01 June 2022
How does Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) work?
What is an electronic proof of delivery?
Electronic proof of delivery also referred to as EPOD, is a
digitalized version of delivery notes which is a document that confirms completed
deliveries for businesses and customers. The EPOD software enables those making
the deliveries to capture real-time data which confirms their successful, or
By replacing the traditional paperwork, digital proof of
delivery systems saves time, improves operational efficiencies and give workers
in the field higher levels of flexibility. It also gives personnel in the
office real-time data on delivery statuses and control over the activities.
The capabilities of each EPOD system will depend on the
software but can include electronic signatures, route planning, delivery images
and vehicle inspections. Some software can also be tailored to your business to
ensure your operational needs are fully met by introducing a new system.
How does EPOD work?
An EPOD software works by connecting personnel on the road
and in the office, and consists of two main components:
- A mobile application that is used by those in
the field to collect delivery information
- A web-based dashboard that is used by office staff
to manage, modify and monitor data.
The two components work together to create an effective
workflow and communication line between the office and field staff as the
mobile app transmits data collected in the field to the back office. It also
enables drivers to collect proof of delivery in real-time and also access any
additional information they may need en-route.
What can be achieved with EPOD software?
Although the initial job of EPOD is to obtain an electronic
signature or photo of a successful delivery, many solutions, including PODStar,
offer a more integrated approach which is triggered by the delivery. This helps
to guarantee a streamlined operation throughout the delivery process and makes
the most of the system, rather than simply using it as a signature collection
Once a signature has been obtained, the data is sent in
real-time to the back office system which then allows the invoicing of a
delivery to be reconciled and sent to the customer in a more efficient manner. The
invoices or supplier payments can also be sent electronically from the same
system, ensuring consistency and helping to improve cash flow.
Job planning & scheduling
To ensure a more efficient route is taken by drivers,
planning and scheduling tools are key to delivery operations. They help to
order deliveries in a logical and useful way automatically, with manual
override where needed.
Route planning & optimisation
Once jobs have been ordered, they need to be effectively
assigned to routes and drivers in a streamlined way, ensuring a delivery can be
completed in a set time frame and a vehicle has the package capacity. Using
EPOD systems, this can be done automatically with manual checks and sent to
drivers in real-time and shown on a maps systems for directions. This allows
for updates to routes where needed (such as for unexpected traffic), making
sure the route remains efficient throughout the day.
Vehicle & driver tracking
From the back office, staff can track their drivers and
vehicles using the EPOD system and can track their speed and location. This is
a helpful tool when needing to check a driver's status and where they currently
are on their route. The data is also fed into a driver profile so all
information is kept in one place which reduces the need for different systems.
As with many businesses, PODStar believes that the safety of
drivers and customers is paramount. To help make sure compliance, reminders can
be sent to drivers for MOTs, tax, insurance and services to ensure these key
safety elements are kept on top of and adhered to. The EPOD app also integrates
vehicle checks within the app so drivers can keep real-time logs of any
inspections and issues they find.
Through the EPOD app, drivers are also able to log
timesheets, holiday requests and expenses. Not only does this reduce the
paperwork needed, but it also reduces the time spent on administration tasks by
both office staff and drivers. In addition, the information is fed into the
back end system for planning and scheduling deliveries, updating when drivers
are unable to work on their requested holiday.
An effective EPOD system not only ensures a range of
real-time data is collected from deliveries, but also that reports can be
generated on the performance of the deliveries and their drivers. It’s possible
to see if a particular area causes delays due to ongoing roadworks or if a
driver isn’t hitting their time markers as they should. This integrated
approach makes it easy for any business to understand the benefits that the
EPOD system is bringing to their operations.
What are the benefits of using EPOD?
There are many benefits to both a
business and its customers when implementing an electronic proof of the delivery
system. One of the biggest benefits is improving the operational efficiency of
the business by increasing productivity. Part of this is the reduction in
paperwork for both field staff and office staff which saves time in the filling
out of forms and the search for any missing paperwork.
Another part of the
efficiencies introduced by EPOD software is the scheduling and optimising of
routes to ensure drivers are effectively using their time and fuel to make all
the deliveries needed.
EPOD systems also offer a better service to customers
through a smoother delivery, with no paperwork, plus customers can receive
real-time information on their delivery such as a delivery time or how long
until they will receive their parcel. If a delivery is missed, a customer can
also receive an image of the safely stored items so it's easier to find. From
both the business and customers' perspectives, it can also lead to fewer
customer disputes as there is a digital copy of all their delivery information
which can be shared if there is an issue.
Find out more
Introducing an EPOD system can be incredibly beneficial to a
company and its staff by streamlining operations and improving efficiencies
across the business processes. Here at TouchStar, we have used our many years
of experience to develop PODStar, an adaptable electronic proof of delivery
solution for any business in any sector to improve customer service, reduce
paperwork and increase real-time data. Get in touch with our expert team
to find out more.