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Electronic Proof of Delivery: What It Is, How It Works, and Its Benefits

electronic proof of delivery

Before the pandemic, proof of delivery (POD) was mostly obtained with a signature on a paper form. But as “no-contact delivery” has gained momentum since the start of the pandemic, electronic proof of delivery has become a critical element in last-mile delivery.

Electronic proof of delivery software digitizes the process of collecting signatures, thereby saving you time, improving the operational flexibility of your staff, and providing better control to you over your delivery activities.

Plus, electronic proof of delivery systems help optimize the amount of data you collect from customers beyond names and signatures, which you can then use to provide a better customer or delivery experience at a reduced operating cost.

But that’s not all. There are many other advantages of using an electronic proof of delivery app that we will share with you in this post.

We’ll also guide you through the type of electronic proof of delivery solutions you can use.

First, let’s understand how electronic proof of delivery devices work.

How Does Electronic Proof of Delivery Work?

Most modern electronic proof of delivery software runs on Android or iOS, making it easier to select the suitable device that matches your operational or integration requirements.

The electronic proof of delivery software used both by the in-office dispatcher or manager and the delivery personnel typically has two major components:

  1. A mobile app (or a module within a broader solution like Route4Me) to capture data on location
  2. A web app or a digital dashboard (or a module within a more comprehensive solution like Route4Me) to add, amend, and monitor data from the office

The mobile app allows the drivers to collect proof of delivery at every drop-off location throughout their daily run. At the same time, dispatchers or managers can access customer information to offer better services.

In addition to collecting digital signatures, QR codes, barcodes, or other verification types, electronic proof of delivery solutions can also capture time and geo-stamps. Some systems even enable you to include photos.

After your delivery drivers have collected the data, the data gets relayed back to the central hub for registry and review. Some solutions, such as Route4Me’s route planner, allow this to happen on a live, as-it-happens basis.

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Benefits of Electronic Proof of Delivery

Regardless of your company’s size, integrating an electronic proof of delivery app can make your delivery operations more cost-effective and efficient. Below are the benefits offered by such software.

Ensures a Quick Process and Zero Chances of Loss or Damage

Eliminating paperwork from your delivery process is a significant advantage offered by electronic proof of delivery software.

The manual data collection process is time-consuming and tedious.

There are long delays between the time of capturing the information and the processing of the data. And, reconciling and merging paper records at the end of the day demands a lot of time and energy.

Plus, drivers need to ensure that they don’t lose the physical proof of delivery documents or damage them.

Dispatchers then also need to store them safely at the office. So, the paperwork would either need to be scanned into the system or securely kept in cabinets.

You won’t have those POD signatures if you lose any documents, leading to painful delivery disputes.

With digital proof of delivery software, the process is much easier. Your drivers can collect data with the swipe of the screen, which reduces the financial and administrative burden of filling out the form by hand.

Also, when your delivery driver collects the signature, the app uploads the information in the system within a fraction of a second. You can then access this easily in real-time and don’t need to worry about the damage or loss of paper documents.

Offers Real-Time Visibility

If your drivers use paper to collect signatures, you won’t know whether they’ve got the signature until they get back to their route or until you call to get the driver to rifle through a folder.

This means you’ll only see the info later, and you can’t update your recipients or customers in real-time if they ask for their package statuses.

That’s not a problem when you use electronic proof of delivery app. Such a solution can transmit data from the field to the dispatch center. This enables you to stay informed with the latest information on orders, delivery statuses, and more.

It also helps you timely respond to any unanticipated situations to ensure the best customer experience.

Such increased visibility means you’ll have greater control and transparency, which will help you manage your delivery operations and coordinate resources efficiently when dealing with issues that affect customer expectations.

Shrinks Your Carbon Footprint

Using paper every day isn’t good for the environment and won’t help you cut down your carbon footprint. The more deliveries your drivers make, the more severe the impact will be.

Luckily, because electronic proof of delivery solutions are entirely digitized, you can keep both your documents and the environment safe.

Reduces Unnecessary Expenses

Electronic proof of delivery software eliminates the paperwork and so also the expenses associated with it. Zero paperwork means you’ll save money on paper as well as printing.

An electronic proof of delivery solution also helps you digitally archive the signatures. Therefore, you won’t need to keep the signed forms in files and store them in expensive cabinets.

Plus, you won’t need to buy any additional hardware for capturing the signatures, as you can use your mobile phone to collect the signatures.

What Type of Electronic Proof of Delivery Solutions Should You Use?

There are two types of electronic proof of delivery solutions you can use.

The first is a standalone electronic proof of delivery solution that only offers proof of delivery functionality. You can install these on different devices, and they make the paperless data capturing process seamless.

However, you need to integrate it with other software, like Google Cloud, for a great user experience.

The second is a delivery route planner that offers electronic proof of delivery and many other powerful features. They include route optimization, GPS tracking, reporting and analytics, and a customer portal. So, you get everything in one.

Depending on your requirements, one option might suit you better than the other.

For example, if you’re an independent owner-operator doing single-figure delivery stops each day and don’t need delivery management features, a standalone proof of delivery app might be suitable for you.

But small or mid-sized delivery teams may need a route planner to access all the other required features to streamline their delivery operations, including electronic proof of delivery app.

If you want to learn more about standalone proof of delivery apps versus route planners, check out our post: How to Choose the Best Proof of Delivery App.

How Can Route4Me Help with Electronic Proof of Delivery?

Route4Me’s multi-stop route planner is a comprehensive software that offers all the functionalities you need to ensure seamless and foolproof electronic proof of delivery.

It also comes with many other valuable features, such as route optimization, GPS tracking, and customer alerting and notifications.

We’ll look at those later. For now, let’s first take a quick look at how you can use Route4Me’s route optimizer for proof of delivery.

Capture an Electronic Signature

Route4Me’s route planner app enables your drivers to use their mobile phones to capture electronic signatures, which automatically get uploaded into the cloud.

You don’t have to use additional hardware to reduce manual data entry and ensure accurate real-time visibility for you or dispatchers.

Capture electronic signature on Route4Me Android app

Capture an Image

Route4Me enables your drivers to take a photo of the delivered item at the location directly on the route planner app. It’ll stay in your database, and you can share the snaps as proof of delivery with your customers too.

Add Image in Route4Me route optimizer

You can even capture and attach video and sound as electronic proof of delivery.

Scan Barcodes

This is another popular feature of Route4Me for electronic proof of delivery. Your drivers can scan the barcodes during delivery which get automatically uploaded on the system and act as proof of delivery.

You can then use this feature to track packages in case any disputes arise.

Send Notifications

Route4Me comes with a customer alerting and notification feature that enables you to send a custom voice message, SMS, or email when a package is out for delivery or delivered.

Plus, it offers a customer portal feature that enables your customers to track their delivery statuses on their own.

You can also use this feature by adding notes with image attachments when a delivery is done, acting as proof of delivery.

Route4Me route planner customer portal

Additional Features

There are many valuable features beyond using Route4Me’s delivery scheduling software as an electronic proof of delivery tool. These are shared below:

  • GPS tracking app to monitor vehicle movement in real-time
  • In-app voice-guided navigation
  • Driver Breaks to reduce driver fatigue and improve productivity
  • Reporting and analytics to track fuel expenses

Final Thoughts on Electronic Proof of Delivery

Shifting from paper-based delivery confirmation to electronic proof of delivery can be a game-changer for your business.

Enabling your drivers to capture e-signatures, images, videos, and sound on their devices will reduce customer disputes and failed deliveries and significantly improve the customer or delivery experience.

Route4Me

Want To See For Yourself How Route4Me Can Boost Your Profits?

Whether you want to slash the time it takes you to plan routes for your drivers, increase the number of stops they can make, or keep your customers satisfied knowing that your drivers show up on time… Route4Me helps you achieve that!

Start Free 7 Day Trial

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About Route4Me

Route4Me has over 34,000 customers globally. Route4Me's Android and iPhone mobile apps have been downloaded over 2 million times since 2009. Extremely easy-to-use, Route4Me's apps create optimized routes, synchronize routes to mobile devices, enable communication with drivers and customers, offer turn-by-turn directions, delivery confirmation, and more. Behind the scenes, Route4Me's operational optimization platform combines high-performance algorithms with data science, machine learning, and big data to plan, optimize, and analyze routes of almost any size in real-time.