We all know that companies require fast solutions in an increasingly complex transport industry. Creating mobile applications has become key to meeting industry-specific challenges. One of those is the need to digitize paper documents. This is particularly true in transport and logistics, creating room for software solutions, COTS, or customized.
Companies must stay competitive using customized mobile software development to stay on top. Let's see, custom application development can help with document management and digital transformation.
What is custom application development?
For many familiar with system development, no one needs to explain what custom app development is. However, the complexity of each industry makes development more and more demanding. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for every industry. Therefore, knowing what makes a difference in software development and how that can impact your operations is important. One of the crucial differences is visible among industries such as logistics and transportation, which are responsible for various freight services and distribution.
When we talk about industries such as transportation and logistics, your team of developers will most probably need a different set of skills and industrial expertise. The second mentioned part of software development is equally important. Therefore, we state that to develop a software solution, you need skilled developers and people who have worked in a specific industry. In this exception of custom application development, we're talking about experts who have a background built over the years in transportation and logistics. They know how the transportation industry is developing and, therefore, can advise on the right solution that can be accurately implemented by software developers.
Custom vs. Off-the-Shelf Software
In software development for transportation and logistics, there are two popular ways of software solutions. Here are two of them:
Commercial Off-the-shelf (COTS) software solution
The off-the-shelf software for transportation is pre-designed by experienced developers and can be easily used by transport companies such as carriers, shippers, and others. This eliminates the need for planning or custom design. In this way, a company can get up and running quickly but may face many constraints for data processing and business transactions within the software due to the low level of accessible customizations.
Here are the advantages of COST software solution for transportation:
Well-established user community
Available in SaaS model
Here are the disadvantages of COST software solution for transportation:
Custom application development
Customized transport software development is carefully created exclusively for a customer with specific needs by a qualified developer or 3rd party software company with in-house knowledge about transportation. In this process, constant collaboration in the planning and design of the software to match the transportation industry requirements. This type of solution can match existing and new requirements that are critical for business success.
Here are the advantages of custom application development for transportation:
Customization and new features
High security and reliability
Continuous support and maintenance
Flexibility and scalability
Seamless integration with various systems
Easy adoption of mobile applications
Exclusive ownership and high data security
Here are the disadvantages of custom application development for transportation:
Technical expertise in transportation
Initial costs (in the long run, costs are still much lower as there is a high ratio for ROI vs. COST software)
Dependency on developers
Limited user base for support (if not contracted within SLA previously)
Digitization of records with custom software
Before choosing software for transportation, a company should define the scope of its requirements. In some exceptional cases, when the need is for only a small feature, deploying an Off-the-Shelf solution might be sufficient. However, if a specific workflow requires better records management, then a much better-tailored solution with custom application development may be necessary. This is because no company that offers COTS software can cover all your specific needs. They may have some expertise, but more is needed.
Each company in transportation has already managed a certain level of digitized records. They use a professional document management system and workflows. Here are the most common systems in the transportation industry for data and records management:
Transport Management System (TMS)
A TMS is a comprehensive software solution designed to manage and streamline different aspects of transport operations. It combines all aspects of transportation, such as document management, carrier management, and invoice management. TMS helps companies plan routes, manage shipments, track their vehicles, and streamline logistics processes. The system is fully digitized and manages various digital records to share data with all stakeholders in transportation.
Document Management System (DMS)
DMS is a software platform that provides storage, organization, as well as access to documents across various departments in transportation. The system provides tools for document version control, increasing collaboration capabilities and compliance. DMS is fully based on digitized records with document scanning features, making transportation document flow easier for businesses to securely store and access documents.
Route Management System (RMS)
RMS focuses on route planning and optimization for transport and delivery operations. It helps to design efficient routes, assign tasks to drivers, and monitor progress in real-time. The system operates on digital records, including truck drivers' planning and fuel costs, and aims to reduce fuel consumption and operational costs while ensuring on-time deliveries. It is an integral part of the Route Optimization Software (ROS).
Procurement Management System
Procurement management systems are set up to improve the organization's purchasing process and the contracting of freight forwarding services. Such systems help with supplier selection, purchasing, and contract management. They are crucial in digital records management as they provide a strong foundation for financial forecasting, ensuring cost-effective and efficient procurement operations.
Carrier Management System (CMS)
CMS is a software developed to effectively manage and oversee carrier relationships. The system typically includes carrier deployment and scheduling in various types of transport, such as road freight or sea freight. Its goal is performance tracking and carrier contract management. It helps organizations make informed decisions on carrier selection and optimize supply chain operations. It is also an integral part of the Route Optimization Software (ROS).
Custom mobile application development for scanning documents
Choosing a custom software development service for a transportation company can actually incorporate various functions of each solution above for transportation. One of the very useful solutions that can be connected to each transportation system is the scanning documents feature.
Because all transportation systems are deeply dependent on digital records management, it is crucial to have functionality that can allow digitizing records in real time. This approach is providing various business benefits:
Scanning documents allows for the frequent use of digital formats that are easily accessible from mobile devices. This way, transportation businesses can increase productivity and improve access to key information.
Documentation needs to be kept up to date. If paperwork is constantly scanned and digitized, it becomes easier to maintain document quality management and discover errors and non-compliance.
Improved Data Protection
Scanned documents can be better protected, as paper originals can be stored in a designated place, and digital formats can be distributed across various departments. This way, access for all users can be better controlled, and original documents are protected.
Preventing Document Loss
Scanning documents allows the digitization of all paper assets and aids in disaster recovery if paper documents are lost. This means that if your transportation documents are lost by truck drivers, they can be replicated and retrieved at any time.
More Space in the Office
Scanned transportation documents can be stored on servers or using cloud solutions. This saves office space by removing piles of documents from hallways and document forms from transportation administrators' desks.
Mobile app for scanning documents
Understanding the benefits of using the scanning document feature for our business, we can now focus more closely on how this feature can be deployed most effectively in the transportation industry.
The adoption of mobile scanner technology in the transportation industry can be better understood through the total usability of mobile devices versus desktops. The share of web traffic from mobile devices is increasing globally.  Therefore, it is smart to consider the digital transformation toward the mobility of any system you may use in your transportation operations.
Here are the places where mobile apps for scanning documents can be used for transportation:
Recording of receipts (support for the proof of delivery - POD)
Creation of new expenses (automatic cost reporting)
Transfer of receipt images (document scanning supported by optical character recognition - OCR)
Automatic data extraction (review of any transport documents at any time)
Expense report upload (sharing digital reports, including packing lists and shipping documents)
Administrative overview (better traceability of deliveries)
A mobile app with a scanning transportation documents feature can be developed with attention to your exclusive business needs and integrated with the most commonly known systems such as TMS, DMS, CMS, and many others.
How custom software programming improves digital document flow
Digitizing paper documents with a customized application development service allows for exceptional digital workflow management. It's very important in the transport industry to help people navigate the complex landscape of documents frequently used in transport. It is also important to help the right people access documents at the right time.
Document flow is about providing a better user experience in the highly stressful work environment of the transportation industry. Everything must be on time to avoid costly contractual penalties. Here are the three main problems with digital document flow:
Employees invest too much time in accessing information
Data is not easily available to employees
Growing team members' frustration with constantly performing simple tasks
Relying on these details, we see challenges that validate the optimization of document flow. This can be easily solved with Custom Transportation Software. Employees in transportation can be equipped with exceptional features that can allow them to automate digital document flow within the software.
Here are the benefits of using automated document flow in transportation:
Document automation streamlines processes in the transport industry, enabling the creation of a wide range of legal documents in a fraction of the time.
By choosing document flow automation in the transport industry, a business can minimize errors in critical processes. Most of them that are caused by the issues are route planning, shipment tracking, and compliance documentation. This increases operational efficiency and safety.
In transportation, ensuring the security of data flow is crucial due to sensitive cargo and customer data. Automation delivers to the business advanced data security support. This area may include data encryption and user authentication.
Cost Savings and Increased Profitability
Transportation benefits from cost savings by reducing reliance on paper-printed documentation and manual records. Faster document flow minimizes lead time to invoice, as well as enhances profitability.
Improved Regulatory Compliance
Automation improves compliance by ensuring that the necessary documentation is accurately created, stored, and retrieved.
Quick summary on custom application development
No matter which system your transportation company is using, custom application development can significantly improve the digitization of paper documents in transportation. You can deploy mobile applications that facilitate daily digitization, keeping all digital records in virtual document storage and making them accessible within a matter of seconds.
This approach directly leads to better document access, streamlined fleet management, and, most importantly, enhanced shipping management. Third-party software development companies are not significantly more expensive. When looking at the long-distance planning perspective, you may notice a much faster return on investment (ROI). You can keep your data secure without risking exposure to data leaks, which can be highly damaging when dealing with high-value shipments.
At Adexin, we have been implementing business solutions for the transportation industry for several years. By offering best-in-class customized software solutions, we support the transportation sector in digitizing paper documents with mobile devices. We prioritize customer satisfaction, ensuring a relatively fast return on investment (ROI). Contact us today, and let's discuss how we can enhance your transportation business.