PODs, Print on Demand Temporary Vehicle Tag Service
In December 2009, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) implemented the Print on Demand Temporary Tag Program. Designed to replace the costly process of printing, distributing and warehousing cardboard temporary tags and to improve law enforcement capability with real time data, the program allows dealerships to electronically create and print 30-day temporary tags at the point of sale.
DMV initially chose three vendors to provide the automated service. Dealerships wishing to issue temporary tags were required to choose a vendor by May 1, 2011 when DMV would discontinue printing cardboard tags. Recognizing the lengthy roll-out period and the need for a no cost solution for dealerships that did not wish to procure bundled vendor solutions, DMV chose Virginia Interactive (VI) to provide a free web-based solution requiring only an internet connection and a laser printer. The result is an innovative online service that is able to enroll dealers quickly and solved many unique problems for three primary audiences, the agency, dealerships, and law enforcement.
With the cardboard red tags, the issuing process required a training component and relied heavily on manual efforts resulting in the slow collection of poor and relatively inaccessible data.
Previously, dealers were required to purchased and stock red tags prior to ever selling a vehicle. This was not only costly but presented a significant security risk. The blank red tags are a valuable black market commodity and have been attributed as the primary reason for dealership break-ins and robberies. Also, since the tags had to be hand written and logged, it was very cumbersome and time consuming for the dealers to reconcile with the DMV. Illegible hand writing often made it impossible.
Virginia Interactive's revolutionary Print on Demand service ("PODs") is a fully self-service solution that allows qualified dealers to electronically generate temporary vehicle registration tags and transfer tags at the point of sale. The tags are designed to be printed using special durable tag stock, provided by DMV, and mounted directly onto a vehicle. Vehicle and customer information is automatically exchanged with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in real time.The size of standard vehicle and motorcycle license plates, the tags feature a unique number and easy-to-read text allowing quick identification from a safe distance by law enforcement.
The PODs system is a web-based application that communicates with DMV via web service. When a dealer enters the customer and vehicle information, PODs validates the information against DMV's database. When the user submits the tag request, the DMV web service then issues a unique tag number returning it to the PODs system where the tag is generated for printing using a .PDF file format.
The web based PODs system requires no special equipment, needing only a web browser, internet connectivity, and a printer. No software installation is required. The system is designed so that dealers can use any existing PCs and laser printers they may already have and use for other purposes.
PODs provides a multitude of benefits not only to DMV but to dealerships and law enforcement as well. Furthermore, PODs became a successful model for other states including West Virginia and Maryland that have since implement similar print on demand systems.
Benefits to DMV:
- Cost and Efficiency Gains - eliminates printing and distribution costs for red tags, and manpower and physical resources needed for managing the old processes are reallocated to more beneficial tasks
- Improved customer service and dealer relations with the availability of real time data and simplified revenue collection
- Simpler Revenue Collection - VI collects and submits fees to DMV with a single electronic transfer monthly on behalf of all of its dealer customers
- Improved Audit Capabilities - with customizable reports available as needed, DMV can see at a glance the transaction activity for any given period
- Quicker Response Times to Law Enforcement Inquires
- Increased Data Accuracy - reduces issues due to sloppy handwriting and inaccurate data entry
- Reduced Dealership Robberies by eliminating inventories of red tags, the number one reason for dealership break-ins.
- No Upfront Costs - with a "pay as you go" approach, dealers do not need to purchase large quantities of cardboard tags in advance of vehicle sales.
- Added Convenience - dealers no longer have to travel to DMV's Customer Service Centers to manually reconcile their log books
- Enhanced Access to Real Time Data - reduces investigational time from days to minutes by eliminating manual steps required by the cardboard red tag process
- Less Risk - tags can be inspected and verified from a safe distance
- Improved Legibility - automated tag printing vs. handwritten tags
Over 1,500 registered dealers issue on average over 115,000 temporary registration tags annually.