Thursday, April 03, 2008

BDO tracking software idea

Every airline in the world loses luggage...lots & lots of luggage. Every airline hires a courier company to deliver that luggage to the passengers, once they find it. For each airport they have a different courier company.

Those courier companies hire drivers to do the deliveries. Those drivers must keep track of data from BDO's (Baggage Delivery Order) issued for each delivery.

Most do this on paper, with their manifest sheets, checking off on one side after they turn in a BDO for a completed delivery, and checking the other side once they have been paid for that delivery.

This can be time consuming, tedious work, looking through pages & pages for specific BDO numbers, which are never in any sort of order. Then you have to save the sheets till the next pay period to go back and check off the ones you weren't paid for that show up on the next check.

And if the dispatcher gets a call from an airline complaining about a specific delivery, and that dispatcher starts bugging the driver, that driver has to recall details, digging up old manifests and hunting for that delivery in order to do it.

When I worked at the airport as a dispatcher for one of the courier companies that was hired to handle deliveries for more than 7 different airlines, on pay day my parking lot was full of drivers that spent hours sorting out their manifests and matching BDO numbers for the 2 or more companies they were driving for.

A thought just hit me today: I could make their lives so much easier, especially if they have a laptop in their vehicle.

They could enter the BDO data into software and sort entries by BDO number, date, airline, courier company, etc. A click of a button could change the view to show only unpaid BDO's or ones that weren't turned in for payment yet.

This would be a great way to track all the work they do and cut down on the amount of papers all over their cars & vans.

No more photocopying BDO's at the beginning of every shift. No more misplaced manifests from 3 weeks ago. No more wondering which company you got the BDO from. No more wondering if you got paid for all your deliveries or paid the right amount. No more wondering if you turned them all in for payment.

Now I have done some checking around, and research, and I have not found a single application for the purpose of tracking BDO data. Has nobody ever thought of this before?

Now the data on these BDO's and tracking them is also of use to the courier companies and the airlines. I am pretty sure the airlines have their own software for the purpose, but not all the courier companies do. A great many of the courier companies are living in the dark ages and doing everything with pen & paper still.

I think I would make this software free for the individual drivers to use, but require a commercial license to be purchased by any company that wanted to use it in their offices, for their dispatchers, or other purposes. Knowing that a lot of these companies have some of the tightest budgets, and most are struggling, trying to keep themselves from going bankrupt, I would make it quite affordable for them to purchase a license.

I think it's time for me to call one of my old drivers and see if he can swipe a few blank BDO's from somewhere, for me to work with.