Mobile computer vision enables NACEX franchisees to quickly and accurately document incoming parcels and load them efficiently to delivery vehicles.
Scandit software runs on thousands of smart devices, making it possible for NACEX to issue low-cost smartphones to drivers or have them use their own.
Scandit-powered smart devices enable Last Mile delivery drivers to accurately perform more than 5 million barcode scans per month in very challenging conditions.
NACEX is an express B2B and B2C courier services for parcels and documents, operating in Spain, Portugal and Andorra. The company also provides value-added services for deliveries with special requirements, such as pharmaceuticals.
NACEX has consolidated an exclusive network of franchisees across its operational region to handle “last mile” deliveries. Utilizing a combined total of more than 1,500 vehicles, franchisees receive parcels from NACEX distribution hubs every morning and then sort them into vans for delivery to the final destination.
As part of the standard receiving process, NACEX franchisees scan the barcode of each parcel coming in to check it is the correct item and then properly sort it for delivery drivers. Drivers then scan each parcel as they load it into the van.
Previously, drivers had used dedicated handheld scanning devices running proprietary Windows-based scanning software. However, these devices presented issues with scan speed, and were also limited in the type of information they could record and display to drivers.
In January 2017, NACEX began making an Android app based on the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK mobile data capture platform available to drivers. The Scandit platform offered a number of distinct advantages over dedicated handheld scanners.
First, Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK was compatible with a vast range of Android smartphones. This allowed franchisees to either have drivers use their own mobile devices or issue a less expensive Android smartphone model. Either option offered a significant cost savings compared to dedicated scanners.
In addition, the Scandit solution could scan barcodes at a more rapid rate, being more than twice as fast than before. This capability was critical considering that NACEX last mile drivers perform more than 5 million barcode scans per month. By using the flash of the smartphone camera, the Android app was also able to effectively read barcodes inside the dark lighting conditions of delivery vans.
NACEX also decided to extend the functionality of its Android app by utilizing the multiscanning and augmented reality (AR) feature of Barcode Scanner SDK. Multiscanning locates, tracks and decodes multiple barcodes at once. In addition, multiscanning presents key data obtained from barcodes as an AR overlay on the driver’s smartphone screen, providing extra information and instructions for drivers.
For example, when drivers scan parcels as they load them into the van, AR feedback instructs them on the order to place items to allow deliveries to be unloaded as quickly as possible.
In addition, when drivers are delivering pharmaceutical items, which have strict requirements about temperature and time of delivery, they scan the parcel before delivery to check that all requirements have been met. If there is any reason to halt the delivery, an automatic alert will be sent via AR overlay
Once a driver reaches a delivery stop, the app uses the smartphone’s GPS navigation to determine the driver’s location and what parcels should be delivered there. The driver then uses multiscanning functionality to scan the parcels in the van, and has the correct barcodes highlighted using AR feedback on their device screen. As few as one and as many as 100-150 parcels may be highlighted for delivery at an individual stop, leading to significant time savings at each stop.
“With the new app and multiscanning functionality, the drivers can do the job much quicker, as they don’t need to read and confirm each code sequentially with the Augmented Reality color overlay” says Paco Ontiveros, Nacex IT Manager.
NACEX requires proof of delivery to be recorded for every delivery. This includes taking a photo of the parcel, as well as photographing or scanning the recipient’s signature.
Furthermore, NACEX uses Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK in its own distribution centers to perform manual checks of parcels before they are distributed to last mile delivery franchisees. Distribution center workers will use Android smartphones to scan parcel barcodes to locate any unaccounted items and ensure they are in place and ready to be sent to franchisees for final delivery.
Currently, 1,000 franchisee drivers, or about 70% of roughly 1,500 total drivers , use Android smartphones running the Scandit Barcode Scanner SDK-supported app. NACEX is extending the use of the Android app throughout its network, which will be fully deployed and implemented during 2018. NACEX heavily relies on technology for an efficient and cutting-edge service to clients, and these new technologies will improve the NACEX e-packing service.