As a result of the Covid-19 crisis, many hauliers are having to change processes and adapt systems to keep their drivers safe and wheels turning. 

For the directors of Tapfreight Ltd, the Barnsley-based operator who specialises in the distribution of chemicals and pharmaceuticals in the UK and Europe, it was essential for them to reduce the risk of contact at the point of delivery.

Tapfreight use a Mandata transport management system and integrated Manifest ePOD app to capture electronic proof of delivery for most of their work. However, many of their customers insist on their own paperwork being signed, in addition to electronic signature capture.

Once the Covid-19 pandemic struck, the company had to act quickly to protect staff by avoiding contact with the receivers of the goods as much as possible.

One of the risk assessment outcomes was to find a way to eliminate the need for goods receivers to sign customer’s own paperwork or the drivers’ PDAs.

Mandata proposed a solution which automatically transposed the name of the receiver and the signature onto the electronic POD which was also time and date stamped, avoiding all contact at the point of delivery.

Tapfreight director, Bob Milton explained: “The adaptation has literally been a lifeline for our drivers, business and customers. It was essential for us to achieve a safer method of proof of delivery. Transposing the POD details straight on to the electronic delivery note was a neat solution which meant we were able to adapt quickly.”

With everything in place to implement the change in process, Tapfreight’s operation was able to continue safely, without disruption. 

“We have been trying to convince customers for some time to go down the paperless route. Now we’ve proven we can eradicate the need for hard copy delivery notes, this is a major step forward for us. It has demonstrated to us what we already knew, that in this day and age it’s simply not necessary to lump around great wads of paper.”

Bob explained some of their customer delivery notes are 9 to 10 pages long: “Just one consignment can have 2 or 3 delivery notes and we’re required to get each of them signed. Since mid-March we stopped using customer’s own paperwork, and enclosed documents in wallets on the pallets. Customers have been very supportive and accepted that this was required to reduce the risk of Covid-19.”

Tapfreight has found there are other benefits to going paperless too. “If you ignore the current crisis, the efficiency gains in the traffic office will be huge; we can dramatically minimise time spent printing and scanning as well as significantly reduce costs.”

“Not only that, once we have scanned the signed documents, all that paperwork has to be securely destroyed, which is such an obscene waste. So, there is a big environmental benefit as well.”

Bob is confident paperless processes are here to stay. He said: “Some of our customers will want to go back to the way it was, but we’re going to adopt this as policy going forwarded.  I’m guessing we’ll save at least 4 hours a day on scanning alone – but there will be more time saved on the planning side too. The benefits are real and significant for our business and not only that, they’re good for the environment.”

Now Tapfreight run invoicing daily, and as soon as the jobs are complete, they email the electronic documents and invoice to the customers, so they’re not having to wait for paperwork. With all documents being transported electronically, the company is on track to make huge efficiency and cost savings.