Last Mile Delivery Firms Shift to Smartphone-based Technology to Help Address Driver Shortages Across North America

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Last mile delivery firms shift to smartphone-based technology

Boston, United States, August 11th, 2021: New research from Scandit, the leading enterprise technology platform for mobile computer vision and augmented reality (AR), highlights a recruitment battle for last mile delivery organizations in North America. The most commonly cited challenge for last mile companies is finding qualified drivers (38%). At a time when a boom in e-commerce has put increasing pressure on last mile delivery, a further 24% are most challenged by the need to reduce process inefficiencies, while 22% say that increasing capacity to be able to match demand is their biggest headache.

The research, conducted in spring 2021 and based on interviews with 118 of the world’s largest postal and logistics providers, highlighted a global trend of smartphone-based scanning displacing legacy scanners in the hands of employees. In North America specifically, most respondents (54%) say they are now using smartphones with mobile applications as their primary last mile driver device instead of dedicated scanning devices.

Smartphones with mobile applications are utilised in the last mile for a variety of tasks including proof of delivery, ID verification, search and find and more. By far the most frequently cited reason for switching to a smartphone-based solution is to improve the user experience (85%), indicating that employee satisfaction is a key priority for companies looking to attract and retain employees. This is followed by a desire to leverage the functionality and flexibility of smartphones to consolidate multiple devices into one (54%).

Pat Nolan, Senior Research Analyst at VDC Research, who conducted the North American research on behalf of Scandit, commented: “The labor dynamics for the transportation and logistics sector have been especially strained by the increased pressures and demand caused by both COVID-19 and the growth in popularity of e-commerce and omnichannel fulfilment models. This means last mile organizations are competing for a tighter labor pool that they must win over with, among other things, effective mobile tools that enable them to do their jobs more productively and smoothly.”

For those businesses that have already moved to smartphones in North America, 73% have realized the benefits they expected. The primary motivations to move to smartphone-based solutions for those that are still using dedicated devices are to take advantage of the ability to add new features and capabilities (100%), followed by a desire to replace end-of-life hardware (75%). Providing a single, modern device (50%) to complete multiple tasks also ranks as a commonly cited motivation for transitioning which links back to investing in technology that attracts and retains drivers in a competitive labor market.

Samuel Mueller, CEO of Scandit, said: “Many North American businesses are currently focused on adjusting to the pressures of managing the impact of COVID-19, and in particular, the human capacity element needed to serve customers in a highly competitive and limited labor pool.

“The pandemic has made the need to be able to scale up delivery capacity and put more drivers on the road to meet the increased volume even more acute.  With an intuitive, computer vision enabled-app that can be quickly downloaded onto a smartphone, drivers benefit from having a range of features at their fingertips that allow them to manage their workflow more comfortably all from one device. Getting it right the first time for the end customer also helps avoid the additional costs and inefficiencies involved in making multiple delivery attempts.”

“As we move beyond the pandemic, e-commerce is likely to stay a dominant feature of last mile delivery. The technology investment decisions that companies make now will give them a decisive advantage over the competition in being able to seamlessly onboard new recruits, scale and adapt quickly to peaks in demand.”

The full report can be found here.

Notes to Editors

118 key stakeholders from postal, parcel and logistics enterprises based in 23 countries across North America and Europe were interviewed for this research by independent agencies via an online survey or telephone. Respondents included stakeholders from 7/10 largest courier businesses worldwide. Research was conducted by ITTS in Europe and VDC Research in North America.

About Scandit

Scandit enables enterprises and consumers to change the way they interact with everyday objects and augment the physical world with real-time data captured by scanning barcodes and recognizing text, objects, and other visual identifiers using smartphones, tablets, wearables, drones, and robots.

Scandit’s mobile data capture platform is built on proprietary computer vision, augmented reality, and machine learning technologies. Companies in industries such as retail, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, and healthcare can use Scandit’s technology to create and power mobile apps for crucial enterprise workflows like mobile point of sale, mobile shopping, self-checkout, inventory management, and proof of delivery.

Many of the world’s most innovative and successful companies are benefiting from Scandit’s enterprise-grade mobile data capture platform, including Sephora, FedEx, DHL, and Levi Strauss & Co.

For more information, visit