Dealing with Delivery Demand Fluctuations Post-COVID: BYOD or COPE?

One effect of COVID-19 has been the huge surge in home delivery volumes. For post, parcel and express enterprises, this unplanned shift has forced them to rethink last mile strategies and priorities.

Safety and contactless delivery will remain essential. While scalability and flexibility are also crucial, especially with traditional seasonal peaks looming.

One solution that ticks all of these boxes? Deploying smartphones to employees involved in the last mile – from depot workers to drivers.

See one way smart devices can support safe, contactless deliveries

Smartphones are a great choice for the last mile – but there are more questions

By using familiar, lower-cost smart devices with barcode scanning apps, employees accomplish multiple tasks with speed, efficiency and minimal training. No need for bulky hardware, no need to share devices between staff either.

US same day delivery company Shipt is a great example. They were able to rapidly scale capacity to meet the surge in demand for home delivery, using a scanning-enabled app on smartphones to onboard new staff with speed. Hear them talk about overcoming their COVID-19 challenges in a recent webinar, hosted by Reuters Events – Supply Chain.

While smartphones are a proven, readily-available technology, your desired business goals will influence the right strategy for your mobility programme. For example, you may want to:

  • Reduce the cost of hardware
  • Replace old hardware that is not fit-for-purpose
  • Equip more staff with scanning technology
  • Improve ways of working
  • Improve employee satisfaction

There are various mobility strategies with contrasting strengths and considerations depending on your specific objectives.

BYOD or COPE?

Here we will explore two of the most popular to help you inform your choice, namely:

Bring your own device (BYOD): Employees use their personal device to download and run business apps and corporate scanning software.

Bring your own device (BYOD) benefits

Corporate-owned,personally-enabled (COPE): Employees use a business-owned device for running corporate apps and scanning software. This model is distinct from traditional business-owned devices because personal use is also fully or partially enabled, while some companies offer the option of owning the device after a period of time.

Corporate-owned,personally-enabled (COPE) benefits

Remember, there is no one size fits-all solution

It’s important to understand at the outset that there is no one-fits-all solution and the decision to deploy BYOD or COPE needs to be based on your specific company needs and profile.

It’s also common to adopt a hybrid approach when it comes to mobile deployment and ownership strategies, even across different divisions, employee groups or even processes.

Security used to be a big focus point when it comes to deploying smart devices, but new Mobile Device Management (MDM) or Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) systems like Samsung Knox have revolutionized safety. They are compatible with both iOS and Android and simplify updates – and both BYOD and COPE typically take advantage of them.

So what are the essential considerations to help shape your strategy selection?

How do you plan to meet demand – what is your workforce and hiring strategy?

One factor that influences your decision is whether you leverage crowdsourcing or gig-economy platforms and sub-contractors, or typically prefer to hire fixed, full time employees.

Typically, for hiring external contractors on an on-demand basis a BYOD strategy is a good fit. It makes it easier to deploy, as employees simply need to download an app, while businesses don’t need to stock and ship hardware. For a permanent workforce, COPE works very well as volumes are easier to control. In general, if a company deploys COPE for temporary workers, there is a risk of higher shrinkage and devices get more easily stolen, broken or lost.

Many companies end up having a mix of permanent employees and short-term contractors. In this case a hybrid solution might prove the best fit. It’s important to evaluate the company workforce  based on the countries you are operating in. For example, where unions are strong, BYOD deployments may be more complex to negotiate and roll out.

Evaluate your technological ecosystem

Where  a company has a strong partnership with other technology providers and wants to build a specific ecosystem – devices, accessories, applications etc – then a COPE strategy would allow for greater synergies.

For example, a courier or logistics company would choose a smartphone perfectly integrated with the charging stations in the van, the Operating System (OS) of the app and the software scanning engine.

With BYOD covering any device an employee brings with them, it would naturally generate a higher number of OS, MDM, OEMs and accessories that would need to be fitted in the same ecosystem. Some companies may provide vouchers to purchase a specific brand/model of smartphone/accessory, but this is still up to each employee – creating higher overall complexity.

Factor-in procurement needs

Where a company has a large, established procurement function, COPE may be preferred. Not only can the company remain in absolute control of the costs, it is also possible to obtain discounts and deals for sourcing devices at scale.

Factor-in procurement needs

Consider your smart device minimum and average requirements

Different workflows at different stages of the last mile journey have their own specific requirements of the smart devices being used. Understanding these requirements can shape the best strategy.

If the workflows and the mobile app have very particular or minimum requirements for features such as OS, CPU, camera, or display size – then a COPE strategy would be easier to deploy. The company can choose the ideal devices to perfectly fit those requirements for different tasks or employee groups.

Of course BYOD can also be rolled out in this scenario, especially if the minimum requirements are not demanding. But it is essential to set thresholds such as a device policy, incentives and possibly refunds to ensure that employees’ devices of choice are capable of supporting their work.

In general, it is always advisable for a company to design its applications for the average, instead of the minimum requirements. This will ensure a better UX for most users.

Be honest about your company profile

For example, what risks is your company willing to take? Is change management something that is widely accepted?

The replies to these questions will have a big influence on strategy deployment. COPE is a very “safe” approach to innovation, where for every process and at each step of implementation the company can predict the outcomes. BYOD has a level of uncertainty that can be managed, but would definitely put more stress on companies averse to change.

Cybersecurity can also be more easily controlled with COPE, which  allows for full deployment of MDMs and EMMs to prevent data breach, malware or misuse. So if your employees access company sensitive data on their devices (financial statements, supplier agreements, pricing), COPE may be a better solution.

On the other hand, COPE requires a higher financial risk since it calls for upfront investments in hardware. While BYOD takes advantage of devices already in people’s pockets, allowing you to scale without heavy costs and at speed to react to demand shifts.


Want more insights – Scandit is happy to help

Scandit helps enterprises successfully deploy enterprise-grade barcode scanning apps on both personal and business-owned smartphones.

One of our experts will be happy to talk with you and share our insights and experience to identify the right mobile and scanning strategy.