The busiest delivery period for Post, Parcel and Express (PPE) businesses is here.
Last year, US consumer expenditure online during the peak Black Friday shopping period hit $8.9 billion online.
The surge in demand results in huge volumes of orders that need to be fulfilled and delivered within ever-tightening time frames — anything from 5 days to next day or even same-day delivery.
This brings other challenges:
- Scaling capacity.
- Onboarding new drivers.
- Maintaining efficiency, and minimizing costs.
These are just some of the operational challenges PPE businesses face in readiness for seasonal spikes.
As Black Friday deals loom, this blog explores ways logistics businesses can handle the planned or even unplanned delivery peaks. All by deploying high-performance smart data capture on smartphones within their last mile delivery operations.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday fulfillment predictions
Many retailers are blending Black Friday and Cyber Monday into the same period. Out of the two Cyber Monday has been edging it as a bigger sales day.
What does this mean in terms of fulfillment?
According to Shopify, the shift towards curbside pickup that happened in 2020 continued in 2021. It said the average curbside pickup cart price was $96.60, up from $79.84 in 2020, and in Canada it was $115.14 CAD, up from $94.93.
In 2021, however, supply chain difficulties meant shoppers were buying earlier than usual. Shoppers started seeking deals in October. In 2021, from Nov. 1 to Nov. 29, consumers spent $109.8 billion online, up 11.9% compared to 2020.
Supply chain issues are going to be a key aspect this year. Delivery companies will need to be aware of the change in consumer behavior.
1. Squeeze more out of existing delivery capacity
Last mile delivery workflows are central to the logistics value chain. Any delay, error or unscheduled downtime brings additional costs and adversely impacts customer satisfaction.
Integrating Scandit’s Smart Data Capture technology into smartphone delivery apps is a fast way to get employees up to speed.
It allows them to use a single device for their multiple delivery tasks: scanning, communicating, routing, and navigating.
Scandit Smart Data Capture assures performance on any device regardless of difficult environmental conditions.
It enables the scanning of torn or damaged barcodes. From a distance to avoid bending. And in low light conditions, like inside the back of the delivery van, or on the doorstep.
Delivery processes are automated and streamlined with smartphone scanning, which reduces the time it takes drivers to do tasks like loading or unloading the van with the ability to scan multiple packages simultaneously with Scandit MatrixScan.
With guaranteed scanning success, PPE businesses have full package visibility from the depot to the doorstep with every scan tracking progress, ensuring resources are fully utilized and customer expectations are set and met.
Learn more about how smartphone scanning increases profitability in the last mile in this infographic.
2. Scale and flex operations with ease using BYOD
Peak seasons like Black Friday require businesses to rapidly scale up in preparation to meet the upsurge in demand. At the same time, they want to scale up or down without unnecessary expenditure.
A scanning-enabled mobile app helps with costs as seasonal workers can use their own smartphones. So there is no need to provide devices or hardware scanners.
Delivery companies can easily tap into the gig economy, alleviating their recruitment challenges and helping them scale up quickly with minimal costs. They just download the app and off they go.
Even where a company reimburses employees using their own devices, it doesn’t have the costs of procuring a stock of devices, nor the expense of maintaining them.
Scandit’s Barcode Scanner SDK brings enterprise-grade smart data capture performance to over 20,000 device models. So no matter what device the contractor has, scan speed and accuracy are assured.
When compared with using dedicated scanning hardware, a delivery app helps delivery companies to scale more quickly and at a lower cost. For example, read how Shipt scaled capacity at speed using Scandit technology and a BYOD strategy to meet 3x increased demand for grocery delivery services.
3. Onboarding with innovative and future-proof technology
Onboarding lots of new or temporary staff is an enduring challenge when it comes to scaling in preparation for the Black Friday peak.
Experienced employees deliver predictable levels of performance. So delivery companies can understand how closely their capacity will meet the forecast demands.
However, new staff are less effective, and their productivity will be variable. Anything that helps quickly get them up to speed is especially valuable.
It’s here smart data capture technology like augmented reality (AR) on smart devices is proving successful. Deploying Scandit MatrixScan AR technology within a delivery app helps to onboard new drivers.
It can be used to overlay easy-to-follow instructions like real-time information with changing delivery instructions or highlighting the next package for delivery. The AR-overlays assist with training, ensuring inexperienced and temporary employees are working at the same level as a more experienced colleague.
The technology also reduces last mile process inefficiencies. For example, a van can be more rapidly loaded by scanning multiple packages at once and the AR overlays help display the delivery zones to enable any driver to quickly sort them all into the optimal delivery order.
Watch how it’s transforming last mile delivery workflows, like inventory management. Here our latest product MatrixScan Count in action.
4. Reduce last mile delivery costs with PUDO
Using pick-up and drop-off (PUDO) locations can reduce last mile delivery costs.
PUDO offers customers greater choice and a more convenient delivery option. More importantly, it reduces the strain on the costly last mile operation, helping limited resources to stretch further.
Both BYOD and corporate-owned personally-enabled (COPE) smart devices (where a business-owned smartphone is deployed to drivers) that incorporate scanning and AR functionality can also help streamline operations at the PUDO location.
Employee productivity is increased as the devices accelerate processes like receiving, searching, providing proof of delivery, and returning parcels through reverse logistics. Scanning is quick and reliable, even when scanning in poor lighting or at a safe distance or from different angles.
Employing AR along with multi-scanning functionality makes for even greater efficiency, so employees can scan all the parcels on a shelf to find items more quickly. Minimal training is required, and the AR overlays provide real-time instructions that prevent costly mistakes.
Read more about how smartphone scanning can help you navigate peaks like Black Friday season or contact us to discuss how we can help you to scale operations quickly and affordably.