Many transportation companies and other businesses that perform pickup, delivery or other services at customer sites have an excellent opportunity to improve cash flow -- without having to add customers or sell more to existing ones. Shortening the collection cycle is a proven and powerful way to improve the balance sheet, and now it is becoming convenient and cost effective for trucking companies to do so with a simple, technology-enabled change to driver operations. Mobile computers with enhanced mobile document imaging are easier to use than digital cameras. In just seconds drivers can create legible, secure electronic images of bills of lading, manifests, invoices and other documentation. Unlike digital camera-based systems, the images captured with enhanced imagers are compatible with common electronic file formats so they can automatically be managed by document management systems, indexed and processed by accounting, payroll, vehicle maintenance, driver management and other software applications. The image files are also small enough to transmit wirelessly from the field, which means invoices can be presented for processing immediately after service is performed.
Besides compressing the payment cycle, electronic document capture and processing lowers operating expenses, because electronic forms are less expensive to process than paper ones. For example, recent research1 found that best-in-class firms are nearly twice as likely as laggards to use electronic presentment for transportation invoices, and are also much more likely to use automated data conversion (e.g. document scanning) to input freight invoices into accounting systems. The same study found that technology and process laggards spend almost $24 to process each paper invoice; more efficient organizations process transportation invoices for less than half that much. Electronic processing not only results in much lower costs, but also produces more accurate work, which reduces errors, expenses and payment delays related to problem resolution.