Optimizing Last Mile Delivery With Mobile Computer Vision

| Post, Parcel & Express

scan barcodes with smartphones

Last Mile delivery is one of the most vital (and challenging) phases in your supply chain. Even in today’s environment, consumers expect fast, seamless and safe deliveries, which demands careful coordination across your entire operation. To gain a competitive edge, support surges in demand and ensure customer satisfaction, post and parcel enterprises regularly experiment with different tools to make Last Mile delivery easier and more efficient for all parties. Mobile computer vision is an innovation used in the Post & Parcel industry to significantly improve the speed and efficiency of Last Mile logistics, bringing productivity gains and improved customer service. Today we’ll discuss how our Post and Parcel partners leverage our mobile computer vision solution to perfect their Last Mile delivery operations.

Changing the Ways Businesses and People Interact with Everyday Objects

Scandit’s computer vision and augmented reality technology turns any camera-enabled smart device into a powerful barcode and text scanner, a data capture tool, changing the way businesses and employees interact with everyday objects. We help large enterprises in a range of industries to move critical, regular workflows onto agile and flexible mobile devices. Our experience and market-leading technology are why enterprises trust Scandit for the latest insights and opportunities in the world of computer vision technology, and crucially for best practice guidance on how to successfully implement and achieve business benefits.

What is Mobile Computer Vision?

Computer vision is a field of computer science that works on enabling camera enabled devices to see, identify and process images in the same way that human vision does, and then provide appropriate output. It is closely linked with artificial intelligence, as the computer must interpret what it sees, and then perform appropriate analysis or act accordingly.

A more complete (and complicated) definition of computer vision, is a field concerned with the automatic extraction, analysis and understanding of useful information from a single image or a sequence of images. Image data for computer vision can take many forms, ranging from simple pictures to snippets of video sequences. For example, a warehouse employee could use computer vision to identify and distribute parcels to the correct destinations.

Thanks to the accessibility and versatility of camera-equipped smart devices, almost any company can make effective use of mobile computer vision. With the right software, modern smartphones, tablets, wearables and other smart devices can be augmented with computer vision capabilities—allowing them to capture and analyze image data in seconds. As a result, the applications for mobile computer vision are nearly limitless. Analyst Forrester stated in their 2019 New Tech Report “Computer Vision solutions give enterprises unprecedented intelligence about their documents, people, products, and equipment and enable new features, products, and services.” And while this technology shows great promise in the fields of agriculture, biometrics, geoscience and many other fields, it’s already a game changer for post and parcel enterprises.

How Mobile Computer Vision Supports Last Mile Delivery

Last Mile delivery is a critical process for Post & Parcel teams—one that makes all the difference between a satisfied recipient and a lost customer. And as consumer demands for faster, smoother and now safer delivery rise, it’s never been more important to optimize all three steps of your Last Mile delivery system. Thankfully, with mobile computer vision solutions, your business can effortlessly identify, sort and deliver parcels and packages—paving the way for greater e-commerce success.

Here’s how these Last Mile delivery solutions work:

1. In the Distribution Center

The Distribution Center plays an essential role in collecting the appropriate parcels and loading them into the correct vehicles for delivery. Conventionally, warehouse staff use expensive barcode scanning hardware to accomplish this task. By replacing these traditional scanning tools with mobile computer vision-enabled smart devices, your team can bring speed and simplicity to its Distribution Center workflows. Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK brings enterprise-grade data capture capabilities to modern smart device apps, rivaling the performance of dedicated scanning hardware for a fraction of the cost. More importantly, the Barcode Scanner SDK’s MatrixScan feature allows these devices to locate, track and decode several barcodes at once—bolstering the overall efficiency of your Distribution Center operations. Once the data has been captured, augmented reality (AR) displays critical, real-time parcel information right on the smart device screen, which means Distribution Center staff can organize and load parcels for the quickest possible delivery route. Having real-time information at your fingertips reduces human error and increases productivity.

2. At Point of Delivery

Parcel delivery is the last and most important part of Last Mile delivery—the crucial moment when an item reaches its final prescribed destination. Naturally, this step demands careful coordination to ensure that the right parcels reach the right delivery locations at the right time. When managing parcel identification, driver navigation, and capturing proof of delivery (PoD), Post & Parcel teams confront a range of complex challenges. But with mobile computer vision technology, your enterprise can use smart device-based apps to face these difficulties with confidence and clarity.

Mobile computer vision-enabled smart devices help staff complete Point of Delivery tasks quickly, safely and accurately, controlling costs and providing greater value to customers. For example, Scandit-powered devices make it easy for Post and Parcel dispatchers to plan itineraries, optimize delivery routes and track delivery progress in real time, driving efficiency and transparency. Fleet drivers use Scandit-powered smart devices to access GPS and information on dynamic navigation factors (like weather or traffic), fostering more efficient and seamless deliveries. MatrixScan enables drivers to scan multiple barcodes in one go and quickly identify specific packages in their vehicle—making parcel delivery almost effortless. And while social distancing measures are still in place, Scandit’s contactless Proof of Delivery web app helps keep customers and delivery drivers safe. Recipients can simply scan a QR code provided by the driver, open the web app (no download needed) with the proof of delivery functionality, scan their package and sign for it on their own device to confirm delivery. See how it works in this video:

When post and parcel enterprises need to scale-up at speed to cope with peak periods or surges in demand, a bring your own device (BYOD) approach enables them to equip new or temporary workers with scanning-enabled mobile apps to complete these last mile workflows on their personal smart devices. Employees simply download the scanning-enabled delivery app to their own familiar device and they can be up and running in no time, with minimal training needed. It’s a flexible and cost effective option, BYOD can save up to 70% on the total cost of ownership compared to providing hardware scanners and it can be scaled to meet fluctuating demand.

Check out our BYOD in the Last Mile Best Practice Guide for expert insight into the essential elements every implementation plan needs. Get the Guide

3. AR for Pickup & Dropoff (PUDO)

Like Point of Delivery, PUDO requires close coordination to ensure the correct parcels reach their third-party pickup locations on schedule. Employees at pickup and dropoff points must sort packages as quickly and accurately as possible to meet customer expectations, which is why post and parcel enterprises are turning to mobile data capture solutions.

BYOD or business-provided smart devices equipped with computer vision software offer users precise parcel details via AR overlays, making it easy for staff to identify and organize delivered items. These innovative Last Mile delivery solutions reduce human error while improving workflow efficiency. With Scandit-powered devices, employees and temporary workers with any level of experience can process undelivered or incoming parcels with ease—encouraging faster and more cost-effective PUDO operations.

Make Last Mile Delivery Effortless With Scandit

Ready to learn more about mobile computer vision and how it can optimize your Post & Parcel enterprise? Then don’t hesitate to contact us today. Also, feel free to reach out for more insights into mobile data solutions for retail and logistics teams. We’d love to help.