date27 October 2020

Electronic proof of delivery for industrial parts distribution

A vast range of sectors rely on industrial parts distribution to keep them going. From automotive to engineering, construction to manufacturing, countless operations depend on the ability to procure the right industrial parts whenever they need them. Therefore, speed of service, efficiency and reliability are top priorities for industrial parts distributors. These businesses need a mobile digital infrastructure to truly succeed in these areas, including electronic proof of delivery (EPOD), automated route planning, real-time delivery visibility and more.

An EPOD system offers numerous benefits for industrial parts distributors, as we explore here.

Rapid dispatch and delivery  

To compete in the industrial parts distribution sector, businesses have to fulfil and ship orders quickly. Fast-moving industries need the right parts at the right time to keep meeting demand for their own products and services, so whether it’s a regular shipment of top up stock or an emergency replacement part for a broken machine, time is always of the essence for distributors. Their customers cannot afford downtime due to a lack of essential  parts.

Distribution companies can aim to achieve the shortest possible time-frame from parts order to delivery with an EPOD system, such as PODstar. As well as providing the functionality to capture verifiable, instantly-transmitted proof of delivery via a connected mobile device, PODstar features automated job scheduling and route planning applications that take the guesswork out of assigning the quickest journeys.

Fleet managers need only input the deliveries required each day and the system automatically calculates the most efficient routes for each driver, even learning from historic route intelligence over time for further route optimisation. Then, when drivers are on the road, PODstar’s vehicle tracking kicks in, showing teams back at base a live GPS map with each driver’s location. This enables driver and HQ to work together to avoid anything that could delay the delivery, such as an accident or traffic jam.

SLA customisation

Fast delivery is so crucial to industrial parts distribution, many businesses offer their customers service level agreements (SLAs) guaranteeing order fulfilment within a certain window. However, when a distributor has a different SLA with every customer, keeping on top of delivery requirements from client to client can become complex and time-consuming.

PODstar takes the headache out of managing individual SLAs by enabling fleet managers to add agreed time windows to deliveries for these customers, visible to both drivers on their mobile device and teams back at base. If the system’s GPS tracking software senses that the driver is running late for a delivery with an SLA, the screens each end will flash red and the system will automatically send an email or text to inform the customer. 

Even when there’s no SLA in place, customers can keep themselves informed through a configurable customer portal. This allows customers to see job progress and track deliveries themselves, as well as to place orders and view previous order PODs.

Vehicle loading management

While it’s vital industrial parts reach their recipients quickly, it’s also crucial they arrive in one piece. Distributors may have to ship extremely sophisticated and high-value components, so allowing these to sustain any damage during transit is simply not an option. The state in which industrial parts are delivered has a lot to do with the way they are loaded into a vehicle, especially when a driver is set to make multiple drops during a shift.

PODstar can help by providing clear visibility on vehicle loading capacities, set by weight, volume or value, and flagging when there’s danger of over or under-loading. It’s a useful tool that helps industrial parts distributors ensure orders arrive in perfect condition.

With the right EPOD solution in place, distributors of industrial parts can make significant efficiency savings across their operations.