US Last Mile Delivery Companies Prioritize Investment in Contactless

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Woman signing for package pickup at delivery man's phone

1st December, Boston, USA: New research from Scandit, based on interviews with 118 senior decision makers from the world’s largest postal and logistics providers, identified how the impact of COVID-19 is pushing many last mile companies to adapt. In the last 18 months alone, post, parcel and third-party logistics businesses have faced unprecedented hurdles, from driver shortages, evolving COVID-19 safety requirements and processes to new consumer expectations. As a result, for North American organizations, contactless processes (41.2%) are the primary investment priority but respondents also had a strong focus on delivery app enhancement (35.3%) to meet current demands. This is in contrast to European businesses that are more forward-looking and open to new services (14.3%) such as lockers and new app features (20.6%) including real-time address changes.

Smartphone users lead the way in innovation

Across both North America and Europe, companies who use smartphones during last mile delivery tend to be more innovation-focused, providing an advantage to meet increased customer expectations. For dedicated scanning device users in North America, app enhancements to boost speed and compatibility are the main priority (50%), with only a minority stating new features (8.3%) are their focus. However, the results are higher for smartphone users with over a quarter of respondents (26.7%) focused on rolling out new features and 46.7% looking at contactless processes, compared to 33.3% of dedicated device users. These findings speak to the speed, ease and flexibility of adding new capabilities when using a smartphone and app-based approach for delivery processes, such as ID scanning for age verified delivery or augmented reality (AR) to display real-time information for drivers.

A bright future for augmented reality

Regardless of region, the majority of enterprises perceive AR technology will have a huge impact on last mile delivery. Over three-quarters (76%) of enterprises globally believe AR is an important last mile technology, with over one-third (34%) of survey respondents stating that it is a priority for them to invest in today. Businesses who use smartphones are the most likely to recognise the importance of AR, with 85.8% believing it is important and 42.9% important to invest in now. This further suggests that those using smartphones are already on the path towards future innovation.

In addition, AR is likely to be essential in overcoming current and future last mile challenges such as continuous peaks in demand and overcoming driver shortages. For example, AR can significantly help with onboarding drivers. Instructions delivered via AR-overlays are beneficial with training inexperienced drivers or contract workers, in particular.

A deployment strategy for today

In North America, full-time workforces are much more likely to receive corporate-issued devices (76.7%) than contract workforces (18.2%), who are more likely to leverage BYOD models (72.7%). However, almost 9 in 10 (88.9%) of those who have adopted a BYOD model are satisfied.

Amongst North American respondents leveraging BYOD today, the main reason for its adoption is to support a contractor business model (66.7%), while reducing the cost of hardware acquisition (55.6%) is the second most cited. BYOD is a logical investment for last mile delivery because it can almost completely eliminate hardware costs helping businesses to scale, which is especially important with more regular peak demands. The fact that those already using BYOD have seen such a positive impact, suggests there will be increased adoption across the US.

Pat Nolan, Senior Research Analyst at VDC Research said: “Recent VDC Research reporting finds that transport & logistics decision makers rank ‘workforce collaboration tools’ and ‘mobile devices/apps for frontline employees’ as the two most critical features of their organizations’ IT infrastructures and investments, both before and in response to COVID-19. Still, these operations’ top last mile challenges are reducing process inefficiencies and lowering costs, so the reliance on smartphones and related BYOD policies has helped some expand their mobile capabilities on a squeezed budget in a way that is accessible and intuitive for their drivers.”

Samuel Mueller, CEO and Co-founder at Scandit said: “The report shows that there is a real opportunity for North American firms, especially when it comes to smartphone use and BYOD. Companies in the US aren’t yet capitalizing on smartphones as much as in Europe, but the ones that are can see clear benefits. With finding qualified drivers stated as the biggest last mile delivery challenge for North American businesses, BYOD and smartphone adoption makes it easier to hire and onboard gig economy workers which can be dialed up or down depending on demand.”

The full report is available here.

Notes to Editors

118 key stakeholders from postal, parcel and logistics enterprises based in 23 countries across North America and Europe were interviewed 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.

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