTime Mobile gives couriers the tools they need in the field. Process your assigned orders and keep in constant communication with dispatch. What are some of the new features your delivery drivers can look forward to?

Keep dispatch informed where you are at, when you are available, and when you expect that to change. Great for independent contractors!

Save photos with an order at collection, delivery, or any stage in between.

Capture signatures using the touchscreen on your device.

Make adjustments to an order while on the go, without contacting dispatch.

Access the unassigned order list to assign an order to yourself, or transfer to another driver.

Let dispatch know where you are with accurate and consistent location tracking.

Use the camera on your device to quickly read a barcode from any label. The app will find the corresponding order on your list and offer appropriate actions.

Use Google Maps or Apple Maps to plot a route from your current position to the address of your next stop.

Continue to work quickly with or without an internet connection. Features continue to work even when offline and will automatically synchronize the results once an internet connection becomes available.

Data is transmitted to and from the app securely with encryption.

These exciting new features are available across all subscription plans, from Standard to Enterprise. Keep on the lookout for details on the benefits of each feature in future posts.

Download the app to your device and increase productivity today.

Using Driver Availability to Keep Dispatch Informed

Beginning today, OnTime offers a new feature to help improve communication between drivers and dispatchers. In the past, it has not always been easy for dispatchers to know when and for how long a driver is available for work. This can be further complicated when drivers are independent contractors and do not have a set schedule. To solve this problem, OnTime now includes an Availability feature.

Driver and Courier Availability

This allows a driver to quickly and easily set their current availability from one of the OnTime Mobile apps. In addition to setting their status as “available” or “not available”, drivers can include a description of their current status and a time at which they expect their next status to change.

A driver can change their availability by tapping on the yellow or green bar across the home screen of an OnTime Mobile app.

Driver and Courier Availability

A driver can update their availability details as often as necessary. This information is immediately relayed back to users of OnTime Dispatch.

The new Availability feature allows a dispatcher to see the current availability of all drivers. Perhaps more importantly, a dispatcher can see a description of each driver’s current status and when that’s expected to next change. This helps the dispatcher to more accurately predict availability in the future.

Here are a few examples of how this feature may be used:

Example: Lunch break

A driver has just started his lunch break and is unavailable for the next hour.

Driver and Courier Availability

Example: Shift over and on vacation until Tuesday.

A driver has just ended their shift and due to a planned vacation, will not return at the normal time the following week.

Driver and Courier Availability

This feature is available in the following apps:

  • OnTime Mobile Web
  • OnTime Mobile for Android
  • OnTime Mobile for iOS
  • OnTime Dispatch

OnTime Version 4 Now Available

OnTime Courier Software Version 4

Vesigo Studios is proud to release the fourth major version of OnTime Management Suite and OnTime Dispatch. The last major version (3) alone saw over 180 releases, each adding to the software. This new major version includes significant new features. Here’s a sampling of what’s included:

A more secure, reliable, and performant platform

OnTime Management Suite and Dispatch now run on Microsoft’s .NET Framework 4.6, making for a better experience on Windows 7, 8, and 10. Expect to see a smoother experience across many areas of OnTime, including the full use of multi-core processors and better memory management.

Support for extensions written by the community

OnTime Extensions are an exciting new part of OnTime version 4. Extensions can be created to perform custom tasks and are deeply integrated into OnTime. And now these extensions can be created by programmers in the development community. These extensions will make it possible to tightly integrate OnTime accounts with other software systems and sites.

Build your own custom extensions

The OnTime SDK provides a powerful application programming interface (API) that allows a developer to control many of the basic functions of an OnTime account. This makes it possible to control how data is read, created, and updated. Using this approach, a programmer can easily extend the functionality of OnTime desktop applications such as OnTime Management Suite and OnTime Dispatch. These extensions become part of the OnTime application and can offer deep integration with other software systems. You’ll be able to create, read, and update data from most areas of an OnTime account.

A great new look for 4k screens

High resolution and high DPI support for 4K monitors. Icons, text, and other UI elements have been remastered and optimized for display on high-density screens. OnTime will look better than ever on such screens.

This new version is available from our Download page to any current OnTime subscriber. For more information on what is included in each release, be sure to visit our Release Notes page.

Future of the Courier Industry: Customer Expectations

Future of the Courier Industry: Customer Expectations

In our fourth and final post about the future of the courier industry we look at growing customer expectations. See our previous posts about e-commerce and m-commerce growth, increased competition in last mile service, and new methods and experimentation.

Some delivery options, such as sameday delivery, have become expected by online shoppers. Conversely, 4-hour delivery windows are becoming less and less acceptable for today’s fast-paced consumer. Definite, reliable, and consistent delivery options and times will be a required staple in every successful courier company soon.

Capable delivery software can prepare a courier company with the tools needed to execute tighter deadlines and complex pricing. As expectations increase for services such as digital signature capture and real-time shipment tracking, these services will start to become a new baseline. Advanced courier software will enable transportation companies to provide these services without a significant increase in overhead.

With consumers becoming more informed, issues such as environmental responsibility and fair pricing must be addressed if a company hopes to be successful in current and future climates. Reduced packaging, low-emission vehicles, and localized products are some potential changes that will help to attract intelligent and responsible customers.