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11 Minute Read

The Right Delivery Driver App for Last Mile Logistics

When businesses select their last mile delivery software, mobile apps can often be something of an afterthought. In fact, with some legacy solutions, you may have to integrate a completely separate mobile application altogether. But if you’re a delivery business, drivers are the face of your brand—which is why it’s so important to provide them with the right tools for the job.delivery driver appOn this page, we’ll cover the ins and outs of delivery driver apps from a last mile delivery perspective. We’ll go over the challenges that crop up when you don’t have the right driver mobile app, how to ensure connectivity with other key last mile delivery functions, and give a glimpse into the next generation of last mile delivery driver apps. 

At the end of the day, these apps need to work for your drivers and your dispatchers/managers/customer support teams alike. That’s why the right choice is always going to be part of a highly-connected, cloud-based last mile delivery platform. 

  1. Why Do Delivery Businesses Need a Delivery Driver App?
  2. What Features Should Your Delivery Driver App Offer?
  3. The Importance of Connectivity Across the Last Mile
  4. The Next Generation of Driver Management
  5. How DispatchTrack Empowers Delivery Drivers
  6. Conclusion

1. Why Do Businesses Need a Delivery Driver App?

If you rewind ten or twenty years, the idea that every delivery driver would have the technology they need to visualize their routes, capture proof of delivery, communicate with customers, and stay connected with dispatchers right in their pockets would have seemed optimistic. To some people, it might have seemed unrealistic. 

Fast forward to the present and it’s hard to imagine a time when drivers didn’t all have mobile devices they couldn’t rely on. In so many areas of our lives—not just in last mile logistics—it’s hard to imagine what we did without them. 

At this point, driver mobile apps are the easiest and most effective means that most delivery organizations have for ensuring connectivity with drivers. Sure, telematics devices are useful for ensuring precise GPS tracking and ensuring compliance with things like hours of service regulations. But when you need to know whether a particular case of tomatoes or pallet of lumber has actually been delivered in full and signed for, telematics can’t help you. 

By the same token, when it comes to keeping customers in the loop, drivers need to be able to send alerts without picking up the phone. The alternative is time consuming, and it sticks most customers with their least preferred form of communication. 

When it comes down to it, a delivery driver app is the simplest answer to the question of how best to ensure connectivity, transparency, and visibility in your last mile deliveries. The right mobile app can help your drivers complete their routes more efficiently and capture proof of delivery more effectively, all while ensuring that you have a complete audit trail for each and every delivery that leaves the dock. 

Long story short, if you want to prioritize great customer service and improved visibility into every part of the delivery process, the right driver mobile app is your best bet. 

2. What Features Should Your Delivery Driver App Offer?

Digital Proof of Delivery—Instantly Accessible

Now, onto the features of the app itself. The first and most obvious thing it needs to offer is digital proof of delivery. There’s no sense in rolling out a driver mobile app and then expecting your drivers to pull out paperwork for customers to sign at the end of the delivery. Instead, they need to be able to quickly and easily capture proof of delivery (or proof of service) from their mobile phones. 

Specifically, they should be able to capture pictures, signatures, and notes. And all of that data should be time stamped and geo-stamped to ensure a complete audit trail for each and every delivery. 

This is the first area where the kind of connectivity we discussed in the last section is crucial. When your systems are connected, your drivers can collect proof of delivery via their mobile app and then other team members can access it instantly via the software. This enables real-time visibility and smarter exception management. 

At the same time, if there’s any damage to a product you delivered after the job is complete, photographic evidence of the immediate results of the delivery or installation can be the difference between getting paid and not getting paid. 

What else should your driver mobile app offer in terms of proof of delivery?

Mandatory Pictures

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and that holds true when it comes to last mile deliveries. Pictures can prove that an order was delivered in full without damage—or they can document damage or other issues with the product. 

Time-stamped and geostamped proof of delivery

In the same way that pictures can help add context to proof of delivery, capturing the exact time and location can improve the quality of your audit trail. This is something that your software should be able to do automatically as your drivers complete their tasks for the day. When you access the proof of delivery later on, you should be able to instantly see when and where it was taken. 

Improved proof of delivery integration—even for third party deliveries

Capturing proof of delivery successfully is one thing—but integrating it into other areas of your business is another. It’s all well and good to capture the right information, but if it’s not at your fingertips when you need it, it loses some of its value. 

To ensure you get the most out of your proof of delivery from the moment it’s captured, it can be valuable to ensure that it’s immediately uploaded to your last mile delivery software and made visible on your control tower or visibility dashboard. 

This way, you can also immediately look at the delivery documentation for any orders flagged with exceptions. In the case of something like a damaged item, this enables you to spot the issue much more quickly and reach out to the customer proactively to resolve the situation. The result is smarter, faster exception management overall.

This isn’t just crucial for deliveries carried out by your own fleet. Rather, you need the same capabilities when you’re working with a 3rd party logistics provider or a contract carrier as well to ensure consistent deliveries across the board.

Photographic proof of delivery in delivery receipts

If you can include photographic proof of delivery in the receipts that you send out to customers, you can help them maintain a clearer record of the delivery on their end. When they’re processing payments or managing their inventory after the delivery has been completed, they can gain clarity into what was delivered and how without having to call or email your team. 

This is something that your software should give you the ability to do automatically as a matter of course. In fact, the right last mile solution should empower you to enhance your proof of delivery in all of the ways that we discussed above. With the right technology, you can turn proof of delivery into a tool for increased visibility, better customer experience, and even improved exception management. 

delivery driver app

A Companion App for Sales, Merchandising, Etc.

Okay, you’re trying to decide on a mobile app for your drivers, and here we are suggesting that you need another mobile app entirely for sales reps and merchandisers. What gives? 

But hear us out: one of the most important things your mobile app can offer is visibility to roles beyond drivers and technicians. You absolutely want live updates from your drivers to be instantly available on a single dashboard for team members back at the office. 

That’s why offering a separate mobile app for sales reps is so valuable. The app should give them the ability to see what’s happening with each of the orders that they’re responsible for, regardless of which route they’re on. That way, salespeople can provide stellar customer service in real time. If they see that a delivery is going to be late, they can meet the truck and smooth things over in person. If a customer calls to ask when their order will arrive, the sales rep doesn’t have to call in to ask a dispatcher—they can just check the ETA from the comfort of their own device. 

The same goes for merchandisers, who might have multiple routes that they’re following up on. 

Flexible Pallet Scanning

Your app for delivery drivers needs to be valuable before the delivery even starts—specifically, it needs to enable drivers to scan items onto the truck before they start on their routes. 

Plenty of apps provide some kind of functionality for this—always better than doing it manually—but scanning individual items isn’t always fast or efficient enough. 

That’s precisely why your app for delivery drivers should provide pallet scanning. This way, your drivers can scan entire pallets on and off trucks based on a single barcode. Here, the items should all appear individually within the app and be associated with the correct orders as if they had been scanned one at a time. 

For industries like building supplies this can be especially pivotal, but nearly everyone can benefit from the increased speed of both loading and unloading that this can power.  

Configurable Forms

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise at this point that a lot of the most important ways that a driver mobile app can provide value mostly involve replacing or eliminating paperwork. But each delivery business is different, and the forms and other paperwork that drivers fill out has the potential to vary a lot from one organization to the next. 

That’s why it’s so valuable to have a last mile solution that enables you to configure your own forms and fields to customize the driver experience to your specific use case. This might mean creating specific forms for specific installation types, so that the driver has to confirm that they air-gapped the dishwasher before finishing the installation or that they took the empty keg away after delivering the new one. 

In essence, this enables you to capture the data that is most important to you at the right moment—at the time of delivery. This gives you an audit trail that you can rely on for gaining visibility into past deliveries.

3. The Importance of Connectivity Across the Last Mile

Of course, one of the most important things to look for in a driver mobile app isn’t a feature—it’s how it fits into the rest of your ecosystem. Sure, there are standalone mobile apps out there, and some businesses even use proprietary apps that they’ve custom-built, but what you really want is an app that’s part of the same platform as your delivery management system.

This helps ensure connectivity and visibility. When you have multiple different software solutions for routing and scheduling vs. driver management, there’s always the risk of data-silos or a lack of visibility. When these are housed within the same solution, visibility is baked in. 

Ultimately, the processes that touch your route planners, customer support staff, sales reps, drivers, dispatchers, and managers are all connected—so their tools and capabilities need to be connected as well. Your routing can use real-time delivery data from the mobile app to update ETAs. Sales reps can gain visibility into their orders across routes. Drivers can easily communicate with dispatchers. The result is more seamless driver management, which leads to more effective delivery execution.   

In a way, this simplifies the search for the right delivery driver app. Rather than considering mobile apps qua mobile apps, you can look at last mile delivery platforms more holistically. Ask yourself, how does this software solution enhance connectivity across the entire last mile journey? How does it ensure that the right data is visible to the right people at the right time? How does the software ecosystem impact my customers and the delivery experience they receive? 

4. The Next Generation of Driver Management

In the coming years, the tools that delivery organizations use for driver management are only going to get more sophisticated. Customer expectations are evolving all the time, which creates opportunities for changes to how drivers go about their business—but the underlying technology here is changing too. Things like AI and other emerging technology have the power to improve drivers’ capabilities even further. 

Here are a few things that may be on the horizon:

  • Streamlined communication between drivers and customers—and between drivers and dispatchers
  • Improved voice-to-text and text-to-voice capabilities so drivers can spend even less time fussing with their devices
  • Pre-configured response templates for faster communications with both customers and back-office teams
  • AI-powered assistants to help ensure smoother workflows from end to end 

Obviously, you can’t select for features that don’t exist yet—but you can make sure that you’re selecting software providers that have a strong track record or innovation. Businesses that are already using cloud technology and AI/machine learning will be able to evolve their product offerings over time and help ensure that you’re always able to take advantage of the latest and greatest functionality. 

5. How DispatchTrack Empowers Delivery Drivers

If you’re currently on the market for a delivery driver app that empowers drivers to stay connected and represent your brand in the best possible light, look no further than DispatchTrack.

Our driver mobile app helps you stay connected with drivers in real time—putting you in the driver's seat when it comes to delivery management.

  • DispatchTrack runs on the mobile device your driver already has—no dedicated hardware required.
  • Drivers get turn by turn directions and can document everything in real time with photos, signatures, and notes. This gives you all of the information about every delivery—instantly.
  • Runs on Android and iOS devices: Just download and go
  • See status updates and proof of delivery instantly
  • Works in areas without cell service

DispatchTrack is much more than a driver tracking app. It documents everything with time stamps and geotags attached to photos, signatures, and notes to give you all of the information about every delivery.

The best part? It’s constantly evolving to help businesses like yours tackle whatever delivery challenges the last mile throws at them. 

To learn more, check out our driver mobile app use case page

6. Conclusion

Finding the right delivery driver app for your last mile can feel like a challenge—but it’s an important puzzle piece when it comes to managing delivery costs and keeping customers happy. 

But if you can prioritize finding an app for delivery drivers that prioritizes connectivity, transparency, and thorough documentation, you can set yourself up for ongoing success. You can empower your drivers to do their jobs more effectively, all while ensuring that each and every delivery is fully documented with a complete audit trail. 

Best of all, you can do all that while avoiding silos throughout the fulfillment process. Your customers will thank you for it, and so will your bottom line. 

To get started with the next generation of driver mobile apps, get in touch with DispatchTrack today.

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