Having visibility across the supply chain, from the depot all the way through to the customer’s door, is fast becoming a must-have for many transport operations.
Increasingly, there are demands on transport operators and sub-contractors to provide proof of customer collections.
We are also seeing more complexity at the point of delivery with companies in many sectors, particularly home delivery, offering additional services such as installation and recycling of old appliances or furniture.
To support these requirements, electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD) has become much more than just signing on a PDA or Smartphone for a delivery; in just the same way that a PDA or Smartphone can achieve so much more than just Proof of Delivery.
ePOD supports transport operations in providing a positive customer experience throughout their order lifecycle fulfilment. From proactive emails or SMS messages informing customers of intended and estimated delivery times, through to the experience of receiving and confirming their receipt of goods, and the electronic delivery of completed invoice or delivery documentation; ePOD solutions help ensure a seamless and timely experience.
These experiences are often some of the most important interactions a brand can have with its customers – so they must be smooth, effective and above all, in keeping with the promises made to customers at the point of sale.
A Variety of Delivery Options
Hardware is always an important consideration. Should you opt for a ruggedised tablet, Enterprise Digital Assistants (EDAs) with full smartphone capability along with 1D and 2D barcode scanning, or simply ask your staff or subcontractor to bring their own device (BYOD) with access to applications downloaded from Google Play or the Apple App Store?
At Microlise we have launched our DriveTAB and SmartPOD products and have seen significant and continued growth in our own fully managed DriveTAB 7″ ruggedized tablet offering, EDAs from Zebra and BYOD Smartphone applications.
The Microlise ePOD solution incorporates API’s, back office features and a mobile driver application running on Android or Windows Mobile. Highly configurable, customers can define workflows and business rule triggers to support the management of the collection or delivery lifecycle.
This enables users to gain early insight into predicted or actual delivery problems such as punctuality or delivery conformance. This provides an opportunity for customer service colleagues to resolve issues immediately, again supporting a great customer experience. Any re-deliveries or schedule changes can be communicated in real-time to drivers removing lost time on phone calls. Any value added services can also be captured by the driver prior to getting that still important signature.
Making Drivers’ Lives Easier & Safer
Device GPS provides accurate “doorstep” arrival information and having an in-built Sat Nav removes much of the pressure on finding new locations.
Drive Safe ensures drivers are not tempted to interact with the device whilst on the road. It achieves this by locking the application whilst the vehicle is in motion. Sat Nav will still be displayed and any urgent messages or updates can provide an audible warning, however drivers are required to stop before reading or reviewing any updates.
Pre-notification preferences from the customer means email and / or SMS correspondences can be sent when the driver is a preferred duration away from the delivery location, reducing the incidents of phone calls to contact centres to trace delivery information.
Through API’s the Microlise solution also connects with customers own e-Commerce or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms for onward communication to customers ensuring consistent branding and customer engagements.
Near real-time communication of delivery outcome also enables stock and invoice management to be updated efficiently.
A Flexible Model
Microlise SmartPOD adds further flexibility to operators by allowing the sub-contraction of work to hauliers who can then use the Google Play app on a pay-as-you-go basis to provide a consistent level of service delivery to the end customer.
Having an effective ePOD solution in place improves delivery accuracy, reduces paperwork, administration and management overhead whilst enhancing customer service and driver comms. It’s deliverable on various hardware platforms, allowing for a variety of usage models and it improves safety and ease for drivers.
The resultis reduced returns, improved task management and full third party traceability. With competition and thin margins this can become one of the most valuable operational tools available to deliver on customer promises and meet expectations, whilst achieving a fast return on investment.