It was only a matter of time until mobile apps began to play a pivotal role within the auto transport industry. Today, you could make the argument that they are virtually ubiquitous, saving thousands of customers and trusted partners valuable time and money.
The Ship.Cars mobile app—known as Driver ePOD—has evolved considerably since its inception three years ago. It started as a simple solution that would enable drivers to perform quick inspections on vehicle pick-ups and deliveries and ensure electronic proof of delivery. Over time, it’s become so much more:
- a seamless, automated notification center for shippers and brokers
- a digital replacement for paper receipts and phone calls
- a fraud-reduction tool employing time stamps and geotags
- a trip management system leveraging GPS
- a quick, seamless way to create orders on the fly
As a powerfully designed, multifaceted communications tool, the Ship.Cars mobile app continues to evolve, serving not only the needs of drivers and dispatchers but a wide variety of stakeholders and industry partners—including brokers, dealerships and auto auctions.
We strongly believe that mobile is the uncontested wave of the future, and as an innovative company, Ship.Cars invests heavily in optimizing the mobile experience with every product we create. In an increasingly dynamic world where individuals perform most of their tasks away from their desk and on the go, our mobile-first mindset guarantees that digital environments will mirror customers’ active, multitasking, itinerant lifestyles.
Mobile and the UX factor
In discussing Driver ePOD, there are several aspects of the app that really stand out. As developers, our approach was always to make the UX as simple as possible—yet at the same time, powerful and exceedingly useful. Our secret? Hidden within the app there exists an extremely complex programming logic working with great sophistication behind the scenes and completely invisible to the user. And this is precisely how we envisioned it—drivers should be focused on their job of picking up and delivering vehicles, not navigating dense digital terrain. Same goes for the rest of our transportation partners. Everything solved by the advanced technology of our app remains in the background.
A seamless solution
One of the best examples of this is our synchronization process. It basically works like this: At the time of delivery the mobile app seamlessly transfers locally gathered inspection data—such as geotagged and time-stamped vehicle images— back to Ship.Cars servers where it can then be passed back to shipping partners. This process is extremely important because it keeps the data across all products secure and up to date. This way dispatchers can visualize the progress for every vehicle BOL almost immediately.
Another plus: It also removes the hassle for drivers who need to call or notify their dispatcher that they have picked up or delivered a particular vehicle—their ePOD ‘personal assistant’ fulfils this task for them. Pretty cool. This may seem like a straightforward task, but in fact, it’s actually rather complex due to the dynamic environment in which our drivers operate. For example, frequently internet connection is slow or virtually non-existent within a particular location or time. Now, we’ve got a fix for that.
Acceleration under the hood
Another important element of the app is speed. Once a driver has performed an inspection at a pickup or delivery location, the electronic Bill of Lading should be automatically generated. Ideally, this should occur as soon as possible. With Ship.Cars’ improved synchronization process this happens almost immediately—regardless of the internet speed or connection. On average, the time between finalizing the inspection of a vehicle and BOL generation is less than five seconds. No more hanging around. No more endless waiting.
Reliability of process is another important factor and one which our development team has made great strides in addressing. Our app automatically monitors for internet connection and synchronizes the data when the connection allows it. Drivers do not have to worry about lost inspection data in areas that are out of coverage. Everything is stored securely and then digitally sent at the first suitable moment.
We’re always looking for new ways to add functionality to our mobile app. In the age of acceleration, an organization cannot remain idle and Ship.Cars is committed to reaching out to our full range of partners—externally and internally—to stay ahead of the curve.
Think about it: Drivers, dispatchers carriers and assorted shipping partners—including brokers, dealers and auto auctions—deserve sophisticated yet simplified technology to help them surge past the competition and fulfill the collective mission to eliminate friction, enhance communication and haul vehicles more efficiently.
In fact, it’s no longer a question of ‘going digital’; it’s how evolved and adaptable your digital solution will be. Nearly all constituents within auto transport must not only embrace a cloud-based solution, but find one that consistently delivers the powerful, nuanced results promised by automation. As solution providers, my team here at Ship.Cars looks forward to the challenge.