Delivery: high standards – smart IT solutions
How to connect everyone perfectly
The logistics chain ends with the delivery – a step of tremendous economic importance for carriers and freight forwarders: They can only bill for their services if the goods are delivered correctly. Returns extend the transport process past the delivery.
Lorry drivers are the focal point of every transport – and the only people to visit the customer’s site during delivery. However, dispatchers and accountants have significant responsibilities of their own in processing transport orders, too. That’s why logistics companies have to support everyone as much as possible if they want to achieve the best possible outcome. That also means integrating returns into information flows, for example. Logistics managers have to lay the right groundwork to ensure the transport process is smooth and efficient right up to the billing stage. This includes:
- Drivers have all the data needed for delivery.
- Drivers can follow a pre-structured process.
- All the other stakeholders can also track the drivers’ progress based on factors such as current location, estimated time of arrival or proof of delivery (POD).
- Customers also receive current information about shipment progress and arrival.
Managers at freight forwarders, carriers and transport companies thus face a critical question:
“How do you manage the delivery process effectively and give everyone the data they need?”
Connected by mobile workflows
In the past, this question was answered by giving drivers printed cargo manifests and trip plans with destination addresses and contact details. Once mobile phones became mainstream, they could be used to share information by phone. Today, mobile workflow management software has vastly simplified the delivery process. It manages and connects everyone involved in the process and provides data in real time, such as:
- Precise information about the delivery address, route, cargo list
- Instructions for handling the goods
- Information about full-lorry-load and less-than-lorry-load shipments
- Authorised unloading points
- Clear instructions for contactless delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic
As with all connected IT systems, the quality of the data captured is crucial. Addresses and contact details must be correct. A high-quality app will show drivers relevant information – and nothing else – straight from the order: from the delivery address to the phone number for calling ahead. An efficient software solution will also offer the option of generating photo documentation and the POD and then transferring this information in real time – a particularly important consideration since prompt billing improves cash flow.
There are two other key criteria to consider when choosing mobile workflow management software:
- Process tasks can be easily assigned using drag and drop functionality right in the driver app.
- Drivers can use the app intuitively on their mobile device.
Drivers have to find the fastest congestion-free route to the destination with their cargo. That generally involves navigation systems. However, manually entering the destination address is time-consuming and error prone. It makes more sense for the software to automatically populate the navigation system with the address. This setup is particularly user-friendly if drivers can use whatever navigation app they may prefer, regardless of the app’s vendor.
POD – a licence to bill
Modern workflow management software is expected to support real-time proof of delivery (POD). The all-important POD is provided as soon as the recipient signs in the app. During the coronavirus pandemic, goods have to be delivered without personal contact. In these cases, the POD can be obtained through photo documentation and GPS coordinates. It can then be uploaded so downstream steps – billing, etc. – can be taken. Returns can be entered right at the consignee’s location so that the freight forwarder’s staff can start preparing for the return shipment.
Pallet exchanges are another issue. To ensure clarity and process reliability, the app should specifically tell drivers what pallets to drop off and let them enter the pallets received in exchange. Also, the quality of exchanged pallets, mesh boxes etc. can be recorded if drivers document their condition with photos.
IT support pays dividends
High-performance mobile workflow management software connects drivers, back office personnel and logistics managers and provides real-time visibility into goods and vehicles. It makes drivers’ jobs much easier and enables them to focus on their actual duties: driving. Customers can track the status of their shipment. Companies, for their part, benefit from improved quality assurance and real-time POD availability. This makes mobile workflow management software the ideal tool for making deliveries secure, efficient and transparent.
How have you organised deliveries?