Advanced Solutions provides several solutions for managing truck shipments, that include Bill of ladings and proof of delivery. A common question is what is the difference, when is one appropriate over the other etc. In today’s post I’ll describe them and how they are used and give you a couple of examples.

First let me describe both documents.

Bill of Lading

Bill of Lading

Fig.1 Bill of Lading

A bill of lading is a legal document issued by a carrier to a shipper acknowledging receipt of goods for transport and listing the terms of delivery. (Simplified definition).

Proof Of Delivery

Proof Of Delivery

Fig. 2 Proof Of Delivery

A proof of delivery is a form of verification, typically a signature and captured name of the recipient to confirm that goods have been delivered and received. Most people are familiar with proof of delivery from having to sign for a Fedex or UPS package at home.

Examples of usage

Let’s see how we can use these in typical business processes. When shipping product using a third party agent you will find the need to produce a bill of lading, in some cases for intrastate shipments local carriers may use a receipt for the freight in lieu of a bill of lading but it is more common that a standardized bill of lading is used. A driver is legally responsible for the load they are transporting so they will insist on some documentation to be able to prove that they are legally moving the goods and also details of the goods and destination etc.

When delivering goods to a consignee a bill of lading serves as a proof of delivery.  Upon delivery and inspection the consignee will typically sign the bill of lading confirming the receipt of goods,. The bill of lading can also include any notations of damage or missing freight if any, thus providing a complete paper trail of the shipment.

Proof of delivery can also be used as an independent process. A good example is a company that provides their own local deliveries, (where a third party agent is not used for delivery) may utilize a proof of delivery process that involves a print out or electronic record of deliveries to be made. When goods are delivered to the consignee they sign a delivery receipt, paper or electronic. (Note this process is not possible for interstate deliveries as they are subject to FMCSA regulations requiring Bill of Ladings for all interstate shipments). The signed receipt serves as proof that the delivery has been made and provides a audit trail to the shipper and customer.

Electronic proof of deliveries have been in use for many years, starting with parcel carriers but are increasingly more common in all delivery processes to reduce friction and also can be used to provide customers a self service showing them who signed for a shipment and when it was received providing increasing capability for further workflow automation.

Feel free to leave any questions or comments below, or contact us directly if we can help, we’ll be happy to hear from you.

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