The last mile is the most important step in any supply chain for post, parcel and express businesses; it’s the final journey packages take from their transportation hub to the prescribed recipient. Successful last mile delivery requires careful coordination across your entire workforce to ensure optimal efficiency and customer satisfaction. This step is even more challenging during peak seasons when enterprises need to deploy more workers to manage higher than normal volumes of packages and parcels.
Fortunately, with the help of augmented reality (AR) technology, your enterprise can use innovation to transform efficiency for your last mile logistics efforts—paving the way for superior business results, peak season or not.
At Scandit, we empower today’s enterprises with mobile computer vision solutions that reduce TCO and drive productivity. Our innovative products turn modern smart devices into enterprise-grade data capture tools, enabling faster and more reliable last mile fulfillment.
Today, we’ll be walking you through how your enterprise can leverage the combination of data capture and augmented reality-enabled smart devices across different operational workflows to create cost-effective delivery solutions in the last mile.
What Is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is a technology that uses camera-equipped devices to merge computer-generated assets with real-world environments. These assets might take the form of simple text notifications, advanced employee instructions, animations and everything in between. As you can imagine, augmented reality bears potential across almost every industry imaginable—from retail and healthcare to manufacturing.
From a Post and Parcel perspective, one core use of AR technology is to highlight important, real-time delivery information for staff and simplify workflows across all phases of the last mile.
How AR-enabled smart devices facilitate last mile delivery optimization
By using camera-equipped smart devices (typically smartphones, but also wearable devices) with scanning and AR-powered apps, last mile delivery staff can capture multiple package barcodes in a single scan and use AR to gain powerful insights into their delivery details via on-screen displays. For example, imagine a driver scanning every parcel in the back of the van simultaneously to quickly locate the package for that stop with a clear visual AR overlay.
AR overlays may include details on time-sensitive packages, updates on deliveries such as a change of address, highlighting special delivery requirements and more, fostering more reliable and coordinated logistics.
These time and efficiency savings add up over every stop and every route – and by using a scanning and AR enabled smart device for every delivery task, you can reduce costs and increase flexibility compared to the traditional alternative of using a handheld scanner device.
AR in logistics and advanced mobile data capture technology bring value to all three phases of last mile delivery, driving higher customer satisfaction and successful last mile fulfillment.
Let’s walk through all three phases to give you a better idea of how AR-enabled smart devices can improve processes in your enterprise.
1. The Distribution Center
The distribution center is where packages and parcels are organized and loaded into specific vehicles for transportation to customers. This phase demands precise logistics to ensure that the right packages are strategically placed in the right delivery vehicles.
With the help of AR-enabled smart devices, distribution center staff can process multiple barcodes at once to pick out the correct packages and load them onto the correct van. Delivery drivers can also harness these solutions to quickly load their vehicles based on delivery zones during this phase, encouraging more productive operations during Point of Delivery.
It’s also a great way to help new or temporary staff work with the speed and efficiency of your more experienced drivers, with easy to follow visual indicators displayed via AR.
2. Point of Delivery
Point of Delivery is the moment when a parcel reaches its final destination. This phase requires fast, precise workflows to ensure the right packages are delivered at the proper times.
AR-enabled smart devices act as an all-in-one technology solution for delivery staff, allowing them to scan multiple parcels to find specific packages in the vehicle, stay updated on delivery changes or special instructions, and capture proof of delivery electronically.
Dispatchers can also use smart devices to plan itineraries, track packages and find optimal delivery routes on the fly to enable more cost-effective workflows.
3. Pickup & Dropoff (PUDO)
Pickup & Dropoff processes give customers the flexibility to collect ordered packages at specific locations like local outlets or lockers. Logistical challenges for PUDO include coordinating efforts between delivery drivers and third-party pickup locations to guarantee customers receive their packages quickly.
AR-enabled smart devices allow delivery drivers to identify the correct parcels effortlessly via AR feedback and overlays, vastly simplifying PUDO operations and improving last mile fulfillment. These technology solutions can even be used to help sort parcels, making it easy for staff and temporary employees to sort out undelivered packages.
AR from Scandit for last mile delivery optimization
Now that you have a better understanding of augmented reality in global logistics and how it applies to Post and Parcel workflows, let’s discuss specific AR functionality your enterprise can use to optimize its last mile delivery process.
Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK is a revolutionary software solution for iOS, Android and other platforms that delivers enterprise-grade scanning capabilities to any smart device. This award-winning technology can turn even lower cost smart devices into enterprise-grade barcode scanners, eliminating the need for traditional mobile scanning hardware. SDK-powered devices offer unrivaled capture speed and accuracy across a range of challenging conditions, including moving, damaged and poorly lit barcodes—enhancing the reliability of your data capture workflows.
Thanks to the SDK’s MatrixScan feature, any camera-equipped device can locate, track and decode multiple barcodes simultaneously—optimizing the efficiency and convenience of your scanning operations. MatrixScan also enables augmented reality capabilities, enabling Post and Parcel staff to access superimposed parcel information to streamline and coordinate their last mile delivery workflows.
If you’re ready to learn more about how our mobile data capture technology can help you perfect your transportation and last mile delivery operations, then be sure to download our free whitepaper ‘Time to Replace Laser Scanners: Myth‑busting Software Scanning’.
This resource will teach you everything you need to know about how getting rid of the scanners and switching to a smart device-based solution can help you improve the accuracy, traceability and results of your last mile delivery processes—and how taking advantage of this technology will give you a competitive edge in your industry.
Optimize your last mile logistics with Scandit
Want to learn more about how Scandit’s AR solutions can help your Post and Parcel enterprise sprint the last mile and enable better business results? Watch our live panel discussion on how to Eenablenabling last mile delivery with the latest technology or contact us today.
You can also connect with us for more information on augmented reality in global logistics and using AR to improve last mile fulfillment.