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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

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.

Welcome to BlogEngine.NET

If you see this post it means that BlogEngine.NET is running and the hard part of creating your own blog is done. There is only a few things left to do.

Write Permissions

To be able to log in, write posts and customize blog, you need to enable write permissions on the App_Data and Custom folders. If your blog is hosted at a hosting provider, you can either log into your account’s admin page or call the support.

If you wish to use a database to store your blog data, we still encourage you to enable this write access for an images you may wish to store for your blog posts.  If you are interested in using Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, SQL CE, or other databases, please see the BlogEngine docs to get started.

Security

When you`ve got write permissions set, you need to change the username and password. Find the sign-in link located either at the bottom or top of the page depending on your current theme and click it. Now enter "admin" in both the username and password fields and click the button. You will now see an admin menu appear. It has a link to the "Users" admin page. From there you can change password, create new users and set roles and permissions. Passwords are hashed by default so you better configure email in settings for password recovery to work or learn how to do it manually.

Configuration and Profile

Now that you have your blog secured, take a look through the settings and give your new blog a title.  BlogEngine.NET is set up to take full advantage of many semantic formats and technologies such as FOAF, SIOC and APML. It means that the content stored in your BlogEngine.NET installation will be fully portable and auto-discoverable.  Be sure to fill in your author profile to take better advantage of this.

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On the web

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Good luck and happy writing.

The BlogEngine.NET team