What are your goals as an independent trucker or owner of a trucking company? Most people will answer to grow the business and bring in more revenue. Increasing your business requires care as you don’t want to take on more than you can handle on your own.
Have you considered the different ways to optimize your trucking business’s administrative and bookkeeping responsibilities? You don’t want the extra expense of adding staff without having to pay salaries, benefits, and employment taxes eating into your profits. OCR does just that. Check out all of the benefits of OCR technology for your trucking business? It’s time you did.
What is OCR Technology?
Optical character recognition (OCR) technology is a technology that extracts text from images from photographs or scanned documents. Once it extracts the text, it can transfer the information to a database or spreadsheet automatically.
It works by using a scanner to scan the document uploaded to the software. The OCR software turns it into a black and white or a gray-toned document with a bitmap that can analyze the dark and light areas in that photo. The darker areas are then scanned for numbers or letters to convert to text.
Why Was OCR Created?
Back in the 1970s, the founder of Kurzweil Computer Products created OCR to help the blind. The goal was to take the text from any font and upload it into a reading machine that could turn the text into audio using text-to-speech. His company eventually was sold to Xerox, as Xerox was intrigued by paper-to-computer conversions.
Before all of this, the only way to transfer text from images to a computer was to type it out. If the typist made a mistake, it could lead to errors in factual information. Suppose a typist was transcribing old images of census records and typed a date as 1897 instead of 1879, it could make it difficult for genealogists and historians looking for birth, marriage, or death records.
By the 1990s, many newspapers across the country were starting to move historic newspapers to digital documents. OCR technology was key to this process. Advancements in this technology have led to it delivering flawless accuracy when transferring text from a photo into a computer.
How Does OCR Technology Help a Trucking Company?
So how does this help your trucking company? How does it save time and money?
Think about what happens when you take a load. You have to arrange to have a driver or yourself transport the goods to the drop-off location. You have the bill of lading that’s signed when you load the shipment and drop it off. This is your proof you picked up and delivered the items as promised.
A bill of lading proves the contract between the shipper/broker and carrier/trucker. It’s issued when your driver picks up the load. It shows that the goods are in the truck driver’s possession.
Information on the bill of lading can be handy if the driver is pulled over for an inspection or traffic violation. It contains the shipper’s name and contact information, the truck driver/trucking firm’s information, the date, the exact weight and classification, and the value. If a driver is pulled over, the bill of lading provides the information needed to show that the driver isn’t overweight and is legally on the road.
What happens if that bill of lading is damaged, destroyed, or lost? In an ideal world, the bill of lading never goes missing or gets damaged, but accidents happen.
Without proper documentation, it may delay delivery as goods can’t be released without the proper paperwork. If a bill of lading is lost, you need to ask the shipper or broker if they have another copy. You may be required to get other paperwork, such as a bank guarantee, letter of indemnity, freight receipt, packing list, and statement of loss (of the BOL). That takes time, again delaying shipment times.
Even if everything goes as planned, your driver returns to the office with a signed bill of lading. You have an administrative assistant or bookkeeper that takes that information and types it into the tax accounting program. The next step is to create an invoice and send it to the broker or shipper. You now have to wait until that client pays you. If they pay bills at the end of the month, you may be waiting weeks. Meanwhile, you’re taking from savings or charging things onto a business credit card and paying interest on those purchases.
If your driver takes a photo of the bill of lading from the start, it could save you a lot of time and money. After taking the photo, the driver can upload that photo to the OCR software. You could get paid a percentage right then. Or, wait until the load is delivered and get payment, minus a freight factoring company’s fees, immediately. You no longer have to wait weeks or months for an invoice to get paid.
How Do Drivers Use OCR Software?
When a driver receives the bill of lading, the driver loads the app and takes a photo. The software shows a frame or marks the corners of the document to ensure the driver has it lined up correctly. The photo is then taken and the image is verified for accuracy and uploaded to the software.
There’s another benefit to OCR apps. Some have add-ons that allow for electronic signatures, eliminating the need for paperwork. Drivers can show the bill of lading to the customer when delivering it and get an electronic signature. An email copy of the signed bill of lading is then shared as proof of delivery.
Instead of needing to have a bill of lading, clipboard, and pen. You could equip drivers with a tablet and stylus for signing electronically. Technology keeps advancing like this, making it so much easier than it has been in the past.
The actual software used determines what features are offered. When you’re looking at partnering with a freight factoring company, ask what features are available with their invoice factoring app.
Grow Your Business With OCR Technology
Saint John Capital offers same-day payments thanks to OCR technology. Sign up for a freight factoring account and upload pictures of your bill of lading when you pick it up or after you’ve delivered the load. OCR software transforms your photo into an invoice for which we immediately process for payment, and you can upload the invoice into your bookkeeping software.
Our invoice factoring app does all of this and more. You can also use it to find loads, see where your drivers are, and check out brokers’ and shippers’ credit ratings free of charge. Feel free to take work from someone you’ve never partnered with, all without worrying about the risk thanks to the free credit reports.
When you partner with Saint John Capital to get paid quickly, you don’t have to hire office staff to track down late payments. We’ve already paid you. It’s now our responsibility to get your brokers and shippers to pay what’s owed.
With same-day payments, you have the money you need to fuel up your trucks, maintain and repair trucks, and pay utilities, rent, and other business expenses. Invest what’s left into growing your trucking company. You’ll love the convenience freight factoring offers. Register with Saint John Capital and get started today.