06 January 2020
The benefits of introducing photography to your POD
Every e-Commerce business has its peak times of year be it
Mothering Sunday, Easter or Christmas. Offering free delivery, or same day /
next day delivery service to guarantee items make it to customers on time has
become a differentiator and value-added service.
However, recent press stories suggest that people are being
let down by delivery companies and there is room for improvement. For example,
research by Which? suggests that at least one order will go wrong for someone
over the Christmas period. Gifts not arriving or being left in unsafe ‘safe’
places are high up on the list the gripes.
In the grand scheme of things, one order going wrong may not
sound like a lot. But the time to remedy it, not to mention the resulting brand
damage, can add up financially and cost delivery companies time they haven’t
However, with the right technology and processes in place
it’s possible to avoid these sorts of costly mistakes during peak times.
For many couriers a big question is how do you prove you
left the goods where instructed? Indeed, how can you prove you were at an
address at all? The practicalities are tricky to manage.
It’s not viable to ask your drivers to take photos with
their mobile phones. For one, you would have potentially dozens of images an
hour coming into the office. This would add up to a big distraction to the
critical job of route scheduling and management.
Secondly, it’s not something drivers will necessarily want
to sign up to – hundreds of images of front doors on their phone isn’t an ideal
And finally, you would be hard pushed to work out which
image was associated to which order, never mind be able to store them in a
structured way so they are easy to find and refer to if the need arises.
That’s where technology can help.
Most people are now
familiar with the concept of signing for the receipt of goods. It’s a simple
process for the customer, using a smart device, on to which they sign their signature.
The software knows which signatures are associated to which
orders, and can update the back office systems. This makes it easy to recall
them using an order number or surname / address as needed. In the same way, a
barcode on the item can be scanned on delivery.
This confirmation is also an ideal way to feed into the
control centre’s dashboard so the team back at base can see how well the
delivery schedule is going and if new schedules are needed in the instance
where additional attempts are necessary.
Real time data capture can also help with cash flow as a
completed delivery is a trigger to invoice the client.
But the possibilities with a smart device don’t end with a
signature and bar code. In instances where people have nominated a safe place,
it’s now possible to take an image of the item in situ using the same device
and link it to the order in the same way.
The beauty of this is that everything is in one place. One
order has a set of events associated to it, which are easy to view. Photographs
can even be sent to the customer as proof that while they were out the delivery
was made as instructed ie to a porch or a garage. This will be a game changer for delivery companies. They can
reassure customers that they are following the instructions they gave them.
But more than that it demonstrates to the customer that
drivers take responsibility for how an item is delivered, and its safety. It’s
not left in a place that’s putting it in harms way or exposed to the open
elements. It builds trust in not only your brand, but the company the goods are
from. That’s a boon for delivery companies wanting to bid for
contracts at this time of year. Being able to show you are an extension of a
retailer’s values in terms of how they treat customers is really important
If your retail brand stands for exceptional service then you
want to know it happens to a high standard at every customer touch point
including the delivery.
And even if a customer isn’t in to take a delivery you
want to know that you can offer reassurance the goods are being looked after as
they’d expect, either at a neighbour’s, in a safe place or back at the depot.
Other benefits of using PODStar
As well as
collecting evidence of delivery, TouchStar’s solution can also be used for job
scheduling and planning, integrating seamlessly with back office systems so
jobs can be allocated according to driver availability.
PODStar uses real time job information, so you can also drag and drop
the jobs on the manifest on to the relevant vehicles and, using built-in
checks, make sure you are not overloading the vehicle. This can also be aligned
with initiatives to save money such as fuel consumption by optimising routes,
and tracking drivers to ensure things are all going smoothly, or alter routes
if there are traffic problems.