One type of technology that may seem simple but can have a massive impact, is electronic proof of delivery software. Increasingly, companies, large and small, are looking to update their manual paper systems to this more streamlined, digital version. 

What is electronic proof of delivery?

sign on glass_Axylog

Electronic proof of delivery, however, allows drivers to confirm a delivery via a mobile app, removing the need for physical documents. The data from the delivery is automatically transferred to a central platform for all stakeholders to access immediately and can also be integrated into a company’s transport management system (TMS), warehouse management system (WMS), enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool or customer relationship management (CRM) software. 

Electronic Proof of Delivery; ePOD; Sign on Glass is an official acknowledgment that an item has been delivered and received by the customer, or a designated recipient (for example, a neighbour or the reception desk in an office building). Traditionally, this has been done using paper documents where the recipient would need to physically sign for the item. These documents would then be manually recorded and uploaded to the company database before further action, such as issuing an invoice, could be taken.  

Delivery man is asking woman to sign mobile for the delivery

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How does ePOD work? 

Some organizations opt to use a standalone app, which simply records the delivery by scanning a barcode or QR code, collects the signature using sign-on-glass software, and sends a copy to the customer for their records. However, many will incorporate ePOD as part of their delivery management software. This has the same functionality as standalone software but means that data about the delivery can be collected via the driver app and uploaded to a central system, to be accessed and analyzed by back-office staff in real-time. 

The data that is collected includes geographic location, timestamp, driver information and vehicle information. This is made available to all stakeholders, including the customer. 

Using a real-time visibility platform to track and analyse this information allows all stakeholders to follow the progress of a delivery and be alerted via notifications in case of delays or other problems. If necessary, the company can act on the information to try and reduce delays, for example by changing the planned route. 

What are the benefits of ePOD? 

Shifting from a paper-based POD system to a digital one brings several benefits to both logistics companies and to consignees: 

  • Cost savings

    Increased efficiency also means a reduction in costs. Not only does ePOD mean savings on paper, but it also removes the cost of data input. This allows back-office staff, who would usually spend time manually inputting data, to focus on analysing it instead to improve future deliveries and find other operational cost savings.

  • Greater transparency

    Information about a delivery is shared with all stakeholders in real-time using ePOD software. This creates more certainty, as evidence in the form of a photograph, signature, time stamp or GPS coordinates is available to all parties immediately. As a result, any disputes that might arise around a particular order can be quickly resolved. Having all the documentation uploaded immediately in one place also helps when it comes to auditing, as ePOD lowers the chances that paper documents could go missing or be forgotten. Finally, it gives greater transparency around the delivery process, helping to track KPIs such as the number of perfect orders fulfilled (i.e., complete orders delivered to the right place at the right time with the correct documentation). Electronic proof of delivery can help by highlighting any issues that might occur regularly – for example delays that always happen on the same part of a route. This data can be fed into other optimisation tools, such as route planning software, to be considered for future deliveries.

  • Enhanced security

    Many ePOD apps also include functionality that can enhance security during a delivery. For example, requiring a PIN code, which is shared with the receiver ahead of the delivery, instead of a regular signature. This isn’t known by the driver or any other third parties, so cannot be forged like a signature. This is most commonly used by retailers. And in some cases, customers can include their own security certificate which will be used to create the digital signature file. In case the signature file is manipulated at a later stage, it can be detected.

  • Improved customer service

    Electronic proof of delivery software provides a much more streamlined way for consignees to receive all the documentation relating to their order in PDF format, making it easier for them to update their own records. By signing the forms digitally, it removes the need to organise physical paperwork. And, as highlighted above, the additional security elements that many ePOD apps offer can help to build trust between the customer and all other stakeholders involved in the delivery as it is certain that the goods can only be received by them.

  • Improved financials.

    The efficiencies gained by automation and digitisation of operations can help to lower operational costs by around 3-5 %. Greater efficiency also helps with customer retention and can enable organisations to service more clients without a reduction in quality.

Why organisations should use ePOD 

As logistics companies look to differentiate themselves from their competitors, offering better customer service in a more cost-effective and sustainable way is crucial. Moving away from a manual, paper-based POD process to a digital one by using ePOD software allows companies to quickly achieve this. When integrated within transport control tower software, such as PTV Axylog, it can provide additional operational benefits that go beyond simply registering a delivery, to improving route planning, reducing lead times, and increasing consumer trust through transparent communication. 

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