Instant document transfer helps both carriers, drivers

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PeopleNet, in partnership with Microdea Inc., has introduced In-Cab Scanning for the transportation industry. This new function is designed to provide the capability to scan and transmit documents directly from the cab of a truck using the advanced technology of Microdea and the power and economical bandwidth of PeopleNet mobile communications.

PeopleNet, based in Minneapolis, is a provider of intelligent onboard communications, GPS and fleet management solutions. Microdea, of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, is the provider of Synergize OnRamp integrated work flow and document management.

In-Cab Scanning is designed to enable drivers to scan and transmit critical transportation documents, such as bills of lading and signed delivery receipts, immediately from virtually anywhere. In-Cab Scanning speeds the business cycle for carriers, eliminates the need for truck stop scanning and expedites international border crossings, the companies say.

“In-Cab Scanning is the future, and it is here now,” says Glenn Williams, PeopleNet’s senior product manager. “This landmark technology for PeopleNet customers will take carrier business operations to a new level, cutting hours and days from the billing cycle. Drivers will be very pleased to avoid unnecessary, unproductive miles used to find scanning locations and waiting in the lines they sometimes find there.”

“In-Cab scanning is a very important addition to Microdea as we further extend the reach of our solutions into the logistics and transportation industry,” says Colin Ruskin, Microdea’s vice president of business development. “Our goal is to develop solutions to enable our clients to become efficient and profitable. Their success is our success.”

Microdea supplies a rugged, small-footprint scanning device securely mounted in the truck cab. Scanned document images are transmitted using the open interface of PeopleNet’s g3 Services and are captured by Microdea, which makes documents immediately available to third parties. A third party can be a carrier, its customers or a carrier’s third-party document management provider.

Benefits of In-Cab Scanning abound, the companies say:

  • Carriers that overnight documents or use truck stop scanning to reduce DSO (days sales outstanding) can cut that critical measurement even further and increase cash flow;
  • With documents in hand, dispatch will be able to more quickly and surely dispatch loads and assign drivers; and
  • Carriers can speed international border crossings by enabling drivers to forward documents to programs such as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s ACE (Web-based Automated Commercial Environment) before they arrive at border check points.
  • International truckload carrier Berry & Smith of Penticton, British Columbia, Canada, is a PeopleNet customer looking forward to the benefits of In-Cab Scanning.

    “We are looking to In-Cab Scanning to improve driver efficiency by expediting document flow to and from the vehicle, whether that be customer-required documents, documents to assist cross-border travel or vehicle documents,” says Dorothy Vankoughnett, controller and IT manager for Berry & Smith. “Our goal is to increase hours available to drive and reduce nonproductive hours.”

    Carriers also benefit from more satisfied drivers who have been relieved of driving out-of-route miles simply to deliver paperwork, according to the companies; in addition, In-Cab Scanning actually will cost less than typical per-page truck stop scanning charges.

    In-Cab Scanning is the first of a two-part initiative by PeopleNet; the second is In-Cab Printing, which will be introduced in the early part of 2008. “In-Cab Printing will use the same wireless and software technologies to move documents between truck and company, but in the other direction,” Williams says.

    Drivers will be able to receive and print hard copies of documents such as highway permits, bills of lading and even violation notices, the companies say; drivers using PeopleNet’s eDriver Logs automated log application also will be able to print out logs on the spot for enforcement officers, saving time during roadside inspections. “PeopleNet is increasing the velocity of transportation information,” Williams says.