If Steve Jobs where alive today, he would look at the final mile, dray or intermodal delivery process of handing the driver stacks of shuffled unorganized papers and sending the driver off left to his own devices to a location he may never have delivered, keeping no physical record of what really happened, he would scratch his head and say it’s time for disruption.
Final Mile operations rely on the driver, many times not an employee to notify us of arrival and departure times and return the paperwork intact enough to invoice in a reasonable amount of time. Not a day passes by when tensions mount between customer and final mile provider due to lack of visibility of the delivery.
In a digital world where connectivity is available at low cost, this process rooted deeply in the 1960’s looks and IS archaic.
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It stands to reason there is a better digital process available to these drivers and service providers that can increase turns per truck (loads per week), decrease out of route miles, facilitate increased cash flow, increase on time deliveries and enhance the relationship between drivers, management and customers.
The drivers already have devices. Manufacturers have the systems with the order and customer data. In the digital world we live there is a wireless pipeline to these two entities so manufacturers can better serve their customers.
Digitizing the process that connect the logistics-specific back-end systems and utilize native mobile functionality, logistics teams can improve delivery times, ensure safe delivery compliance, and even help manufacturers and retailers speed up order to cash, improve revenue recognition compliance and customer & driver satisfaction.
The paper-laden delivery confirmation process often involves capturing key data and customer signatures, and then handing the paperwork to an admin for processing once the drivers are back at the office. This greatly impacts time to invoice, receiving of cash, revenue recognition compliance, and data quality.
Final delivery can be complicated or delayed by traffic, construction, inefficient dispatching, incorrect addresses, unattended delivery issues, manual signature capture problems, and other factors.
If you add visibility to the last mile of goods transport which decreases out of route miles.
Imagine the world where the driver carries in his device all the documents and instructions needed to carry out his work assignment. When it comes to the last mile delivery processes, there is a paper form for everything: schedules, addresses, travel routes, hazardous materials, delivery confirmation, dispatch orders, bills of lading, invoices and more. The time it takes for drivers to wrangle paper forms and fill them out during the delivery process, increases the amount of time the driver takes to complete the delivery. That can eat into the productivity of the route and increases costs. Digitizing pen-to-paper processes with mobile forms helps solve for this.
When moving international shipments or hazardous materials, there is a host of regulations that drivers must check and report on before departing from the warehouse and during the journey. It’s a very manual process, with stacks of paper to go through and take notes on, which then get entered into a system by admin. Moving this scenario to mobile makes it very easy to use and will save time and data entry. All documents are now digital.
Paper processes associated with addresses, routes, delivery confirmation, etc., slows down delivery. By mobile-enabling paper processes and providing a mobile schedule app drivers can get real-time routing updates with GPS optimization, customers can get up to the minute notifications on expected delivery times, and logistics managers can see where drivers are at and what deliveries have taken place in real-time. This decreases frustrations with synchronizing delivery schedules allowing a decrease in inventories.
Instant and direct communications between the pick-up and delivery personnel and driver facilitate greater efficiency. Dispatchers guess or rely on phone conversations with drivers to assist them in the dispatch process. Seeing these assets in real time allows dispatcher access to more accurate information and who to dispatch, providing a fairer-across the board distribution of loads that are executed every day. This increases driver pay and revenue per truck.
Companies can’t invoice customers until goods have been delivered and signed for. For many manufacturing companies, capturing proof of delivery is paper-based and invoicing is reliant on the time it takes for drivers to get back to home office to deliver the paperwork, and then when an admin inputs the data into the ERP system. This delay impacts time to cash and revenue recognition compliance as well. Mobile-enable this workflow with signature capture and have the signed forms go straight into backend-systems in real-time for immediate billing and revenue recognition compliance.
For customers who manage the delivering of goods to customers, having visibility into where the shipments are and the exact ETAs for their customers can be great competitive advantages.
If the drivers need to carry out deliveries as efficiently as possible is met; they increase their pay and decrease frustration dealing with the stacks of paper they will have a natural increase in job satisfaction and will likely stay in their job. Customers, actually have the same need, arrive on time and notify me what happened. In the race to stay ahead of industry trends, companies must manage customer expectations and place their needs at the top of their agenda, especially when it comes to last mile delivery. Enabling drivers to communicate with customers on delivery scheduling and providing real time updates on delivery times can be a great differentiator and a real customer benefit.
If the process of managing the final mile delivery enhances the relationship with your drivers and customers, wouldn’t the relationship with management and shareholders be enhanced as well?