The pandemic created unprecedented demand for cashless and touchless payments. Companies switched to digital options, drastically reducing checks and cash usage due to the potential risk of contamination. With the transition, a compelling case for why digital payments are the way forward beyond the pandemic materialized.
For the logistics industry, historically heavily reliant on a checks and cash economic system, converting to consumer-like electronic payments similar to Venmo or Paypal was fast-tracked for many out of a necessity to limit exposure to the coronavirus. It also proved to be a revelation of unrealized advantages that will prevail long after the pandemic is over.
Particularly, in the process of paying for unloading the truck trailer – known as the lumper fee – the industry has seen a complete overhaul catapulted by the pandemic and the need for touchless payments to keep essential workers like truck drivers and warehouse staff safe. Traditionally, this process not only involved checks and cash being handed between several people, but the driver would have to enter the warehouse facility to pay for the unloading or “lumping” service of his truck – all with no or little chance to adhere to health guidelines related to COVID.
Moving from paper-based to electronic payments didn’t just keep everyone safe by providing a contactless payment solution, it also improved efficiency, turned warehouse doors more quickly and positively impacted truck driver’s hours of service, saving both time and money across all levels of the process.
When you use an instant, electronic payment solution to pay for a lumper fee, it completely eliminates the need for checks and cash. Moreover, using a certified secure digital payment solution ensures that your data is protected against security challenges like hackers. Look for accredited fintech companies that are SOC 1, SOC 2 and PCI compliant to ensure the highest level of privacy and information security. A digital transaction is also simpler and more convenient and eliminates second guessing amounts and scrambling to get cash.
Taking the security aspect one step further, digital payment adds a new layer of fraud protection, as no cash, money codes or checks are involved in the payment process. Traditionally, this part of the payment process would be characterized by checks and cash exchanging hands or confirming money codes over the phone between unrelated parties.
There was no way of tracking where the money was moving – opening the door for many things to go wrong or misuse to occur. Another security feature of digital payments is that it eliminates the process of sharing credit card details over the phone to your driver or the unloading service, adding more peace of mind for drivers and carriers alike.
No Wasted Time Verifying Express Codes
Dealing with checks and cash and money codes requires verification and approval, often happening at the most inconvenient times of day or night. With a digital payment system, your driver doesn’t need to call to verify the express codes, an amount, or a check number. The payment is instant and the driver can get off the dock quickly and onto their next delivery.
Receipts and Reimbursements
One of the most compelling reasons for implementing a digital payment system is trackable reconciliation. When a carrier or broker hires a lumper service, the driver pays the lumper fee to get the truck unloaded, and the fee is then reimbursable to the driver by the carrier or broker. Too often drivers and carriers are left to absorb the out-of-pocket expense from missed reimbursements. A digital solution means no more lost or missing receipts, providing an instant, digital record of each transaction. This also makes it simpler and faster to get reimbursements from a broker or a shipper because a copy of the receipt is emailed directly, removing the onus from the driver.
Improved Driver Experience
In a world where drivers are becoming a scarce resource for the logistics industry, it’s important to think about how you can improve their experience to help with recruitment and retention. Implementing a digital payment solution significantly saves drivers time at unloading facilities, and takes the onus off them from having to file transaction receipts and paperwork associated with each delivery.
With changes to ELD logging mandates and the constant pressure to maximize drive time, any way you can save drivers time as they move from point A to point B is of the essence. With a digital payment solution, you also make sure that the driver is reimbursed quickly for any out-of-pocket expenses or even remove the pressure altogether of having to pay out of pocket and reconciling the expense – a huge win when it comes to improving the driver’s experience.
The global pandemic may have forced an overnight shift in payment processes, but the industry has realized the potential and evident advantages of an end-to-end electronic payment system. It has also become clear that electronic payments are not only transforming the industry but are helping to future-proof logistics well beyond the pandemic.
Mikkel Hyldebrandt is a marketing content writer at Relay Payments