October 01, 2023
This is the reality of many logistics operations that rely on traditional proof of delivery - a paper document signed by the recipient.
There are two main types of proof of delivery.
Electronic delivery confirmation is becoming more accessible than ever, thanks to Proof of Delivery apps that allow drivers to document successful, unsuccessful, partial, or over-deliveries using their smartphones only.
What exactly is electronic proof of delivery? How does it work? And what type of delivery confirmation is right for your business?
Read on to find out.
Electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) is a digital document that proves the completion of a delivery service.
While the structure and the look of an ePOD document can vary depending on the proof of delivery template used, some essential elements have to be present. Let's review them below.
An e-signature is a critical component of a proof of delivery digital record.
It can be the customer's or the driver's electronic signature - or both signatures may be required.
An e-signature, aka Sign on Glass, is the heritage of traditional paper-based proof of delivery documents. With modern-day proof of delivery apps, signing an ePOD requires a smartphone's touchscreen and makes the process much easier.
Photo proof of delivery is exclusive to ePOD as it wouldn't be possible to take and print photos to attach them to a paper record on the spot. Electronic proof of delivery must include at least one photo to confirm successful contactless delivery.
Advanced ePOD apps like Track-POD allow up to 10 photos for proof of delivery - captured on the spot or selected in bulk from the device photo gallery.
Photo proof is not only essential in confirming contactless delivery and reducing the rate of lost or misplaced packages. It's also critical in documenting partial and failed deliveries to supplement reasons for rejection.
When it comes to safe and successful deliveries, particularly no-contact deliveries, getting the precise location is pivotal. Electronic proof of delivery documents can be populated with geotags automatically or via manual entry by the driver.
With Track-POD proof of delivery app for Android, delivery drivers can enter location coordinates manually if allowed by the dispatcher.
In last mile delivery, there are more scenarios than Delivered and Failed. Many things can happen in-between, such as partial delivery and overdelivery, i.e., delivery (or collection) or fewer or more items than planned originally.
An ePOD workflow should, therefore, include documentation of the quantity of goods delivered or collected.
For deliveries that require payment after the product or service has been delivered, aka Cash on Delivery (COD), entering the amount of money paid/collected is another way to document successful delivery.
Whether or not entering the COD amount is required is determined by the dispatcher/manager. Either way, the driver needs to have the option to add this crucial information when collecting proof of delivery using their smartphone.
As an additional security measure, particularly in delivering high-value items, e.g., white glove delivery, delivery operations can use unique PIN codes generated for each address.
By sharing a PIN code with the customer via notifications, you ensure the package won't fall into the wrong hands.
Like age verification via ID scanning, PIN codes are a less frequent case of ePOD. Still, they can be used instead of e-signature and photo proof for operations looking to simplify the proof of delivery workflow for customers.
So, why is proof of delivery important in the first place? Well, we’ve just touched on some of the main benefits of ePOD, but there are many more advantages left to explore.
Electronic delivery confirmation is digital evidence that a company has fulfilled an order and a customer has received their goods.
This evidence will show what was delivered, when it was delivered, and where it was delivered to. This, therefore, leaves no room for delivery customer disputes and will save your business time and money in the long run.
This becomes increasingly important when the goods are valuable, fragile, or contain important documents.
When the customer electronically signs for the package, they confirm that the item(s) has arrived on time and undamaged.
Upgrading to ePOD makes your business more eco-friendly since it removes the need to use paperwork to record each delivery confirmation.
When you stop using paper, you also remove the possibility of human error from either your customer or delivery driver.
Using ePOD can also speed up your delivery process. Traditional paper-based proof of delivery consumes much of your driver’s time as they search for the relevant paperwork, scramble for a pen, and wait patiently for the customer to sign and date the forms.
ePOD uses technology and real-time data to make this process fast and efficient.
Your customers will also be pleasantly surprised when you present them with a screen and e-signature requirement over a paper form. This is a big step in logistics transformation that every delivery business must complete in 2023.
An additional benefit of digitizing your proof of delivery is the ability to collect customer data to understand better your target market and their specific location.
Suppose you collect 6 months’ ePOD records and realize you deliver many orders to a particular city. You can then use this demographic data to optimize your marketing strategies.
You might also be able to send traditional advertisements and discount codes directly to your customer’s address, allowing your business to become more personal with its marketing tactics.
At Track-POD, we build tools that help logistics operations deliver in full and on time, every time. That's why, in addition to e-signature capture and photo confirmation, we also offer a barcode scanner app for load and delivery confirmation.
Let's see how proof of delivery works using advanced tools such as a QR and barcode scanner app.
Step 1: Load check
The delivery driver starts their route and passes the load check to confirm that they have loaded the order(s). If your packages are not loaded, the driver can alert you and assign the rejected status.
The driver then uses the Track-POD barcode scanner app to confirm that all packages have been loaded.
Step 2: In transit
Once the delivery driver completes the load check and confirms they have the package(s), you know your goods are on their way to their final destination.
Step 3: Proof of delivery
Once at the end destination, the driver uses a smartphone and asks for the recipient’s e-signature. This provides you with proof that your goods have been successfully delivered. Now, the driver can close the route.
Another way to upgrade your proof of delivery process is by scanning the packages again at the delivery location to guarantee that the correct items were delivered to the right addresses. So, let’s see how this process works.
Step 1: Load check
Like in the first workflow, the driver starts their route and scans the shipping labels on all packages. The driver can assign the rejected status if the packages are not loaded.
Step 2: In transit
The driver is on their way to the customer stops.
Step 3: On-site scanning
Once there, they use the barcode scanner app to confirm that the packages have been delivered to the correct addresses.
Delivery confirmation is vital if you deliver goods to multiple destinations. This helps prevent packages from being delivered to the wrong addresses, which can cause significant problems and cost a company time and money.
Step 4: Proof of delivery
Now that the driver has confirmed again that all packages are correct, they can collect proof of delivery (e-signature and/or photos). The driver can close the route.
Track-POD offers many ways to collect proof of delivery, allowing you to determine how many steps and types of confirmation you need. Below are the configurations you can choose from when building your proof of delivery workflow.
As you can see, Track-POD gives you the flexibility to extend or simplify your ePOD workflow depending on the goods or services you deliver, as well as your customers' preferences.
Each ePOD type contains at least one crucial element of a digital proof of delivery record. You get to build your custom proof of delivery template that will be populated with the data your drivers collect.
Electronic proof of delivery helps companies manage any volume of deliveries. When a recipient electronically signs an ePOD document, they will be sent a copy via email, reducing any future disputes that the package never arrived.
This means less time spent managing customer complaints and more time allocated to streamlining your business and maximizing profit margins.
More streamlined, time-efficient, and eco-friendly, ePOD eliminates the need for paperwork that can get damaged, lost, or subject to human error.
You now have all the information you need to make the right decision for your unique business needs. Track-POD’s checking, scanning, and proof of delivery process will help take your delivery workflow to the next level.