If you work in logistics, proof of shipment and proof of delivery documents are critical for your organization. You must ensure that these files are included in your delivery process to stay organized and keep your customers happy. Without them, you could run into all kinds of logistical and organizational nightmare scenarios.

The basic idea behind these two documents is that they act as a kind of receipt to confirm the order. However, each document is unique and plays its own important role in the supply chain.

We’ll explore the differences between proof of shipment and proof of delivery documents in last mile delivery, and why both are so important for your operations.

Logistics transformation with Track POD banner5

What is proof of shipment?

Whenever an order is processed and dispatched, proof of shipment needs to be sent out. This is a simple document that may be in the form of a physical piece of paper or it may be sent online. The document shows that the shipment has been processed and sent out.

Generally, proof of shipment will include the exact date when the order was shipped, as well as any customer details relating to where the shipment is heading. This includes things like the recipient’s address, their zip/postal code, and any other information relevant to the delivery.

The proof of shipment document is the best way to certify that an order has been dispatched and that it is on track to the correct recipient. The client information that is present on the document needs to match any details that the customer provided when making the transaction. The recipient can view their proof of shipment to confirm that their order has been dispatched and heading to their correct location.

Proof of shipment does not certify that the order has been received or that the person receiving the package is happy with their delivery. The purpose is to act as a kind of receipt to show that the package has left its warehouse and is en route to its destination.

What is proof of delivery?

A proof of delivery (POD) document can also be in a physical form or it can be sent online. When a delivery is completed, the document is shared with the person who received the package. Basically, proof of delivery acts as a receipt, but for the completed delivery. While a receipt certifies that a purchase was made, this document shows that the delivery was successful.

Sending proof of delivery is the very last step in the delivery process. These documents should also contain any necessary information about the last stage of the specific delivery.

For example, it should include information like the time and date when the delivery was completed, the name and details of the person who signed for the package, and the exact address where the package was dropped off. It can also include specifics that relate to the company, like the driver’s name and vehicle details.

In many cases, the customer is expected to sign their proof of delivery document. This is done so that they can certify that the delivery has been fulfilled. By signing, the receiver is agreeing that the package is correct and that the items in the package are in the appropriate condition.

Once proof of delivery has been signed and passed onto the customer, it acts as proof of the goods being in the possession and under the responsibility of the customer.

In the world of deliveries and logistics, proof of delivery documents are essential for accountability, as well as keeping track of delivery success.

Proof of shipment vs proof of delivery: How are they different?

A receipt of shipment and a receipt of delivery may seem like two very similar things. However, they both perform unique functions. Using both of these documents for your logistics operations is incredibly important.

The main difference between the two is that a receipt of shipment exists to prove that an order has been shipped, or sent out. This is to certify that the items in question are no longer in the hands of the warehouse and that they are now the responsibility of the courier.

Proof of shipment does not prove that the buyer has received their delivery, or that on-time delivery was the case. It is there to show that goods have progressed to the next delivery stage.

In many cases, a receipt of shipment is used to hand over the responsibility of a package between two businesses. For example, if an organization has its own warehouse, but uses an external delivery company, then this document shows that the goods have passed into the hands of the next company.

Proof of delivery is there to show that the order has been completed. This is a kind of receipt for the customer, to prove that they have received the order and are satisfied with its condition. Once proof of delivery has been set out, it means that the order is finalized and finished.

Proof of delivery is more focused on the customer. This is the point where the customer accepts responsibility for the goods. It is also used by customers as a receipt for their records.

proof of shipment

Why you should track both

Tracking the receipt of shipment and the proof of delivery is essential because both play their unique roles in the supply chain. As these two documents cover different functions, you can’t just rely on one. Both are required to make sure that each stage of your delivery process is properly tracked and recorded.

One of the main reasons to use proof of shipment and proof of delivery is accountability. These documents exist to prove exactly who is responsible and accountable for each stage of the delivery. This can help with any possible customer disputes or legal issues.

Proof of shipment and proof of delivery state exactly when, where, and by whom the delivery was passed on to its next stage. This makes it easier to go back and trace order fulfillment. It functions as a clear indicator of each delivery stage, which makes delivery management far easier.

If you manage deliveries and logistics, then you understand the importance of carefully monitoring every step of the delivery process. If you have multiple deliveries taking place, keeping track of every step in each delivery process can be incredibly challenging. Proof of delivery and proof of shipment make it easier for delivery managers and customers to keep a clear record of the different steps in the delivery cycle.

Benefits of tracking proof of delivery and proof of shipment

Receipt of shipment is clearly a vital part of any delivery operation. Now that we understand exactly what it is, let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of tracking proof of delivery and proof of shipping.

Accountability

Firstly, there’s the matter of accountability which we already touched on above. Proof of delivery marks the point where accountability is passed on from the merchant to the recipient. Signing POD adds legal accountability. This can help with any potential customer disputes.

As there are various parts in a delivery chain, it’s really important to understand who is held accountable at which stage. By making use of proof of delivery and proof of shipping documents, logistics managers are able to easily break down the different areas of responsibility across this chain.

Organization

Tracking proof of delivery and proof of shipment is an easy way to keep things more organized. Logistics and fleet managers can have a lot on their plates, especially when dealing with multiple delivery stops and routes each day. Offering clear POD is an effective way of understanding exactly when each delivery was made.

Having all of your delivery proof in one place gives logistics managers an easy reference for all of the deliveries that occurred that day. When managers need to understand their operations, they can simply refer to these documents.

Tracking

An essential role for any logistics manager is to keep careful track of the progress of their delivery routes. One of the benefits of using the right delivery management software to offer proof of deliveries is that the digital document can be accessed from anywhere.

This means that logistics managers can receive their copy of the proof of delivery as they happen. When combined with instant shipping notifications, this can make tracking and staying on top of delivery progress a far more efficient task.

Proof of delivery and proof of shipment is not just for the customer. They can also offer valuable tracking insights to delivery managers.

Data capture

Proof of delivery is useful for capturing a clear set of delivery information. With the right software, delivery companies can understand the exact time and location of each delivery. They can track which drivers made which delivery, and when they made them. Beyond keeping organized, this also helps monitor delivery progress for better reporting and analytics. This is essential for staying up to date with your business and finding areas to optimize it.

Customer satisfaction

We know that consumer demands are always increasing when it comes to deliveries and eCommerce. Offering clear proof of delivery documents gives some power to the customer by letting them inspect the parcel before accepting it. This can help customers identify any potential issues with their goods, giving them more confidence in your delivery service. This makes your delivery business truly customer-centric, which is important in today's competitive environment.

Blog banner5

Challenges of tracking proof of shipment and delivery

Delivery receipts offer clear value to any business and its customers. However, there are still challenges that might hold businesses back from utilizing these documents. We’ve outlined some of the main challenges below.

Time

Although these documents may seem simple enough, implementing them into busy delivery schedules can be time-consuming. Delivery drivers need to be able to capture all of the necessary information as they make deliveries. They will also require customer signatures captured via the delivery driver mobile app.

Keeping all of this information accurate, while operating a busy delivery schedule can be challenging. Time is incredibly valuable in logistics, and each moment needs to be carefully planned out.

Tracking

In order to offer accurate proof of shipment and delivery, businesses need to be utilizing a smart tracking system. This means keeping up to date on delivery progress in real-time to make sure that these documents are completely accurate.

Any good proof of delivery needs to have an exact delivery time, date, and location. This should be generated alongside the GPS tracking software to offer efficient and accurate results.

Paperwork

Industries all over the world are rapidly digitizing, and it’s important that the delivery and logistics sector keeps up. When tracking proof of shipment and delivery, we need to look towards paperless, digital solutions. For many businesses, this might mean switching over to a new software system.

proof of shipment paperless

Using technology to improve proof of shipment

The right delivery management solution is essential. This will help you produce accurate proof of shipment and proof of delivery notifications in real-time. Solutions like Track-POD make it easy to offer fully digital documents to customers and delivery managers.

This includes features like e-signing and instant shipping notifications. Being able to access accurate proof of delivery features through a single transportation management system will make keeping on top of deliveries a simple and efficient task.

Final thoughts

One of the most important parts of running a delivery is actually recording and tracking that delivery. This is important for both the customer and the logistics manager. In order to achieve the best possible outcome here, making use of accurate proof of shipment and proof of delivery is a must.

These two features are used in their own unique scenarios, with their own specific goals. Making use of both of them is important because they each perform a crucial function.

If you’re looking to enhance the delivery process and improve the way you manage logistics, then using the right proof of shipment and delivery software is essential. Book a free demo with us to learn about Track-POD paperless transportation management solutions.