ExecTones is going to start a new series which will cover the best business applications for iPhone, Android, and the Blackberry. Our focus will be on applications that make running a business or process easier, cheaper, and more reliable. The first topic will be shipping and logistics applications for the iPhone.
We will cover apps from the top three shippers as well as a recommended application which can track packages on almost any shipper. USPS, FedEx, and UPS each have their own applications that they release and support. DHL’s lack of an app was surprisingly missing in this collection but can be overcome by using an application that works across all shippers.
The USPS app for the iPhone and iPod touch gives you access to the following features: Tracking & Confirming packages, finding USPS locations, finding collection boxes, zip code lookup, find automated postal centers, and price estimations for shipments. The application is clean, easy to use, and supports the GPS feature in your phone to make finding locations fairly quick. There application has been updated to support all of their new flat rate shipment options.
This application also allows you to track shipments and get price estimations but they have added additional features that the USPS application doesn’t have that we think are important to a business. They actually allow you to create shipping labels and have them emailed to you along with the ability to schedule pickups. Being able to do all of this from your phone without the need for a computer certainly opens up quite a few opportunities for how and where you can work on logistics in your business. The only drawback to this application is the requirement to login/register prior to using any of the features. This is fine for the avid shipper but will become annoying for a casual or home user who just wants to track a package.
Much like the other applications the UPS application for the iPhone allows you to track, ship, get price quotes, and find near by locations of drop boxes and shipping centers. This application has the best tracking interface due to its design which makes it easy to see the status of many packages at once. The UPS app also allows you to give your shipments a nickname so that you can reference a package by something other than a 20 digit number. One key feature that we liked about this app was the ability to use your UPS address book. Any common shipping addresses that are in your UPS.com account are pulled down in to this app. A critical time saver that the other apps don’t have.
Track Packages: $0.99
If you are more interested in shipping than tracking then choose one of the three applications above and integrate it in to your workflow. If tracking is your primary use case then we recommend that you use an application like Track Packages because it supports tracking on all carriers. They have an easy to use interface, the ability to give nicknames to the packages, and a quick dial option to go directly to the support line of the major carriers if something goes wrong. The only feature missing from this application which is in others is the ability to scan the bar code of a package.
As always ExecTones will be here to provide you with the critical tips, tricks, and technologies to make running your business easier. If you haven’t already please look at our collection of Business Professional Ringtones for all major phones including your in office land line.