How to build world-class delivery operations
Expectations around delivery are at an all-time high. Slick experiences led by online retailers like Amazon have revolutionised what customers expect to such an extent that a poor delivery process could affect your reputation, customer retention and perhaps even your bottom line.
In many ways the process for delivering goods has become one of the most important factors in any operation. Organisations that understand this and give it the treatment it deserves will enjoy the results just as much as their customers do, thanks to efficiency gains picked up along the way.
But meeting the challenge isn’t easy. Customers demand seamless experiences and want deliveries made where and when is best for them, rather than for you.
However, it’s not all bad news. Innovative strategies backed by the latest technology can bridge the gap and help businesses become more agile, more efficient and better equipped to match the pace of change.
Here’s five critical steps that any business must consider to stay ahead of the pack.
If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail. It’s an old saying but it’s true, especially in the world of logistics.
Businesses need to react to new orders rapidly if they are to meet the demands of their customers. In the delivery process, this means having a central system that holds all orders so that tasks, like route planning, can be optimised as soon as possible.
In addition to a centralised system, staff should be equipped with mobile devices capable of scanning items so that the central system can track deliveries and provide updates to the customer.
These final updates form part of the ‘last mile’ of delivery which is so crucial for ensuring customer satisfaction and avoiding any last-minute delays. But it can only be achieved if the initial planning stage is robust and effective.
At every step of the delivery process you must consider efficiency and marginal gains. Improving several processes by even 1% can make a huge difference when the looking at the big picture.
With deliveries, there’s many points where the latest technology can help to make a difference to the time taken to perform tasks, while adding benefits like item tracking, map updates, customer alerts and more.
Key to this is real-time data. Gathering data from warehouse to delivery point and everywhere in between helps managers to optimise processes and routes and also make informed decisions in case anything goes awry. In time, the data gathered may also help to predict issues like traffic or peak periods.
Technology can also help with proof of delivery. Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) is simple when drivers are using mobile device capable of obtaining digital proof from a customer to show that goods or services have been delivered. These same devices help with task management, route planning, vehicle checks and more to keep the delivery process running smoothly.
Get a good view
As the first steps have hinted, improving visibility is crucial. Not just for managers, but for customers too who expect to be updated every step of the way.
Unhappy customers demanding an update on their delivery is a sure-fire way to cause panic and confusion, and potentially impact other deliveries and staff as drivers scramble for updates.
Visibility over item and driver location removes this confusion and allows customers to track their own delivery without needing to contact you, creating a transparent environment where everyone knows their role and the customer stays informed and relaxed.
Improving the experience to secure loyalty
One of the key drivers for investing in technology to make a delivery process more effective is to provide a better experience for customers.
If you treat every delivery and every customer as the same, then it’s likely you’re going to fall behind. What’s required is a customer-centric mindset so that you give your customers what they want.
And it’s not just for show. Improving customer experience leads to increased loyalty and upselling opportunities.
By making your customers’ priorities your own priorities and offering custom delivery options you’re also securing your own future.
Investing in new technology may sound expensive. In reality, the gains you make and the visibility you achieve to see where cuts can be made elsewhere will go towards making up for any initial outlay.
For example, some businesses become so efficient with order processing they are able to rent out warehouse space. Others find that they are spending less on fuel and service for vehicles because route optimisation has cut mileage down.
By pushing the boundaries of speed and flexibility, businesses are giving themselves options in other areas to continue driving efficiency within their business.
The delivery process represents an opportunity to stand out in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace. Those who invest in new technology and optimised strategies will be well placed to meet the needs of consumers today and in the future.
TouchStar’s PODStar has been developed as a scalable electronic EPOD solution for any size of business from SMEs to major blue-chip organisations. Whether you have one vehicle or thousands, PODStar will ensure you optimise your work scheduling, reduce fuel costs and improve customer service levels without adding extra complexity.
Why choose TouchStar
TouchStar’s PODStar solution offers tangible and immediate benefits to your operation, including
- Improved cash flow through faster invoicing
- Rapid ROI through improvements in workforce productivity
- Paperless and automated system reducing error rates
- Save time and money wasted in the search for lost POD paperwork
- Optimised delivery performance resulting in enhanced customer satisfaction
- Fuel reduction and improved carbon footprint through efficient routing
- Quickly view productivity by individual resource or vehicle, enabling you to determine sources of profit or loss
- Enhanced safety of drivers and the general public through automated vehicle reminders and checks.
TouchStar occupies a unique position as a supplier of EPOD and tracking solutions to the fleet sector, being a system integrator, hardware manufacturer and software development house. If you already have core system components in place, TouchStar can work with you to examine how to optimise or extend these, in order to accrue additional operational and business benefits.
If you’d like to find out more about PODstar, visit our website or contact the team today.