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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.

Future of the Courier Industry: New Methods and Experimentation

Future of the Courier Industry: New Methods and Experimentation

Experimental approaches that innovators like Amazon and Uber are implementing are reducing delivery costs and times in ways that were recently inconceivable. Amazon’s Prime Air drone army, which is currently being put into service, intends to complete deliveries in 30 minutes or less.

Regional and local courier companies may not have the resources and reach to affect such a large change. But they can be innovative when it comes to serving customers in their territory. One cost effective way of doing this involves the use of software applications. Courier software applications are commonly implemented by small and large courier services alike to help meet the expectations of modern consumers. Working with courier software providers to create the most effective approaches will help companies remain competitive in this environment.

Innovating for customers can mean more than just clever ways to deliver a shipment. Innovation can also be demonstrated in the ways that services are marketed, the tools given to customers, and the way pricing is staged. Those who have courier software capable of backing those initiatives tend to stand out among their competitors.

Experimentation with alternate methods of deliveries will need to be thoroughly planned and executed if a company hopes to develop a reputation as an innovator itself.

Future of the Courier Industry: Increased Competition in “Last Mile” Service

Increased competition in last mile delivery service

In our ongoing series about the future of the courier industry we take a look at how competition is shaping the last mile service market. If you missed it, our post last week focused on how e-commerce and m-commerce growth has affected courier companies.

Localized and regional courier services that provide inexpensive and efficient options are competing heavily among themselves for the last mile: the delivery to final recipients. Companies like Amazon, McDonald’s, and Starbucks are working with regional carriers in the US (Market Realist). Because the reputation of a company utilizing these types of courier services is affected by the courier’s performance, customer service and satisfaction is encouraging this increased competitive atmosphere.

With B2C deliveries expected to surpass B2B deliveries in Asia and North America by 2020 (Accenture), customer service is integral to the future success of any courier company. Regional courier companies who will excel in competing for their local last mile will focus primarily on establishing a reputation for excellent customer service and secondarily on developing relationships with corporate entities.

Future of the Courier Industry: E-commerce and m-Commerce Growth

Courier E-commerce and m-Commerce deliveries

The massive growth of the e-commerce industry has helped to drive the courier industry into an equally impressive state, with projections indicating 9% growth annually, reaching $343 billion globally by 2020 (Accenture). With the courier industry’s growth fueled by technological innovations, the landscape is expected to similarly evolve. What can this mean for your courier business?

Without the current availability of mail and courier services, the e-commerce industry would have been incapable of achieving the growth that it has today. Likewise, the demand that the e-commerce industry has generated continues to encouraging the growth of the courier industry. As mentioned earlier, B2C deliveries are increasing and expected to overtake B2B deliveries in volume by 2020.

The growth of the e-commerce industry and B2C deliveries present an opportunity for courier companies to increase their own market via e-commerce and direct-to-customer options. Online order placement, package tracking, and customer accounts are some services that will advantage a courier business as the industry evolves.

Ambitious companies may delve into m-commerce, or mobile commerce, a sub-industry of e-commerce, by offering branded mobile applications. When customers install these applications on their smartphones, they are ostensibly putting your brand in their pocket. A fully functional website and application will give courier companies a definite advantage in the future.

Delivery software, such as OnTime 360, can give your company the tools to succeed in this space. In addition to the off-the-shelf apps available, you can also make use of OnTime’s SDK and API toolset to deeply integrate your shipping services with any e-commerce or mobile commerce platform.

Why OnTime is the Best Choice for Medical Couriers

Couriers using delivery software in the medical industry

Healthcare couriers should uphold the same high standards as the industry that they serve. OnTime 360 helps you to improve your communication, customization, and scheduling. These factors majorly impact your ability to satisfy customers in the medical industry. OnTime 360’s security and features will allow you to instill trust in your courier software and to build trust within your community.

Communicate

Because of the fast pace and changeable environment of the medical industry, communication with your clients and within your company must be consistent, concise, and accurate. Features such as notifications, status labels, and the OnTime Customer Web Portal will help to ensure that your company and clients are always informed and in sync.

OnTime 360 offers a variety of customizable notifications, which can be sent via text, email, or fax. These notifications can be triggered manually or automatically when certain events occur, such as a change in an order’s status label. Status labels can be changed on-the-go by drivers using OnTime Mobile to inform you and your clients of an order’s path. Order entry options can be customized and used to instruct your drivers regarding specifications that an order may require.

The OnTime Customer Web Portal can be used by your clients to place and track their orders. Users do not need to download anything to access the Customer Web Portal nor do they need to configure firewalls. This contributes toward HIPAA compliance and use in hospitals. Documentation, such as order history, can be viewed, downloaded, and printed from the Customer Web Portal. While your dispatchers and administrators can provide this information to clients, the instant access that the Web Portal provides will help to improve your communication.

Customize

The items that healthcare couriers collect and deliver are often delicate and of a sensitive nature. Confidentiality and competence are necessary for the handling of these items. Certain features in OnTime 360 can help to guarantee that the proper precautions and accommodations are made for your more complicated deliveries.

The vehicle management feature allows you to classify your vehicles to assign the right driver with the right vehicle to the right shipment. This way, if a shipment requires temperature controlled shipping, you can be sure that a vehicle that can accommodate that is assigned. Vehicle management will help you to eliminate confusion, maintain the viability of samples, and ensure confidentiality, saving you money on mistakes and growing your trusted reputation.

Status labels can also be customized within OnTime 360 to reflect your specific needs as a medical courier. Customized status labels will allow customers, drivers, and administrators to always be informed of what is happening with a delivery. The specific steps in your process will be accounted for and can be reviewed and referenced later, helping you to shape better methods within your organization.

Schedule

The medical industry is extremely fast-paced; however, regular pickups and deliveries are also required by pharmacies, hospitals, and other facilities. OnTime 360’s scheduling, route planning, and tracking features are all helpful in this capacity.

Schedules can be used to determine when certain services are available, pickup times, delivery times, and other scheduling-related options. The route planning feature can be used to determine where certain drivers will be at specific times of day and what routes they will take to arrive there. When these features are used in conjunction with one another, your daily pickups and deliveries run like clockwork.

The tracking feature can be used to view and compare the timeliness of your orders. Color coded labels can be used to inform you if orders are past pickup time, past delivery time, or within a certain number of hours of delivery time. This information can help you to determine more effective ways to use the scheduling and route planning features.

Couriers in the Healthcare Market

Couriers using delivery software in the healthcare industry

With the global demand for medical supplies steadily increasing, fast and reliable healthcare couriers are seizing the opportunity to create long-lasting relationships with healthcare providers. Because of the high standards and extensive regulations that the healthcare industry requires, being trustworthy is essential for couriers serving medical professionals.

Healthcare couriers deliver to and collect from a variety of medical centers and service providers. These may include labs, clinics, hospitals, doctors, clinical research labs, pharmaceutical and biotechnical industries, and blood banks. To work effectively with these specialized clients, couriers must adjust their practices and services accordingly. Here are some of the most important considerations for healthcare couriers.

Supply of delicate equipment, specimens, and samples

Healthcare couriers are required to ship sensitive and important materials, which generally require quick transport. These items may include urine and blood samples, sterilized operating room tools and instructions, healthcare records, immunizations, or biohazardous materials. In every case, time-sensitive delivery options, properly trained and equipped staff, and customized solutions will ensure that these delicate items are handled and delivered on time.

Time-critical delivery options

The medical industry is not tolerant of traffic delays or unscheduled deliveries. The viability of specimens erodes over time, and most deliveries simply cannot wait. Trusted healthcare courier services provide various delivery options that specifically service the medical industry’s unique needs. Some of these options include 24/7 services, STAT deliveries, same-day deliveries, overnight deliveries, air deliveries, and on-call deliveries.

Properly equipped

Medical professionals often need deliveries to be sterile, refrigerated, confidential, or otherwise explicitly handled. These special requirements are measured by a high standard, making a courier service’s ability to properly handle deliveries a cornerstone of success. Warehouses and vehicles which are equipped to store and transport critical deliveries, medical equipment, and viable samples are an absolute requirement for healthcare couriers. Trained and professional staff, dry ice and temperature-controlled packaging, and other adjustments are also common features of successful medical courier services.

Customized solutions

Many trusted healthcare couriers provide customized solutions in compliance with regulatory bodies such as OSHA and HIPAA. This specialized experience has an especially significant impact on the medical industry because of the varied services that are required by healthcare professionals. Daily services to healthcare facilities, homecare support, confidential delivery of records, and long term care delivery for pharmacies are some of the customized solutions commonly offered by successful medical couriers. Some have used the reputation that they have built from these services to partner with healthcare companies. Others provide outsourced courier services to hospitals and other facilities for repeated and regular routes.

Professional delivery software can help bring your company into compliance and make it possible to provide compelling services to clients in the healthcare industry.

5 More Questions to Ask Yourself When Evaluating Courier Software

Five more questions to ask when evaluating courier delivery software

After considering our first five questions to ask when evaluating courier software, allow us to present five more. These questions can help you choose a delivery software solution that will benefit your organization for years to come.

1. Does the solution help where you need help?

Every business has certain areas that could be improved. When evaluating courier software providers, ask yourself what aspects of your business need improvement. Certain software options may help with these areas, while others may hinder your potential changes. Be sure that the features and options offered by your chosen provider fit within your business’s needs.

2. Is the software compatible with your existing hardware?

Some software solutions may require that you purchase new mobile devices, computers, or other hardware in order to use the programs. If the software will not work for you, all other considerations will likely be moot. It is important that you consider whether or not you are willing to make the investment required and if the benefits provided will be worth that cost. The provider’s sales or support team should be able to offer you information regarding any hardware or software accommodations that you may need to make.

3. Does the price work for you?

Every courier delivery software is priced differently. Generally, different features are available under different levels of pricing. Consider whether the plan that contains your desired options is worth the purchase or subscription cost and if it fits within your plans for the future. If you are unsure about the investment, check whether the software provider offers a money back or other relevant guarantees.

4. Are you satisfied with the level of support offered?

Because you are committing to a potentially and hopefully long term relationship with the software’s support team, your ability to communicate and work with them will heavily impact your overall satisfaction and ability to use the software. Be sure to contact support before buying and read through customer reviews to find out if the support team is understanding, capable, and right for you.

5. How long will implementation require?

Setting up and implementing a new courier software system will require time and training. Because you want your software to improve your day-to-day efficiency, the most seamless and speedy transition will allow you to start reaping these benefits soonest. Find out about setup assistance and software demonstrations offered by potential software providers to make the best choice for your business.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Evaluating Courier Software

Five questions to ask when evaluating courier delivery software

While the experts at OnTime and other software providers are well-versed in the intricacies of courier management solutions, no one knows your business like you do. The best and most valuable assessment of your company’s needs is your own. Below are five questions to ask yourself when evaluating courier delivery software to help decide which software is right for your business.

1. Is the software configurable to your company?

The way that your company works is unique. Your courier management software must be customizable to fit your unique needs and adaptable to your business processes. Consider the way that your dispatchers, drivers, and other employees work. If the software that you are considering requires that you completely overhaul the way that your business is run, you may want to consider a more flexible solution.

2. Is the software secure?

To feel assured putting your data and customer information into a software system, learn about their security. Find out how your data will be stored, when and where it will be secured, and what methods are used to keep your data safe. This information can help you to ensure that your chosen delivery software will fit with your current Firewall and IT infrastructure.

3. Can the software integrate?

If you use a variety of software systems to keep track of your customers, accounting, employees, and other important company data, your courier management software must be able to communicate with these programs. Look for a software with complex and varied integration options to allow you to connect your data and inform your company accurately.

4. Is the order entry process an improvement?

One of the major reasons that likely inspired you to investigate courier software is the potential to improve dispatching speed and effectivity. Certain features, such as autofill suggestions and pre-assigned pricing will be offered by the solutions which will have the largest positive impact on your order entry and dispatching processes.

5. Can the system function offline?

If you cannot connect to your data without an internet connection, drivers in remote areas will be unable to use your system. This can result in inaccurate data, missed deliveries, and other issues. Be sure that the software you select has the ability to function offline so that your data is always up-to-date and available to all of your users, no matter where they are.