6 Big Challenges to Distribution Operations Efficiency

| Transportation & Logistics

Truck on a Highway Delivery Driver

Distribution operations play a vital role in the success of any supply chain. However, various challenges inevitably arise throughout the complex process.

Here – after speaking to our own clients – we reveal the six significant challenges for delivery operations that are impacting efficiency, speed, and accuracy.

By understanding them, you can better prioritize specific improvements that will help streamline your operations

And for some solutions, there’s our comprehensive guide that reveals some innovative ways to get around these problems.

1. Avoiding Truck Loading Delays

Truckloading Delivery Driver

Truck-loading delays are an enemy of efficient delivery operations. If loading is done efficiently, the positive impact will be felt further down the line.

Warehouse organization, staffing levels, equipment, and inefficient or incorrect loading techniques can all impact loading.

Other issues include waiting for the goods to arrive or especially heavy items can also cause delays.

Solution: Use MatrixScan AR for an efficient pre sort and to reduce loading errors when comparing stacked deliveries against the delivery list. MatrixScan enables the smart device application to scan multiple items simultaneously, and with the AR overlay it will allow your driver to load pallets/items depending on the order of stops.

2. Searching and staging

The ability to quickly unload products at the destination is essential for delivery operations. Challenges to overcome include damaged barcodes or even inaccurate documentation can lead to confusion and delays when searching for specific items.

Searching for the right delivery manually can be automated by incorporating smart data capture software into a smart device. This can include augmented reality to highlight the right products on-screen once the barcodes are scanned simultaneously – unavailable on outdated equipment.

Solution: Identifying the right goods for the current customer stop and then arranging them to go to the customer’s warehouse can be tedious and time-consuming. MatrixScan Find allows employees to pick out the right products with a simple scan.

3. Proof of delivery and unloading at the destination

Efficient unloading is often hampered by manual processes, outdated solutions, and documentation issues. In a typical example, the driver has to sort the items inside the truck, load them on a hand truck and scan all the items.

Slow and error-prone processes, outdated technology, and managing damaged or inaccurate documentation can all hinder this workflow. It can result in congestion at the loading dock, capacity issues, or a lack of resources to unload the truck.
Obtaining proof of delivery (POD) at the destination is an unavoidable part of the supply chain process but can be a major cause of delays for drivers.

Minimizing time-consuming paperwork

Typical issues include minimizing time-consuming paperwork and ensuring the reliability of scanning devices. In the latter case, outdated hardware can force employees to resort to manual processes.

Sometimes, it can be a simple case of the right recipient being unavailable at that time. Regarding paperwork, there may be errors or issues with the POD documentation, such as missing signatures and incorrect information.

Solution: Add MatrixScan Count to a smart device app to reduce errors and verify delivery by comparing the goods to unload – staged and stacked on a two-wheeler – against the waybill of the current stop. It can also speed workflow up by 10x – the video below will show how.

4. Stocktaking for inventory management

effective inventory management

The products have been removed from the truck and taken to the designated storage location. Then it is all about receiving the goods – scanning to check against the manifest for mistakes.

At its simplest, this is about accurate counting, a job that is as tedious to the employee as it is important for effective inventory management. As a result, without the right technology, it can be error-prone and time-consuming.
Stocktaking can also disrupt daily operations, leading to delays in fulfilling customer orders and increased waiting times for drivers.

Solution: A driver with an app powered by MatrixScan Count is able to scan multiple items at once. The pre-built UI allows easy on-screen interaction with the items, alerting the user if there is a failed scan.

5. Reordering to avoid stock-outs

In the warehouse, staff members or drivers may need to go through multiple boxes to scan barcodes to record products.

Logistics delays can impact reordering. For example, if there are delays in the delivery of products from suppliers, it can delay the restocking process and even lead to stock-outs.

Reordering also requires accurate data capture to determine the optimal order quantities and reorder points. Inventory management will be hit if this is delayed or inaccurate.

Solution: The driver or employee can use their smart device with SparkScan to handle high-performance scanning at difficult angles or low light, significantly reducing the possibility of a reordering error.

6. Handling returned goods

Return Handling

Inefficient returns handling, which involves the returned goods from customers, can waste resources and impact processes.

Challenges include addressing manual processes, managing incomplete or incorrect return information, and integrating the returns process with other systems.

Returns handling can be time-consuming if the reasons for return need to be investigated, the documentation is inaccurate or there are misidentified items.

Solutions: Drivers or employees can process returns quickly, minimizing delays and challenges associated with inaccurate or incomplete data with MatrixScan. It enables them to scan multiple pallets at once. Or they can use SparkScan for fast, effective single scanning.

Tackle Distribution Challenges Head-On for a More Efficient Supply Chain

By recognizing the six key challenges in distribution operations, you can take the necessary steps to address them and enhance your overall efficiency.

Don’t let these challenges hold you back – go to our in-depth guide that offers solutions to help you overcome these obstacles and optimize your distribution processes.