Part two: On Time Delivery and Quality of Experience
So why the bad experience? The market has expanded dramatically over the past decade, but vast majority of parcel companies are still using the same dated technology and paper based processes that were introduced in the early 2000's.
Can it really be efficient and smart to have each individual driver manually map out his own route each morning; make his assessment of the best way to deliver all of these 'brand crucial' deliveries to many different locations; then attempt to match his preferred delivery path with the arrival time expectations of the end consumer?
The entire process is time consuming, inefficient, prone to error and provides the business with no way of measuring or guaranteeing performance. And it is all paper based.
Despite an investment in handheld devices to record customer signatures and the availability of an excellent 3G network organisations and drivers are still heavily reliant on paper. No wonder the quality of customer experience is so often poor; and the percentage of perfect deliveries far below even acceptable practice.
Given the quality of the wireless infrastructure available there is no excuse for this level of apathy. Organisations may balk at the cost of investment but not only are drivers routinely wasting up to one hour out of every working day simply getting in and out of the depot, but brand reliance on the quality of service to reinforce rather than undermine reputation is about to seriously fragment the market.
Those parcel delivery companies who recognise that delivering a higher quality experience, who can offer reliable delivery slots with exceptional, transparent communication,and who can track the entire process seamlessly are set to steal a march on the competition.
Accuracy and traceability at every stage of the supply chain are essential – from validating the initial arrival of goods all the way through to capturing not only the name & signature of the individual that received the goods; but also a picture and a timed GPS co-ordinate to provide full proof of delivery.
With full confidence the right goods have been received and processed at each point in the chain and are on the right vehicles at the start of the day, it is a simple process to inform the end customer accordingly of expected delivery times.
Operational efficiency and effectiveness is not only a delight for the parcel delivery company, it is a blessing for the end customer, and therefore becomes a USP for the brand.
This desired level of performance is a world away from the quality of experience currently encountered in the market. Yet with Internet sales increasingly dominating revenue, the brand decision as to which third party delivery company to use is becoming business critical. Those companies that can make the path between brand and customer as smooth as possible, deliver best practice and upwards of 99.99% perfect order deliveries will reap the rewards of a vastly more efficient and effective organisation.
Parcel companies are doing far more than just delivering a parcel; they are representing the brands that are paying for the delivery service. Poor service will damage those brands and brands will go elsewhere. It is time for management to top shirking responsibility and passing the buck to the drivers. Parcel companies of every size need to proactively take control over the last and every, mile of delivery.
Article by Airclic CTO, Pol Sweeney.