Amtrak goes mobile
June 4, 2012
Amtrak recently launched a new program designed to improve customer convenience. The government agency is now allowing riders to download eTickets to their mobile devices.
Riders can purchase tickets online and download the receipt onto their smartphone. Conductors have been trained to scan the tickets from the mobile device, making the entire transaction paperless. The move is expected to provide a high level of convenience for the customer who will no longer have to worry about keeping track of paper tickers.
This is just the latest effort by the U.S. government to increase efficiency among its programs by going digital. In April, the federal government announced that it would stop sending checks for benefits programs, like Social Security, pensions and disability. The move is expected to prevent $120 million in waste, as payments are made electronically. In 2010, more than 500,000 benefit checks were reported lost or stolen.
Ninety percent of the government's benefit payments were already made electronically. The decision to go paperless should help improve efficiency among government agencies. Companies are increasing their ability to go paperless as well. New technologies like mobile phones and tablets make it easy for customers to keep track of receipts and order forms.
Companies that improve their online purchasing system can also see increased efficiency in their transactions. Electronic procurement can increase the flexibility of an organization by empowering front-line employees to make critical purchases when they see fit. Drivers can purchase fuel and administrators can order office supplies without having to seek reimbursements from the company. This reduces the need for checks and balances on spending, allowing the firm to dedicate those resources to other areas.
The electronic data collected through these purchases could provide organizations with the information needed to reduce unnecessary expenses. Large companies or government agencies face the problem of having departments and facilities spread out over multiple cities and regions. Often this means that there are different procedures for procuring material. An effective online purchasing system can identify areas for additional savings, reducing overlap and redundancy.
Whether it is creating eTickets for a better customer experience or streamlining payments online, purchasing systems can give organizations the speed and flexibility to improve daily operations. Technology has made paperless offices a possibility and consumers continue to demand quick electronic purchases. Building a secure online purchasing system can let businesses and government agencies take advantage of those trends.