E-documentation in Road Transportation

Table of Contents

E-Documentation in Transportation

It is worthwhile to note that documentation are important part of logistics of goods . They prove provenance, quality , quantity , ownership etc. among other things. Since the goods change many hands, documents are the common thread across a long and complex logistics chain. At present, they are carried in hard copies and hop from one part to  another of the chain with proper recording of trail.

To illustrate with a simplified example , a copy of Lorry Receipt( LR) carry the necessary information about quantity, product name , reference to invoice & E-way bill, Vehicle details consignee etc. They are carried mostly by the lorry driver and when the consignment is delivered endorsement is taken on the hard copy with notings, if any, by consignee.

The LR copy is the principal document for  processing of bill of transporter. By insisting on hard copies of documents , a customer enjoys certain tactical advantages such as longer credit cycle by the transporter. There are genuine reasons as well such as any loss or pilferage is noted on the LR.

On the flip side,  the documents in current form( hard copies)   need to be kept  in the same way for later references such as internal audit, GST purposes, dispute resolution, as evidence etc.  For IT savvy companies , data contained in LR is punched manually causing mistakes and inaccuracies.

The documents are difficult to analyse for strategic and analytics insights . As an example, the data in hard copies is very difficult to be  used  for finding which customer and drivers are giving problems.

E-Documentation in Transportation Electronic Documentation Transport

With the spread of  COVID – 19 virus , these documents should be looked from another point which may have lasting negative impact on the entire logistics  chain. The documents act as carriers to pathogens and can spread from persons holding or touching  it.

It may  be appreciated that these documents move from place to place with innumerable touch points making all things they come into contact with potential carriers. The documents are moved through at least 10 pairs of hand from generation to bill processing. Thus, the documents can play significant role in community spread of any pathogen or communicable diseases. The documents are kept in unhygienic conditions which in turn  provide thriving conditions for pathogens.

Some may suspect that  digital documentation is very difficult due to lack of proper technologies or it is very expensive. The fear is unfounded in today’s scenario when technologies and their applications are booming at an unprecedented pace.  Technologies for digitalization of E-documentation in transportation are available and can be used off-the-shelf with little implementation efforts.

Even the trust issues could be resolved by technologies like blockchains(  Elsewhere I covered why blockchain tech is not the solution in India but the point is that technologies are available to replicate the current usage by digital means)

E-Documentation in Transportation Electronic Documentation Transport

Advantages of E-Documentation in Transportation

1- Information in real time

Both the company that contracts the transport, the one that carries out the transport and the recipient have valuable information in real time such as the location of the merchandise, the location of the truck or the incidents that may arise during the journey. E-Documentation in Transportation helps to retrieve information in real time.

2- Traceability and security

The Electronic Documentation of the Road Transport (DET) cannot be manipulated since in each transaction the date, time and place are registered, making it impossible to modify it later. These characteristics make it constitute a proof of digital delivery with full legal validity.

3- Recognition of the public sector

Electronic documentation is valid and accepted in any inspection that may occur on the road, both in traffic and in transport.

4- Visibility of the entire chain

From the departure of the merchandise to the arrival at its destination, all the agents involved in the process are reflected in the electronic document: shippers, senders, carriers and recipients. In this way, total transparency of the supply chain is ensured, promoting efficiency and competitiveness.

5- Prevents litigation due to incidents

As it is an unalterable document that reflects all the transport details, it allows acceptance reservations to be completed by attaching files, litigation due to different interpretations or incidents is avoided.

6- Integration with other systems and platforms

DET is easily integrated into different user management systems (ERP, TMS, etc.). Thus, for example, the transport order is automatically generated on the software platform and the carrier receives the information for the transport of the goods through his mobile device. And the recipient can receive the merchandise using its own integration with the platform.

7- There is no physical contact

Its use allows the elimination of paper documentation, as well as physical contact between the signatories of the document, thus guaranteeing that the requirements of social distancing, necessary in health emergency situations such as the current one, are met.

8- Legally comparable to the paper document

The modification of the Regulation of the Law of Ordination of Land Transport by Royal Decree 70/2019 opened the possibility that the control documentation that carriers must carry in their vehicle can be done by electronic means, provided that the supports and applications used to transform their content into signs of legible writing.

9- Efficiency and cost savings

The use of TED has an impact on greater agility in transport processes and an improvement in the management and control of logistics flow. Accessing the transport situation from any mobile device allows better planning and therefore a more efficient organization of the supply chain. There are studies in which it is estimated that the use of TED can reduce administrative costs by up to 70%.

10- Valid in 25 countries

Electronic documentation is valid in the following 25 countries that have already ratified the protocol: Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iran, Lithuania, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova , Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

11 -Reduced implantation times

Implementation of this technology is quick and easy. Systems are usually designed to be pay-per-use, based on the number of TEDs issued in a given period.

12- High return on investment

To use the DET, it is not necessary to purchase any software or hardware. Any mobile device is enough, so the investment is practically zero.

13: Faster billing

The delivery at destination is registered in the system at the moment of the signature of the reception and acceptance by the recipient, from that moment on, the billing can be done.

Blog 60: Is E-documentation in Transportation Reliable?

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