Physical Parcel Management
Parcel Perfect™ is a third party white labelled freight management software package, used by many carriers and couriers in South Africa. We love it, because it makes our job of sending your bicycle from point A to B so much easier. This is how. PS, the bullet points below come mostly directly from the software creators. But the comments below them (in orange) are mine. To make it personal. Now you know exactly how we use the software. Isn’t transparency nice?
- Collections can be set up as recurring, or they can be captured as once-off entries. Most of our bicycles are sent as 1-way, once-off’s, as the are being traded on BikeHub or Marketplace. But we do have a few repeat customers trading frequently; including bike shops with December holiday deliveries. Plus cyclists sending return to and the CTCT, among others.
- Each of your customer entries contains a list of all addresses from and to which they have shipped. During the collection capture, the operators can select one of these addresses from a simple drop-down list, or they can enter a new address if needed. This helps with autosaving bike shop details for speedy waybills and collections.
- Once the collection has been captured, the operators have the option of assigning the collection to one of your drivers or agents. This is done by dragging the collection to the relevant group, or by selecting the driver from a drop-down list of available drivers in that area. This happens automatically in the background, done by our agents and service providers. We do least cost routing for sending bicycles, or so called drop-shipping-shipping!
Off to the driver…
- As soon as the collection is assigned to a driver, an SMS is automatically generated and sent directly to that driver’s cell phone. This message contains the exact physical address of the collection, as well as additional details such as the closing time. In this way, each driver has an accurate list of all collections on his cell phone. Since an SMS costs less than 20c on an appropriate messenger contract, these freight management solutions make for vast savings in telephone costs. This is great when it works, but with loadshedding we have to keep an eye on the collections because sometimes messages get stuck in the cloud, between a rock and a hard place, or no place at all.
- Once the driver has made the collection, he simply sends a return SMS with a unique collection code and the collection is automatically marked as collected. Which means our portal and tracking is updated and you and we can see exactly where your bicycle is.
- Collection status is colour coded in such a way that operators can see at a glance the status on all outstanding collections for the day. As the closing time of each customer approaches, the status colour changes, meaning that drivers can be re-routed where necessary.
- As collections are checked in, the final destination address and other details are captured from the physical waybills. We always create our waybill in advance. And send them off to either yourself or your chosen bike shop to box. It comes in PDF format to print+stick on the box.
This is seamless and happens in the background, no need for us to intervene. It happens via our selected courier and on the PP system. PS, a manifest is a batch of items loaded onto long haul. Each of these will have a unique number. Which means we can see which bicycles are on which vehicles for say the JHB to CPT trip. And we can get ETA’s from here as well.
- Once collections have been checked in, all packages destined for other areas may be consolidated onto manifests.
- The destination place of each parcel is selected beforehand in the collection module. Or via one of the waybill capture forms through a drop-down list. This destination place determines the hub to which the parcel should be manifested, and is entirely configurable.
- Manifests are generated for each of your line-haulers to your destination hubs.
- The costs of the manifest are divided between all packages, using the rates that you have set up for each of your line-haulers or air-carriers.
- The manifest may be printed out or emailed directly from Parcel Perfect™ to the destination hub.
- If you receive a manifest from another company that also uses Parcel Perfect™, you can import all waybill information electronically on the manifest onto your system, instantly and with 100% accuracy.
- The destination place determines the destination hub, as well as the area surrounding the hub where the delivery is to take place. This determines which of your agents or drivers can be allocated to do that delivery.
- Drivers can be automatically or manually assigned to each delivery, either through manual selection from a drop-down list or through barcode scanning.
- Once assigned, the deliveries for a driver or agent are grouped onto a tripsheet, which can then be printed and used when making deliveries.
Proof of Delivery (POD) Tracking and Imaging
- Once a delivery driver returns with a POD, or once an agent submits their POD to you, these documents can be captured into Parcel Perfect™ for tracking purposes. And yes we do see these captured on PP. And we can view them to see who received and signed for the bicycle. Very handy to ensure it went to the right person. And now there can be no dispute as to who received it and when it was received.
- You can decide on the level of detail that you would like to capture. The most basic would be the date, time and the name of the person that signed for the delivery. And the most comprehensive being a complete image scan of the POD. We see the basic info inline on the PP screen. This helps because there are so many deliveries of bicycles. But when someone requests an actual image, we can also view same. Instantly.
- Should you wish to scan the POD images, these are linked directly to the waybills in Parcel Perfect™, allowing for very easy for POD tracking that can be viewed by any of the operators. From here they can be printed, emailed or faxed directly from Parcel Perfect™.
- Using our POD requester, your customers can request POD images directly from Parcel Perfect™ without any user intervention. The system will send the required images within seconds to their email inboxes.
Basic POD info via SMS and more…
- Your customers can obtain basic POD information using the Parcel Perfect™ SMS requester, which sends POD details to the customer immediately via SMS.
- At the end of each day or week, you can fax or email a consolidated POD report of all POD’s processed since their last report to your customers automatically.
- For larger customers, you can provide groups of POD images on CD, together with their invoices with a single mouse-click. Ah, nifty feature for backups, but when last have you burned at CD?
- Missing POD reports are listed by agent, allowing you to follow-up with drivers and agents.
- If some of your deliveries are done by another company that also uses Parcel Perfect™, the POD’s that they capture for your delivery can be imported to your system electronically, making the POD tracking process much easier.
Because we send bicycles, it is a larger item smaller volume game. Compared to online retailers with a vast amount of smaller items being shipped. Yet barcodes remain an integral part of our bicycle transport chain. As it allows for tracking, every step of the way. It starts with a barcode on your preprinted waybill…
- Packages can be scanned by barcode as they arrive or leave each hub. This stamps them with a date and time, and is extremely valuable for tracking purposes.
- Bar-coded labels can be generated by Parcel Perfect™ using a barcode printer, or barcodes can be pre-printed on waybills.
- Barcode scanning can be set up in a number of ways, and for a configurable number of events. If required, these events would be customised your needs.
- Waybill Pre-Prints and Distributions
- Parcel Perfect™ can pre-print waybill sender details for a specified customer onto carbonated waybills.
- If a customer of doing a distribution to a group of recipients, each of the addresses can be set up permanently under that customer for repeat use. You can then print waybills for the entire recipient group.
Barcodes, groups and Excel…
- Any number of recipient groups can be set up for each of your customers.
- Customer address information for bulk distributions can be imported into Parcel Perfect™ directly from an Excel spreadsheet. Oh I just love playing with Excel. From Lotus 1-2-3- through Google Sheets and all the way to they very latest Office 365. Nothing beats Excel. And PP seamlessly integrates with same.
- Waybill information can be imported into Parcel Perfect™ from an Excel spreadsheet. This avoids the capture of multiple waybills from customers who can provide information in an electronic format. Yip. We try and do our part for the environment. There is not a single piece of paper being printed in my office. In fact, I cannot remember when last I had the need to do so. But whenever we have to box a bicycle — I certainly love covering the box in FRAGILE stickers!
Waybill and Manifest Notes
- These notes provide an essential way of keeping track of high value shipments and other waybills that require more attention than the regular items.
- Miscellaneous notes can be entered by any operator, at any time, under any of the waybills or manifests.
- Each of these notes are automatically time and date stamped, and stored with the operator’s name under the relevant waybill.
- Notes can be captured by manifest, for example, if a flight is delayed, and will be applied to all waybills on that manifest. An operator viewing the notes on one of those waybills will also be able to see the manifest notes. We make many notes everywhere in the system. This keeps everyone in the loop and up to date. IE, a job number for a Cyclelab collection. Or an order number from our internal system. Or a note to say where the entrance to the premises are. Or when a customer updates recipient contact details. Or provides an alternative. The list goes on and on.
That was a mouthful. Now you know. In short, PP is great, and makes our lives so much easier 🙂