Smartphone Scanning and Augmented Reality (AR) Speed Up Last Mile Delivery at Hermes UK

Paul Davis, VP of Sales – Northern Europe, Scandit

Last mile delivery can make or break a customer’s entire purchasing journey and experience of a brand. A good experience will strengthen relationships, but delivery problems can undo all the good work done by a retailer in nurturing the customer. Processing more than 335 millions parcels each year and partnering with 80% of the UK’s top 100 retailers, delivery firm Hermes UK understands this better than most. They know that continually evolving their customers’ experience is essential to realize their growth ambitions. So Hermes took the decision to digitally transform last mile delivery with mobile barcode scanning and augmented reality (AR) technology.

As one of the UK’s highest volume consumer delivery enterprises, with a network of nearly 15,000 independent last mile delivery couriers, this was no small undertaking. With parcel volume growing year-on-year and the need to manage seasonal peaks, any project had to be achieved with minimal disruption. However, Hermes recognized that lowering last mile costs by making the process quicker and easier, across millions of deliveries, could have a huge cumulative impact on their bottom line and customer experience. 

Today, we’ll look at how replacing 15,000 dedicated barcode scanner devices with smartphones loaded with a Scandit-powered Android app let Hermes take a major step forward on their ‘Digital Futures’ transformation strategy, while creating a platform for delivering future innovation.

Replacing Costly Legacy Hardware with Smartphone Scanning Helps Couriers, Customers and the Bottom Line

Previously, all of Hermes’ 15,000 last mile couriers had to carry around a dedicated barcode scanning device used for verification and proof of deliveries. However, these high-performing devices are expensive to purchase and maintain for the business, cumbersome to use for the couriers and inflexible in terms of being a single-function device.  

So Hermes UK is replacing these costly legacy devices with smartphones loaded with a Scandit-enabled Android app. Using Scandit’s Barcode SDK, Hermes added fast, accurate barcode scanning to their app. This effectively turns the mobile device into a high performance, enterprise-grade scanner. A courier scans items, records an electronic signature, verifies an ID and takes a picture of where a package has been left – all done quickly and intuitively with a familiar smartphone. The Scandit solution delivers very high levels of scanning performance, even under difficult conditions such as in bad lighting or when labels are damaged.  

The result is a streamlined delivery service, saving time and money. It makes the couriers’ lives easier and ensures a premium customer experience. Adopting smartphone scanning strategy also allows Hermes to move towards a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model. Couriers using their own personal devices during deliveries can potentially reduce operational overheads and increase employee satisfaction.

Increased operational efficiency, decreased cost of last mile delivery and minimum disruption

4,000 smartphones loaded with the Scandit-powered application were deployed by Hermes UK in October 2018 in time for peak season. Working with either a Hermes provided mobile or their own phone, couriers working lives improved while streamlined workflows are driving operational efficiency improvements.

Over the next three years Hermes UK will replace and retire more than 15,000 old barcode scanners with the lower-cost Scandit smartphone-based solution. This migration period ensures there is no disruption to Hermes’ operations and that they can continue to make the best use of the existing scanning infrastructure until it reaches the end of its lifespan.

Continuous evolution: Unlocking Further Innovation through Scandit MatrixScan with Augmented Reality (AR)

Hermes remains focused on achieving customer excellence through digital transformation. The new Scandit technology provides a mobile platform for rapid roll-out of future service innovations. During the three-year device migration period, Hermes UK couriers will also begin using additional Scandit software features including MatrixScan and Augmented Reality (AR) overlays to drive greater efficiencies in the delivery process. This means couriers will be able to scan multiple barcodes at once to search and find a specific parcel from within their van quickly and accurately. This innovative solution also enables couriers to view real-time information, such as parcel information or driver instructions, overlaid on the device screen using AR to help further streamline the last mile delivery process.  

Make Last Mile Delivery Effortless With Scandit

Ready to learn more about how Hermes UK successfully lowered their last mile delivery costs, improved delivery verification and how you can optimize your Post & Parcel enterprise? Then don’t hesitate to contact us today. Also, feel free to reach out for more insights about how mobile data solutions can help post and parcel organizations. We’d love to talk.

Scandit Last Mile with Mobile Computer Vision