Technology has always been key to productivity in the last mile. And productivity is so much easier to achieve when your staff use smart devices.
We know this because we’ve helped delivery companies around the world develop applications to help workers in the last mile.
Here are just a few of our clients.
Our work for these brands covers many different requirements and KPIs – from replacing dedicated scanner devices to provide augmented reality to save time.
This report collects some of the innovative last mile delivery apps we have helped our clients build. So you can use these best of class examples to develop your own.
Read on to discover how carriers around the world have utilized Scandit Smart Data Capture to:
- Solve French postal worker complaints about poor scanning.
- Reduce unloading time for delivery drivers in Japan.
- Create a great PUDO application for store workers in Norway.
- Enable a US food delivery company to verify customers are over-21.
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Scale with a bring your own device strategy
Driver shortages are one of the biggest challenges for delivery companies as e-commerce continues to rise.
The gig economy – with its bring your own device (BYOD) model – is a solution to easing this driver availability problem. But for this to work, the smart device application is crucial because it must match the performance of a dedicated device.
Whatever the smartphone make or model.
PostNL is just one of many businesses Scandit has worked with to implement a BYOD model and bring in a new level of productivity among its workers.
PostNL goes BYOD for track and trace letters
PostNL developed the ‘Mijn werk’ app to track and trace letters and small parcels in the last mile using barcode scanning on BYOD mobiles and tablets.
However, the application previously relied on an open source-based barcode scanning option. Its performance was not good enough on driver devices – especially with scanning barcodes at angles.
PostNL carried out a detailed review of alternative scanning software solutions. It found the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK provided the highest level of reliability, speed and accuracy on smart devices.
Integration was also a big factor. PostNL had recently merged with delivery company Sandd, so it was able to quickly integrate the Scandit-powered app into 4,000 Sandd devices.
The speed and efficiency of the Scandit solution generated positive employee feedback with 67 percent adoption over traditional scanners.
- Employee satisfaction scores up from 60% to 80% after switching to smartphones.
- Scandit works seamlessly on the full range of BYOD devices (over 700 models including both iOS and Android) used by PostNL’s 27,000 staff.
- 100% scanning reliability at different angles and challenging working environments.
PostNL uses the app to scan around 560,000 to 840,000 deliveries every week.
“When we were rolling it out, a team of managers tested the old native scanning tool versus the new Scandit solution. They were amazed by how quickly we were able to scan even the most inaccessible barcodes,” Bart Beerden, Product Owner- Field Services, PostNL
PUDO - turn any outlet into an effective collection point
Customers are ordering more online and expecting deliveries to be lower in price or even free. Home delivery has become commoditized as a result.
PUDO has emerged as a key solution. Convenience stores and gas stations have become popular locations for people to pick up or return their online orders.
Right now, PUDO is growing globally but Europe is leading the way. The region has seen a 40% growth in PUDO points since mid-2019, according to Last Mile Experts.
But – wherever it is – PUDO points need the right technology if people are to keep using them.
Helthjem – moves to PUDO
Helthjem is a delivery company set up between Norway’s three biggest media groups. It has a network of 3,500 couriers who handle 1.3 million daily magazine, newspaper, book, and parcel deliveries.
The company wanted to switch deliveries from a post and parcel carrier to handle deliveries to PUDO.
It realized delivery speed was a key differentiator for attracting and keeping customers. PUDO could help it achieve it.
Helthjem wanted to develop a PUDO app for recording deliveries on smartphones, including pick-up and drop-off at parcel shops nationwide.
Helthjem used an independent software vendor (ISV) to test the performance of barcode scanner SDKs to power the app.
Testing was conducted in sub-optimal lighting, at awkward angles and on damaged barcodes. Following this, the company chose Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK.
The Helthjem app was deployed on Samsung XCover 4S smartphones and handed over to PUDO point employees.
- 1300 parcel shops across Norway are equipped with the Scandit-powered PUDO app.
- 100 percent accuracy: scanning correctly even in sub-optimal lighting, at awkward angles and on damaged barcodes.
- Parcel shop employees now scan packages within a fraction of a second compared to 2.5 seconds using the previous solution.
“Scanning speed and accuracy is a crucial differentiator for us, helping to attract and retain customers to our delivery service. Scandit has been spot-on in enabling us to exceed our main business KPIs: speed of service and customer experience,” Fredrik Stavik, Chief Product Officer, Helthjem
Switching from open source to high-performance barcode scanning
Any smart data capture app must be able to scan barcodes quickly and accurately regardless of the type of surface, lighting scenario or angle required.
Frequently, this is a real-world scenario where open source scanning applications fail.
Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK gives users the ability to scan barcodes at any angle, with high amounts of glare and across any surface.
Something that is essential for delivery staff in differing environments.
What La Poste postal workers asked for when they tested its smart device app
In the mid-2010s, La Poste was working on providing smart devices to postal workers.
The company was testing an application with postal workers using low-end Android smartphones. The application used open source barcode scanning software for proof of delivery.
The major complaint by postal worker testers?
Barcode scanning performance on parcels. A key issue was the app’s inability to scan from angles. Getting the positioning right took time and became a major annoyance when it had to be repeated multiple times.
In response, La Poste benchmarked different SDKs. It tested it in low-lit conditions, with reflective glare, at awkward angles, and on damaged barcodes.
In the video below, La Poste innovation manager Jose Vazquez talks about the testing process.
For more, on this go to ‘How La Poste Went Smarter in the Last Mile’.
Scandit’s performance was better than other proprietary software options tested. The scanning generated zero incorrect scans. La Poste switched to the Scandit SDK.
Carriers also confirmed that deliveries were faster once Scandit was in place.
Moreover, La Poste said integration with the employee app was straightforward. Internal developers handled and managed testing in-house.
- Replacing open source scanning with Scandit’s solution resulted in zero errors.
- Scanning accuracy saved costs associated with misdelivered mail.
- Scandit is currently on 12 La Poste apps across 90,000 smartphones, making 4m scans a day.
The results showed that using the Scandit-enabled app was up to 55% quicker per document processed than with the open source software.
“Scandit technology immediately delivered a level of performance that open source mobile scanning simply couldn’t match. Our mail and parcel carriers now complete deliveries with greater speed and accuracy, with fewer scanning errors,” Pierre Prygoda, IT Manager, La Poste
Going to the next level with AR and MatrixScan
Today’s smartphones come with advanced cameras that are ideal for scanning. However, this can be combined with the touchscreen to do things dedicated devices are incapable of reproducing.
Scandit Smart Data Capture enables you to implement MatrixScan into the app and scan multiple barcodes at once. Combined with augmented reality, it provides a way to digital capture and interact with the physical world.
Here we look at how logistics company Yamato used this to help its drivers reduce unloading times.
Yamato helps drivers reduce delivery times with AR
In June 2020, Japanese delivery provider Yamato Transport launched EAZY, a delivery product for e-commerce businesses. The move was in response to the growth in e-commerce.
EAZY allows buyers to choose from a variety of delivery methods. The company is set up with a BYOD strategy and has 16,000 drivers.
However, the truck loading and delivery route in the last one mile is heavily reliant on the driver’s decision-making.
The drivers needed to load products in the right order, so the first ones on the route go in last. This requires them to manually check the labels.
Yamato introduced AR and MatrixScan. It enabled drivers to instantly select the right order for deliveries to go on the truck.
They just had to point the device at the packages. I would assign each one a loading order via the AR overlay on the device’s screen.
Yamato found the introduction of MatrixScan and AR reduced the loading time by around a third.
It also found the Scandit’s precision scanning performance equivalent to that of a dedicated terminal.
For more uses of AR in the last mile, see Nacex.
Easy age-verification for age-restricted products
Deliveries of age-restricted products like alcohol are increasing, mainly due to exploding alcohol e-commerce. In many countries, delivery companies are legally held responsible if they hand over alcohol to minors.
Some quick statistics:
- 44% – the number of US consumers who started buying alcohol online in 2020 (compared to 19% in 2019).
- 6.9% of the total off-trade volume is expected to be reached by online alcohol sales in the US by 2024.
- 80% – Growth in online sales of alcohol in the US in 2020.
For more on this, see our guide, Age Verified Delivery: Fast, Reliable Compliance in the Last Mile.
Instacart switches on age-verification for alcohol deliveries
The pandemic brought a sudden rise in orders.
Home delivery company Instacart faced a challenge when it was required to verify customers are over-21 for alcohol deliveries. It knew it needed to move fast and be flexible.
And this is where Instacart’s smart data capture application played a crucial role.
The company uses a BYOD strategy. Instacart shoppers download the Instacart Shopper app onto their smartphones, handpick items in-store and deliver them to customers.
The app was already powered by Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK.
Scandit’s ID Verification technology means an ID or age can be verified with a simple scan of a document like a passport or a drivers license.
A shopper delivering alcohol is notified they will need to verify the customer’s age. They then scan that person’s ID and receive an on-screen confirmation if the person is over-21.
All of this is conducted locally on the device. There is no need to send the data out to an external database. The only thing that is recorded is that they passed the age verification check.
Over 500,000 devices run the Instacart shopper app. So now Instacart is able to protect the company from the risks of delivering alcohol to minors.
- All age-verification is done on the app so shoppers can assure customers their data is not being stored.
- It records proof they have correctly made the scan.
- Instacart can offer the function to almost any shopper as age-verification is available on 1000 different Android and iOS devices.
Replacing dedicated barcode scanners with smart devices
In the past, couriers have carried a dedicated barcode scanning device while out delivering parcels, used to verify deliveries. However, these scanners are cumbersome and expensive to purchase and maintain.
Today, many delivery companies realize this is not an efficient way to conduct business.
More deliveries and low driver availability means productivity is essential. Smart devices powered by high-performance smart data capture technology can handle the vast majority of last mile tasks.
Nacex ditches dedicated barcode scanners and switches to smart devices
Back in 2019, Iberian delivery company NACEX replaced dedicated scanners for last mile drivers with an Android app.
Superfast scanning was critical as NACEX’s last mile drivers scanned over five million barcodes every month.
The dedicated devices were limited in terms of barcode scanning speed and functionality. NACEX drivers needed proof of delivery. This included photographing the parcel and the recipient’s signature, or scanning it.
NACEX replaced dedicated scanners for last mile drivers with an Android app that integrated with Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK. It then extended its functionality with MatrixScan and AR.
When drivers arrive at a delivery stop, the GPS navigation on their smartphone app determines their location. It then notifies the driver what parcels are scheduled for delivery.
The application uses MatrixScan to capture multiple barcodes on several parcels in the van. The parcels for delivery are overlaid on the screen.
Drivers have the choice of going BYOD or COPE with a mid-range Android smartphone.
Over 70 percent of franchisees use the MatrixScan enabled smartphone app. The smartphone scanning app is compatible with a wide range of Android smartphones.
Significant time and cost savings with two times faster scanning.
Five million barcodes are scanned monthly with the Scandit-powered app.
The smartphone scanning app offers distinct advantages over dedicated handheld scanners: It is compatible with a range of Android smartphones.
“With MatrixScan integrated in the smartphone scanning app, drivers can do the job much quicker, as they don’t need to read and confirm each code sequentially with the AR overlay,” Paco Ontiveros, IT Director, NACEX
Summary - boost productivity with technology
Right now, there are plenty of last mile challenges for delivery companies. E-commerce is booming, customers expect faster deliveries for less, and driver availability is still difficult.
Companies need to look at ways to improve productivity.
Utilizing smart devices – whether staff or company-owned – is an easy and time-effective way to make operations more efficient. For starters, we can turn them into enterprise-grade barcode scanners. But there is so much more you can do on top of that.
Interested in discovering more?
Get in touch and we’ll show how you can create a futureproof smart data capture experience that improves efficiency and helps staff.