Many PAM Transportation drivers remember the days of paper logs, stopping to find a pay phone (inside, if you were lucky) to call dispatch (sometimes having to wait in line), writing all your dispatch information down on a notepad, and hoping your directions were correct, with no other way to communicate.
In the 1990s, cell phones started to appear on the scene, followed by fax machines, satellite communication for onboard computers, global positioning systems to track equipment, and cameras, document scanners, and then smartphones with even smarter apps.
As technology continues to develop at breakneck speed, the digital world is increasingly becoming a major part of our everyday lives. The demand for faster communication and better service to our customers makes keeping up with technology a critical part of business. To this point, document-scanning technology has increased our ability to more efficiently and accurately process business documents, reduces payroll issues related to missing paperwork, and more.
But until recently, you still had to stop somewhere along the way to process the documents. Not anymore thanks to the Transflo app.
Mobile Document Management
Pegasus TransTech has taken this technology up a notch by developing Transflo, a free mobile-device application that is easy to use and that allows drivers to submit business documents instantly anywhere a cellular signal is available.
“It’s much more convenient because before, they had to stop at a truck stop to scan,” Bobby Caldwell, PAM Transportation’s assistant vice president of accounting and controller, said. “Now, as far as the payroll cutoff, that’s Friday at midnight. If they deliver Friday night around midnight, they may not get it scanned until 10 am Monday morning. It makes it much more convenient that they can send it in within minutes, rather than waiting for the next opportunity.”
Drivers who want to utilize the Transflo app need either an Android phone with Android 2.2 OS or higher, a 5-megapixel camera or higher with autofocus and flash capability, or an iPhone 4S with iOS 6.0 or later versions of iOS.
As with any other document, if it can’t be read, it’s useless, so follow these suggestions when capturing your images:
- Good focus and clarity is a must, so steady yourself and hold the camera still when taking the photographs. If you’re in your cab, shut the truck off while using your camera. Not only will this eliminate engine vibration and reduce blur, but it will help your MPG as well!
- Contrast is key here, so, if possible, place the documents on a non-reflective dark surface like a black bedsheet, microfiber blanket, or similar surface.
- Ensure that your area is well lit, and use your flash, unless the document is glossy or reflects too much light. Once you submit your documents using the Transflo app, you’ll receive an email with a unique confirmation number as well as an in-app notification.
To see your documents, visit www.transfloexpress.com and click on View Documents. You can review documents for up to 14 days after they are submitted.
Cutting the Cord with the Transflo App
Being confined to your truck while waiting on important messages or dispatch can be frustrating, especially when you have other things you could or should be doing. With the new Transflo app, being tethered to your truck is now a thing of the past.
When asked about the decision to broaden PAM Transportation’s relationship with the company, Caldwell said, “We have a history with Transflo as far as drivers stopping at truck stops and scanning their documents. They approached us with several different products, and we liked the fact that we could push messages to drivers over their mobile devices.
“They did it very economically, you know — it wasn’t expensive,” Caldwell added. “We did talk to one other company that could come in and basically design everything, but, all in all, it wasn’t that much more than what Transflo could already do. Based on our fleet size, it’s very economical, and they’re very easy to work with.”
When a message goes out to a driver logged on to a specific truck, the driver can now be notified of and read any messages sent to the truck via the Transflo app, including preplans and dispatch information. During this initial rollout phase, messages are being pushed only one way, to the drivers. This means that to reply, you’ll still need to go back to the truck or call in to communicate, but you are free to be away from your truck in the meantime.
On the Horizon
Some exciting capabilities are being developed for later phases of the Transflo app that will help make your job even easier. With the Transflo, app, two-way communication is just around the corner. Soon, you will be able to not only read those messages going to your truck but reply to them as well. No one wants to deal with accident or cargo claims reports, but the ability to fill them out and immediately send images directly to those who need them means you can get the help you need faster than ever before.
In addition, special reporting features for trainers, mentors, and students will be developed to further round out the Transflo app’s capabilities. (Due to the sensitive nature of some features, such as driver payroll or scorecard information, these are not included in any development plans, though they may be considered in the future.)
No Driver Left Behind
What about drivers who are not tech savvy? They won’t be left out. We’ve installed and tested the Transflo app on a couple of different phones and, if you have a smartphone, you’ll be able to set it up in just a few steps. Once you set up the Transflo app, just scroll to the app, take the picture, and send it. Drivers without smartphones can simply pull into a truck stop and scan the picture.
The system is secure: When drivers sign up for the Transflo app, they must log in with their password, which validates against the information in PAM Transportation’s systems. However, keeping your phone secure from prying eyes, sticky fingers, and damage has never been more important. Remember, much personal and professional information either resides on or is accessed by phones and should be protected accordingly.
If you haven’t done so already, buy the most rugged phone case available — one that protects not only the body but also the screen. Also, take advantage of your phone’s screen-lock feature and use a numeric code for unlocking it. Using fingerprint authorization is the most secure method of ensuring privacy, but it’s inconvenient if someone else needs to access the phone. And following experts’ recommendations that you have different usernames and passwords for each personal account can make tech devices difficult to manage.
Luckily, several applications both generate and store passwords for different accounts, and most offer backup services so that your information can be retrieved if your phone is lost, stolen, or destroyed. Simply pick a master password for the vault application and never use it for anything else.
Keeping up with changes in technology takes a little effort, but the results can pay dividends when it comes to simplifying your life on the road. If you have any questions about the Transflo app, please first check with your driver manager. If you need additional assistance, contact the support department for Pegasus TransTech, creator of the Transflo app, at 813-386-2327, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.