Delivering documents faster

Delivering documents faster

Discount Freight Express has re-engineered the way it deals with proof of delivery documentation, resulting in major improvements to customer service.

By Hannah Birtles

Digitising the images of consignment notes has meant improved customer service and greater workplace efficiencies for Sydney-based Discount Freight Express.

The new system developed by CentreTech, a NSW-based software design and development company, was implemented in February this year and is now responsible for processing thousands of documents a day.

Image capture has streamlined the processing and checking of deliveries for an Australian freight company.

Previously, proof of delivery (POD) documents, that part of a consignment note signed by the receiver, were photocopied and placed onto microfilm. The company then had to index, store and stack these files into mounds of cartridges. Where the old system was not only slow, it often produced a very comprised image.

With the new system, however, POD images have been greatly improved and zoom-in features allow for easy identification of information such as signatures.


Using two high-speed Kodak 7500 scanners running Kofax capture software version 3, operators scan in up to 40,000 consignment notes on a daily basis. PODs are then imaged via specially designed software from CentreTech across two workstations running Windows 95.

The system reads the barcodes contained on the POD as well as other information such as sender and receiver details and service codes.

Another specialised program known as WatchDog, works in conjunction with the POD system to double check the printed bar code scans, so no document is missed. Watchdog alerts the operator to any problems with the scanning process.

From here, an operator then keys in any documents that have not been read or were misread before a second operator rereads the data entered to confirm any manual entries.

The information is then downloaded to the company's mainframe and stored on disk where it can be retrieved, viewed and faxed via a fax server, within seconds. Five RAID arrays with a total storage capacity of 350GB are being used to store the images.


The other major advantage is improved and faster turnaround times for customer inquiries. Upon entering a request, operators can view a POD within seconds. This document can then be fax directly to the customer, or printed out for mailing.

Discount Freight Express general manager, Chris Ryan, said such a reliable and speedy program for accessing PODs was necessary to maximise customer service.

"Human or microfilm error has been virtually eliminated as there is no question of information getting out of order and minimal chance of losing it."

"All in all, POD has provided us with an unmatched proof of delivery solution which has placed us at the forefront of the industry," Mr Ryan concluded.