Bill of Lading Software: Where To Find It and What You Need

by Vector | Nov 13, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Bill of Lading Software: Where To Find It and What You Need

November 13, 2020
Bill of Lading Software: Where To Find It and What You Need

Bill of lading (BOL) software is a hot topic trending in the logistics Industry community today. And for good reason!  As more companies adopt bill of lading software, those who haven't yet will be left further and further behind. Building the business case for a bill of lading software investment is pretty cut and dried. BOL software is an easy upgrade for several reasons, which we'll review in this article.

That being said, if you need to cut right to the chase and get industry-leading bill of lading software right now, go directly to the Vector website.

We'll be getting into more detail on bill of lading software and Vector below, but I get it. The one common denominator across every facet of the logistics industry is that time is money. We also know the old saying that "a good plan today is better than a perfect plan a week from now."

Bill of lading software is a merger of cutting-edge smartphone technology and the traditional ways and means of logistics. In short, now, not next week or next year, is a great time to adopt this software.

Bill of Lading Software: What We'll Cover Today

That said, I recommend bookmarking this article as a go-to source for everything you need to know about BOL software. Here's what we'll cover in this article:

  1. What are the bill of lading software basics?
  2. What are the key features you need to look for with bill of lading software?
  3. How can you perform due diligence on bill of lading software companies?
  4. Where can you find the best bill of lading software?

We know the tech genie isn't going back inside the bottle any time soon. But before you rub the lantern, let's think about what you should wish for when it comes to your bill of lading software. Shazam!

Covering the Basics: What's Bill of Lading Software?

BOL software provides an electronic bill of lading service to the logistics industry. Bills of lading in general are a mainstay of the logistics industry. A BOL is a document that serves several important functions to the logistics process of moving goods and freight from point A to point B.

For example, a BOL includes all the basic load information for a shipment. In addition, a BOL contractually protects shipper, carrier, and consignee. This is true in part because BOLs act as a legal document of title as well as a receipt of goods. Beyond that, the process of signing a BOL is considered a legal exchange of ownership. In other words, that signature is proof of the transaction.

In short, BOLs are all about needing that signature, right?

But when something like a global pandemic strikes, now what? Freight still has to ship. And we still need that signature to get paid at the end of the day. The solution? Bill of lading software.

Tech was already streamlining the logistics industry before COVID-19. That trend skyrocketed because bill of lading software such as Vector's allowed for contactless, touchless, socially distant freight.

Why risk spreading disease for a signature?  Even if you wanted to say hello, many warehouses and shippers have moved to touchless freight. In short, bill of lading software is easier and safer. That's not a bad deal.

What Features Must BOL Software Have?

There are some basic features that your bill of lading software absolutely needs. And there are many BOL software products on the market. How can you choose the right one? Look for the following features:

  1. E-signature. As noted above, e-signature can be a literal life saver in times of chaos. E-signature is the game changer. Get it.
  2. High-end mobile imaging. Mobile document scanning is what enables you to digitize your bills of lading, as well as proofs of delivery, trip sheets, and every other freight document you can think of. High-quality imaging is therefore crucial. Get the best document scanning software provider you can find.
  3. Transportation management system (TMS) and full-stack integration. There's an old saying: "It's a bad thing when the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing." Remember that when you're shopping for your BOL software. I strongly encourage you to find a BOL software that integrates with their company's TMS and entire tech stack. It just makes life easier.
  4. Rendition billing modules. This is a sneaky feature that improves Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). To be honest, automating DSO and other  processes and documents is another way the right tech features can make life so much easier. Rendition billing allows you, your office staff, and your drivers to focus on core responsibilities, not just push paper.
  5. Customization. Gordon Gekko told us in the movie Wall Street that "Greed is good." This is where you should be greedy about your company's specific needs. Not every bill of lading software provider works with you to customize and streamline your specific workflows.
  6. Support. This ties in to customization. Not every bill of lading software company acts like they want your business. Find a BOL software provider that responds quickly to your needs. Do they reply knowledgeably to questions in their chat box? Do they act like they want to partner with you?  Who else do they partner with already? Look at the badges of existing customers on their website. You want the sense that your BOL software provider is established and intends to be around for the long haul (no pun intended).

Keep these six tips in mind when you're on the hunt for a BOL software provider. Note: nowhere did I suggest that you go with the cheapest option. Let's talk about cost next.

How Do I Perform Due Diligence on BOL Software?

There are things more important than money when it comes to technology—like time. Bad decisions and bad tech cost more in the long run, so be smart upfront.

I recommend doing as much upfront vetting as possible. What does this process entail?

Essentially, it's the same process you have when shopping with a provider such as Amazon. In other words, read the reviews. The beauty of the internet is that we can get third-party opinions of strangers on absolutely everything. While this isn't a fail-safe process, if you're thorough, you can build an impression about pros and cons that allows you to make an educated decision.

A high-quality bill of lading software company will have many customer case studies and reviews on its website. Start there. Certain individual case studies and reviews may not discuss the topics that are most pressing for your decision. But if you read enough of them, you can most likely piece together the information you need.

Narrow down your decision to the best options. Next, contact the software provider. Get a feel for their expertise. Do you feel like you will receive the timely support you know you'll need when a crisis hits? Ask the hard questions now, and ask for their pricing. Build your business case, be confident in your process, and then make your decision without hesitation.

Get Ready for New Possibilities

We've discussed the keys to success when selecting the right bill of lading software for your company. Here are the last pieces of advice I'll leave you with. Make sure the software company you partner with matches your ambitions. And when you find the right match—get excited.

So often, I see people get too scared of the idea of onboarding new tech. Control that old urge. No solution is 100% perfect, but make no mistake—the right bill of lading software is going to be a game changer for you and your company.

This one piece of technology can both streamline efficiency and mitigate risk.  

In other words, get excited, put on your growth mindset, and don't be surprised when your wish comes true. The ideal bill of lading software is here for you.

Think big and keep truckin'!

This post was written by Brian Deines. Brian believes that every day is a referendum on a brand’s relevance, and he’s excited to bring that kind of thinking to the world of modern manufacturing and logistics. He deploys a full-stack of business development, sales, and marketing tools built through years of work in the logistics, packaging, and tier-1 part supply industries serving a customer base comprised of Fortune 1000 OEMs.

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