Logistics Industry

How Can Electronic Signatures Help The Logistics Industry?

Documents are at the heart of all logistic processes. Many logistics companies struggle to stay on top of the avalanche of paperwork, toil with obsolete software, and fumble through sophisticated workflows. These problems intensify when the supply chain spans international borders.

Different industrial sectors use logistics to plan & control the movement of goods and services within a supply chain. The only concern is the paperwork to keep records, track stored and shipped goods.

Every industrial sector is witnessing a digital transformation in 2021, and even the logistics industry is waiting for a solution that allows them to do online paperwork without any hassles, complexity, and delays.

An electronic signature is the critical technological solution desired by every player in the logistic industry for a faster documentation process, significantly reducing the risk of legal disputes by providing more substantial tamper-proof digital evidence.

Logistic documents that need electronic signatures

  • Consignment Notes
  • Online contract signing
  • Bill of lading (BOL)
  • Freight bill
  • Delivery order
  • Dock receipt
  • Waybill form
  • Customer Agreement
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Cargo Insurance Certificate
  • Dangerous Good Declaration note
  • Packing List
  • Delivery Note

Are eSignatures safe for signing logistic-related documents?

International laws like ESIGN, UETA and the EIDAS Act support electronic signature technology, which gives logistic businesses the authority to use it for international business opportunities.

Additionally, digital signatures have many security and authentication layers like HTTPS connection, multi-factor authentication, cloud storage & user privacy to protect and store the eSigned documents, along with court-admissible transaction proof (Audit Trail)backed by the law. Such strong measures make eSignatures incredibly safe for signing any logistics-related documents.

Why does the Logistics industry need electronic signatures?

The logistics industry contributes a lot to the economic growth of countries. There is a constant need to keep up with the demand for faster delivery of goods and services related to FMCG, manufacturing & other sectors. That’s not all – logistic companies need to comply with more regulations as they target domestic and international clients. These companies must adopt innovative practices and technology to make the distribution process faster to meet these demands.

It is only possible through quick signing & approval of logistic documents related to the agreement, packaging, and safe receipt of goods at the customer end. eSignatures assure better integrity, visibility, and security in the logistics process enabling businesses to reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and comply with emerging regulations.

How electronic signatures benefit the logistics industry?

Improve supply chain visibility: Electronic signatures are the best way to ensure that critical documents are signed before the actual shipment gets completed. It provides the highest level of security and also helps reduce errors in communication between the involved parties.

The technology improves supply chain visibility by providing a validated proof of delivery from the moment goods leave suppliers to the minute they reach their destination. It has been made possible through a digitization process by securing and managing digital data to be shared, tracked, and communicated quickly.

Get rid of paperwork: Paperwork is one of the most time-consuming, tedious, and error-prone aspects of logistics. The number of documents that need signatures for each shipment is staggering, especially when most shipments cross multiple borders. With electronic signatures, all parties can sign and approve documents in real-time electronically.

Reduce Operational costs: In the logistics industry, a shipment can have at least six documents that need to be signed by various stakeholders, including the carrier, warehouse operator, and the buyer – all of which require an in-person visit to sign. It results in a rise in operational costs. Digital signatures help cut these costs by eliminating the need for these visits and enabling everyone to sign documents from their desktops or mobile devices digitally.

Improves Productivity: According to Forrester, there will be an 85% improvement in productivity by adopting e-signatures. Once you have e-signatures integrated into your business, you will be able to create effortlessly, sign, and send documents online, substantially speeding up the entire process. Once less time is spent on document processing and signing, the team may focus on more vital tasks such as closing sales and making logistic deliveries on time.

Case Study

Halvor Lines is a family-owned and operated trucking and logistics firm. With an exceptional staff of drivers, they provide premium transportation and logistical services across the US and Canada. America’s Best Fleets to Drive For (seven years running), several EPA awards, and American Heart Association distinctions for Halvor’s focus on driver and employee health.

Challenge

As Safety Office Administrator, Kendra Payette manages compliance and driver log infractions with a team of five. The safety department’s goal is to meet industry requirements and correct errors.

Those goals were practically hard to achieve before using electronic signatures. Halvor’s drivers are regularly on the road across the US & Canada, so they rarely have time to stop by a terminal and sign a document on-site. In some situations, it used to take up to a year to deliver a wet ink signature, and by then, months had passed since the driver’s violation was logged.

Due to these extensive delays, the safety department could not respond quickly and was vulnerable to regulatory risks.

Halvor Lines went digital to bridge this massive distance between drivers and their documents.

Solution

Halvor Lines finalized an eSignature solution. Here is how it’s workflow has helped solved  the challenges:

Complete compliance

Rather than waiting months – or even a year – for their dispersed drivers to sign documents in person, the application enables Halvor to get eSignatures from on-the-go drivers. Regardless of their location, drivers may use their tablets to view and edit logs on the fly. As a result, the organization may comply with all applicable standards and requirements, save significant time, and avoid unwelcome DOT audits.

Signage on the road

Passenger forms authorize drivers to transport a passenger in their truck. Drivers can phone the office and request the document that is transferred to their tablet. The driver can then sign and return the passenger form at their leisure – no physical paperwork is required.

Streamlined human resource management

Due to the geographical dispersion of Halvor Lines’ drivers, the application makes it much easier to collect their signatures if anything changes in their personnel file (insurance, salary, etc.). Previously, HR had to mail documentation to each driver’s physical address, a time-consuming process that caused considerable delays.

Management of mobile devices

Each driver has a tablet that the IT department handles. IT can manage which mobile apps and permissions are available to drivers and pre-install the app on each tablet with the driver’s unique login already configured. It eliminates the need for drivers to waste time performing technical tasks: they merely need to sign a document and click submit to have it forwarded to the office.

Conclusion

Electronic signatures help the logistic industry accelerate its digital transformation and reduce its dependability on paper by running operations more quickly, efficiently, and with higher-quality data. It makes the technology highly critical for businesses with a strong market reputation.

Sign up for a free e-Signature account to put your logistic firm years ahead of the competition and enhance its sales, delivery, and customer understanding.

Posted by Lunar Pen

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