Drivers play a crucial role in the last mile operations—especially since they are the final contact of the customers in the order fulfillment process. As such, driver mobile apps offer many benefits in ensuring that the last mile delivery process is both efficient and productive. Missed, failed, delayed, or misplaced deliveries are all serious sources of disruption in the last mile, but the right mobile apps empowers you to communicate directly with drivers, dispatch efficient route plans, and ultimately track the fulfillment process as it unfolds on the day of delivery.
The Basics of Delivery Driver Apps
Effective delivery management platform has two main components: the routing and last mile delivery tracking software, and the delivery driver app.
An effective driver mobile app comes with features and tools that help drivers complete their tasks more efficiently. This allows drivers, technicians, and others to access information regarding their deliveries, routes, and schedules while they're out on the road.
These apps often also include tools like navigation and electronic proof of delivery. This is then integrated with the last mile carrier tracking software so fleet managers and dispatchers can track drivers' locations on the map in real time.
Last mile delivery tracking with the help of a driver application offers many benefits. For one, tracking enables route planners and fleet managers to use their software more dynamically— adjusting routes, scheduling new orders, and dispatching drivers in real-time.
How Delivery Driver Apps Improve Last Mile Delivery Tracking
Delivery management software should be flexible and adaptable for use in various business environments. Anyone who has to grapple with final mile logistics should be able to rely on their platform to manage both in-house and third-party fleets—and a large part of the final mile carrier tracking equation involves seamlessly connecting back-office staff to drivers and technicians out in the field.
With that in mind, here's how the right driver mobile application can help improve last mile tracking:
Manual dispatching (where dispatchers hand out hard copies of drivers' assignments) need to be a thing of the past. It's quite difficult to achieve operational efficiency with manual processes like these, which is why automation is one of the most important features of modern delivery management software.
Aside from route planning and optimization, your delivery management platform should offer automated dispatching via the driver app. Dispatchers can ditch the papers used to print driver schedules by sending drivers their assignments through the app, saving your company time and money.
In an ideal scenario, Dispatchers only need to create routes on their dashboard, and the system will automatically send them into the driver app. This also means that fleets no longer have to rely on fixed routes, as they can adjust delivery plans on the fly.
On-demand Order Fulfillment
Businesses are seeing higher numbers for on-demand deliveries in the last few years. One study showed that 70 percent of shoppers are willing to pay for faster and more convenient delivery options. Of these 70 percent, more than half said that they require a same-day delivery option.
As such, businesses have to increase their delivery efficiency to satisfy customers' demands. Luckily, as we saw above, the instant connectivity between dispatchers and drivers that a mobile app provides can help make that possible.
Improved Driver Navigation
The right mobile application gives turn-by-turn directions to drivers based on optimized routes. This then improves fuel efficiency, since drivers will be spending less time on the road. Improving driver navigation will thereby result in a lower cost of delivery and higher operational capacity.
Ideally, these routes would also be optimized to have highly precise and accurate ETAs, so that drivers aren’t always running behind and scrambling to complete their deliveries for the day. Drivers can have more confidence in the route plans provided to them, which translates to lower missed deliveries caused by the lateness that results from poor routing.
As drivers use a mobile app, they should be constantly noting their statuses (e.g. that they’re going to a job, finished with a job, etc.), such that live delivery updates and electronic proof of delivery can be sent back to the centralized system. This feature helps in ensuring that dispatchers and managers are always on top of the operations and powers better real-time delivery tracking.
Better Communication Among Teams
Highly-connected mobile apps also streamline communication among teams, allowing internal delivery stakeholders to communicate effectively with drivers and technicians without calling them up on the phone. Drivers can use the chat or message functions in the apps to talk to their dispatcher or the customer support team. Plus, dispatchers can change routes without calling the drivers by simply dispatching new directions. Dispatchers should also receive notifications as soon as the driver completes a delivery assignment (like we saw above), improving last mile delivery tracking and shipment visibility significantly.
Improved Customer Notifications
The app's chat functions let drivers communicate directly with customers by sending timely alerts when a delivery is en route or about to arrive. This empowers you to leverage your delivery management solution to boost customer satisfaction and elevate the customer delivery experience.
For example, drivers who are heading to a delivery drop-off point can send a message to the customer that he or she is on his or her way. Shoppers appreciate the messages from the drivers, as these make them feel more valued and they help ensure that the customer is actually home to receive the delivery. This also reduces the customer’s need to call in and ask for a delivery status update, which can save you significant time and money.
Electronic Proof of Delivery
Proof of delivery (PoD) confirming that the order has been delivered to the customer is crucial. Rather than paper-based PoD, driver apps come with built-in digital proof of delivery, allowing them to collect electronic signatures, photos and videos, notes, and more.
The PODs collected or generated can then be sent and stored in the central system, so fleet managers and dispatchers can easily access them as needed. ePoD allows drivers to spend less time at each delivery point and removes any delays caused by manual reporting—all while helping to decrease false liability.
Businesses that provide their drivers with a robust mobile application are more likely to succeed in improving communications, achieve higher productivity, lower operating costs, and increase customer satisfaction—all thanks to the fact that the right driver app significantly enhances last mile tracking and visibility.