Product Insight: Sub-contractor Engagement

During peak periods when demand is high, fleets are often stretched to their limit. Extending the fleet can prove costly and leave excess capacity when work eventually slows down. Most operators therefore choose to either hire vehicles and agency staff or pass on excess work to sub-contractor fleets.

The problem with both of these options is a loss of visibility. When using your own fleet, telematics data and ePOD information is passed through to your Microlise system allowing you to manage your fleet, your drivers and your deliveries. When using a third-party to carry out work on your behalf, this data is often not available.

Sub contractors may only be engaged for a short period until rush activity is over, and sometimes only for the length of a single job, so it is simply not viable to equip them with access to your electronic POD systems and other resources in the same way as you would a full time employee. This can create a separate set of paperwork for sub-contractors, leading to more administrative tasks for your staff and distracting from the process of managing the scheduling and workload.

Microlise can help…

The Product

Microlise offers mobile sub-contractor applications, available to download from either Google Play or the Apple AppStore, which will provide your organisation with the peace of mind that all your drivers and third-party hauliers are seeing the same thing – and following the same working processes and safety protocols – whether they have installed one of our apps onto their own devices, or are using hardware that you have supplied. These apps also feature support for multiple languages, removing the risk of a language barriers preventing the enlistment of third party hauliers in a specific locale.

Microlise SmartPOD and SmartFlow ePOD applications make it possible to have visibility of a third-party haulier as if they are part of your own fleet, you track their vehicle throughout their journey and see them on the map provided through the Microlise Web Portal interface.

Sub-contracted hauliers can use an app to log into your system (either by manually entering the log in details you provide or through scanning a QR code) on their own device, and capture delivery information, which is fed back into the Web Portal alongside the data collected from your own drivers as part of their daily operation.

This can also include capturing signatures on the touchscreen of their device, supplying consignment information (for instance, notifying a member of staff in the transport office or in customer support about items which could not be delivered through the data recorded on the app) and supplying photographic evidence as proof of delivery, or when documenting damage to an item while submitting a clause code to record why an item could not be delivered. Both apps are also integrated with Google Maps, providing accurate satellite navigation to guide the driver along the fastest route to their destination while providing information around applicable speed limits, localised to the language set for the device.

Trip sheet information can also be displayed through the app(s) to provide drivers with a digital record of their journey manifest for easy reference, showing them details of the drops to complete, planned arrival and departure times, and expected turn-around times for each site on their journey without them having to physically travel to a transport office and spend extra time at a site to collect the paperwork necessary to complete their work for the day.

The Benefits

The biggest benefit for any organisation is an increase in flexibility – third-party hauliers can be engaged when necessary, accepting and completing work assigned to them remotely through use of the app on their device, which can be downloaded and subsequently removed if their services are no longer required.

Your transport team benefits from real-time visibility, clear communication and a fully digitised paper trail. Third party hauliers can be tracked with an equal level of visibility alongside any other full time drivers while staff in the transport office will be able to know and communicate when deliveries from third-party hauliers are due alongside customer expected arrival and departure times.

Third party hauliers can supply ePOD information instantly into the system via the app, allowing employees in the transport office to see what has been delivered and receive notification of any substitutions, issues or other defects which arose during the delivery and need to be recorded with a clause code depending on what they have chosen to receive system notifications for. Using the SmartPOD app, staff can also directly respond to driver queries with instant messaging.

The digital app provides an automatic audit trail as it feeds back into the Microlise system and simultaneously allows third-party hauliers to receive and complete work without the added inconvenience of paper job sheets or the risk of lost information, allowing organisations who engage with them to do so with the peace of mind that their in-house processes are uniformly followed, even by independent contractors, and that full compliance with existing regulations can be reliably tracked and recorded.

Third-party hauliers in turn also reap the benefits of a faster, more efficient system with less paperwork, as they are able to provide concrete proof of on-time deliveries, receive faster invoicing and faster payment for their services as a result.

A significant portion of our effort at Microlise is devoted to R&D and the continuous improvement of our products. Our other product insight blogs can provide insight into different areas of the solutions we offer, which support increased driver compliance, better fuel efficiency, easier management of fleet resources, and more.

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If you'd like to find out more about our Sub-contractor EPOD solution, please contact your account manager, or contact us today to book a demonstration.