Delivering Last Mile Transparency with 50% Higher Scanning Efficiency

Since replacing the open source barcode scanning component in their courier app with Scandit-powered smartphone scanning, DPD Russia witnessed a 50 percent increase in scanning speed and accuracy. Superior scanning efficiency was especially relevant during the pandemic where couriers scaled up to make over 85 percent of deliveries.

As a busy organization with a vast and complex delivery network, improving operational efficiencies and the quality of our customer service is crucial for business. Scandit’s barcode scanner SDK is significantly faster and more accurate than any other mobile data capture platform we have used. It’s a key tool for ensuring that our operations run smoothly.
Pavel Solovyov – Technical Support Director, DPD Russia

Challenge

Improve the courier app’s scanning speed and accuracy

DPD Russia is a leading courier and express delivery provider in Russia, offering delivery services to 26,000 locations in Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, and across the globe. The company delivers over 100,000 parcels daily, both directly to consumers and to a system of over 4,500 pickup points.

To ensure business efficiencies, DPD Russia needed a reliable and efficient means of tracking packages from distribution centers to final destinations. For a three-year period, the company (then operating as a subsidiary of GeoPost) provided its drivers with an Android smartphone app built on an open source mobile barcode scanning platform. They used the app to scan barcodes on parcels at several key points in the last mile of the delivery process – for location verification and updating the status of packages.

While the open source barcode scanning solution enabled DPD Russia to streamline key post and parcel workflows such as picking up packages in the delivery terminal for placement in vehicles and verifying proof of delivery, the company discovered some shortcomings. The open source platform did not offer the desired speed of scanning. Scanning was considerably slower, especially on packages with damaged, unclear and blurred barcodes, which delayed deliveries as a result.

In addition, DPD Russia found some quality issues in scan accuracy. For instance, couriers sometimes have to work in low light conditions, which made it difficult for them to properly capture barcodes on packages. They had to use additional light sources such as from a smartphone or a flashlight, to provide light and scan the barcode.

The company determined that an Android smartphone courier app with barcode scanning capability would be the best solution for parcel tracking. However, they decided to investigate other mobile data capture engines.

Solution

Superior scanning speed and efficiency in different environments

As part of their research investigating alternate mobile data capture engines, DPD Russia discovered the Scandit barcode scanner SDK. The company was impressed with the speed and accuracy of Scandit’s smartphone scanning solution, which surpassed open source alternatives. DPD Russia was equally delighted with Scandit’s scanning solution’s ability to read unclear and damaged codes in poor lighting and at difficult angles. The company decided to trial an initial 1,000-device pilot to integrate their courier app with Scandit’s barcode scanning solution.

Drivers commence delivery tracking by scanning parcel barcodes at the delivery terminal, to verify that the correct packages are placed in the right vehicles. The parcels are then scanned for proof of delivery when they are dropped off at either a client’s home or business, or at a designated pickup point – ensuring that parcels are included in the correct shipments and reach their proper destinations.

In addition, couriers scan parcels from clients making returns to verify the accuracy of the return process. At the end of the workday, drivers can also scan any stray parcels in the terminal that have not been delivered to or picked up by a client. This allows timely verification and resolution of any missed or erroneous deliveries.

Says Oksana Bogdanova, Head of Project Operations, DPD Russia, “During peak season, the daily workload of our couriers increased from 40-50 deliveries to over 100. From scanning barcodes on parcels at the delivery terminal, during proof of delivery, and at times, for returns, each courier ended up scanning 150-250 barcodes daily.”

Scandit’s scanning software embedded in the DPD courier app, doubled barcode scanning speed on parcels and minimized errors, as the software accurately scans in poor lighting conditions, and on blurred and damaged barcodes.
Oksana Bogdanova, Head of Project Operations, DPD Russia

She added, “The time-savings achieved with each order delivered during this period of increased workload helped us appreciate the advantages of smartphone scanning technologies.”

Results

Reduction in time to scan a barcode compared to open source scanning solutions
2x
Improvement in scanning speed and accuracy
50%
Last mile couriers regularly use the Scandit-powered app
>4000

Superior scanning drives real-time last mile transparency

Today, couriers can track the movement and precise location of parcels throughout the delivery process in real-time, thanks to the instantaneous and accurate scans provided by the Scandit-enabled courier app. According to Pavel, “Our couriers have witnessed a two time reduction in the time it takes to scan a barcode with Scandit’s barcode scanning solution compared to the open source alternative they used earlier. A parcel that took around 5-7 seconds to scan in the past, can now be scanned within a fraction of a second. This has helped to significantly speed up last mile delivery verification and save time across our delivery routes.” 

He added, “We can now capture barcodes accurately in any scanning environment, whether it is in low-light or on torn and unclear barcodes. Following the pilot, the number of deliveries in the B2C segment almost doubled as an offshoot of the pandemic. Even though parcel shops across Russia were shut down, almost all deliveries were carried out by DPD’s couriers. 

Couriers scanned two and a half times more parcels, over and above the 50 parcels that each of them scanned and delivered daily. As a result, the reliability of the scanning accuracy offered by Scandit’s smartphone scanning solution gained greater significance during the pandemic – prompting DPD Russia to roll out Scandit’s smartphone scanning solution to an additional 3000 couriers. 

Looking ahead, DPD Russia plans to continue expanding its deployment of Scandit’s smartphone scanning solution to more drivers, and also use Scandit’s unique augmented reality (AR) information overlay functionality. With AR, drivers can get accurate customer and delivery information in real-time by simply scanning the parcel – achieving new levels of efficiency and productivity.

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