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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 fivver.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?

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

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

COLLECT SIGNATURES
Capture signatures using the touchscreen on your device.

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

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

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

BARCODE SCANNING
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.

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.

SECURE
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

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.

How to Start Your Own Courier Service

professional courier service despatcher and staffThe courier industry is booming and, with the popularity of online shopping, the demand for direct delivery is only expected to continue to grow. With just a cell phone, a vehicle, and a passion for communicating with customers, you can establish your own courier startup with minimal additional expenses.

First Steps

To begin your courier business, you will first need to obtain the equipment required to complete your deliveries. If you have a car and a cell phone, you may already have all the equipment that you need. The types of vehicles that you employ will determine what types of packages you are able to deliver. For example, bicycles may be good for delivering small gifts locally but would be unrealistic transport for home appliances.

Another important thing to consider when starting your own courier business is your office. Home offices can be ideal for startup courier companies. Because you spend much of your time out of the office while picking up and dropping off deliveries, a quiet room with a phone and a computer should be plenty for you to get started with booking deliveries and communicating with customers.

Because the courier industry is so vast and serves so many different sectors, you should determine your focus before you begin looking for customers. Your final decision should be based on what will serve your area in the long term. If you are working in a city, you may wish to focus on working with businesses and obtaining corporate accounts. However, if your area is more suburban, perhaps a consumer focus, such as delivering groceries to seniors, is a more viable option. The resources and equipment that you begin your business will affect this decision, as well.

Starting Your Business

Before you begin meeting with customers and completing deliveries, your business will need a name, appropriate licensing, and insurance for your area and the services that you will provide. A vendor’s license, cargo insurance, and vehicle insurance will likely be necessary before you can begin conducting business.

You may wish to meet with specialists or business advisors in your area before making any major decisions within your organization. These advisors can help you to determine what types of licensing and insurance you will need, as well as assist with reviewing accounting records and filing taxes. As your company grows, you can look to these advisors for assistance with hiring employees, providing health insurance, moving to larger offices, and maintaining a larger fleet of vehicles.

The prices and services that your competitors offer will have a continuous impact on your ability to find and maintain a customer base in your area. Compile a list of direct competitors and conduct research into their rates, methods for customer service, and delivery options. To gather accurate and up-to-date information, call or email your competitors requesting information regarding the services offered. Be sure to pay attention to the level of customer service provided during your research process, as your business will need to meet or exceed that in order to compete with these established courier companies.

From insurance to gas and salaries to taxes, your courier business will require that you address certain costs. Your ability to afford these costs as your business runs will be determined by the number of customers that you have and the prices of your services. Before you launch your business, a projection of these costs will help you to determine what your business will need to stay afloat and what it will need to grow. As your business operates, your expense records will be integral to tracking your costs and continuing to determine the price and number of deliveries that your business needs.

Software to Manage Your Business

Managing the flow of information across your new business can be overwhelming. A capable and reliable courier software system can help organize this information. Choose a powerful and flexible courier software system that will grow with your business. OnTime 360 is a solid choice for new delivery businesses. OnTime gives you low startup costs, the ability to grow with your business, and provides powerful features and technology when you need them. With OnTime 360’s monthly subscription plans, you only pay for what you need.

In our next article, we’ll share ideas on how to promote your courier service and grow your business.